Mayor Wheeler Urges Central City Employers To Reinstate In-Person Work, Pledges Vibrancy And Safety Measures

In an open letter addressed to Central City Employers, Mayor Ted Wheeler called for a collective effort to bring employees back to in-person work, emphasizing the critical role of increased foot traffic in the recovery and revitalization of Portland’s central city.

Expressing gratitude for the resilience and commitment of employers during challenging times, Mayor Wheeler highlighted the significance of central city foot traffic in fostering positive social dynamics, supporting local businesses, and activating public spaces. The letter, dated November 30, 2023, outlined the ongoing efforts by the city, including additional foot patrols by Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers, collaboration with the Oregon State Police, and expanded access to behavioral health services and shelters.

“To ensure that our downtown core is a safe and welcoming place for all people to live, work, and visit, we must collectively contribute to the vibrancy of our central city,” wrote Mayor Wheeler.

The Mayor’s call to action extends beyond public safety measures, addressing the necessity of a vibrant and interactive environment. In the letter, he acknowledged the pivotal role of city employees in achieving this goal, noting that over half of all City workers, including frontline staff, have been consistently working in person. As of April 1st, 2023, City employees with roles permitting hybrid work were mandated to return to in-person work for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Mayor Wheeler urged other levels of government, private sector employers, academic institutions, nonprofits, and community-based organizations to follow the City’s lead and implement a minimum of 20 hours of in-person work per week for remote or hybrid staff by January 1st, 2024. He expressed appreciation for those organizations and individuals who have already exceeded this standard.

The Mayor’s call to bring employees back to in-person work aligns with the city’s Central City Recovery Plan and aims to create a safe, clean, and welcoming environment that encourages collaboration, community engagement, and economic activity in Portland’s central city.

“We offer our deepest appreciation for all of those organizations and individuals who have already stepped up and exceeded this standard. Thank you for what you do for our beloved city,” Mayor Wheeler concluded in the letter.