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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 6, 2011 6:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Above the law. The next post in this blog is A most untimely publication. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Portland City Hall approval rating is way down

Ah, LaVonne, LaVonne. The Portland city auditor released the results of the annual city resident satisfaction survey yesterday afternoon, and the trends are pretty much as one would expect. The overall rating of City Hall's performance is 48% positive, down from 62% positive two years ago. Opportunity to influence government decisions is down from 32% to 26%, and the police rating dropped from 71% to 59% positive since 2009. City efforts to improve the attractiveness of downtown slipped from 66% positive to 58%, and street maintenance went from 39% positive to 35%.

During July and August, we asked Portlanders about their views on a variety of City services, and thousands of residents responded....

Most Portlanders we surveyed felt positively about their city and their neighborhoods. While the majority of residents viewed some City services, such as Parks and Recreation, Water, Police, 911, and Fire and Emergency Response as very good or good in 2011, other services received less positive ratings. Residents reported less favorable ratings of the City’s street maintenance, sewer and storm drainage services, housing and nuisance inspection services, and planning for future land use.... Most residents we surveyed had not participated in a community project or public meeting during the last 12 months, and the majority of residents felt either neutral or negatively about their opportunities to influence government decisions.

We sent the survey to 10,150 randomly-selected households, and 38 percent were returned. We calculated the citywide survey accuracy to be ± 1.6 percent.... In comparing the demographic information provided by survey respondents to 2010 Census data, we found that our survey respondents are older and more educated than the population as a whole. We also found that females are over-represented and minorities are under-represented among those who returned our survey.

There are hundreds of numbers to spin, but overall, resident satisfaction is down at least slightly in nearly every category compared to two years ago -- the parks bureau being a notable exception. Curiously, the report frequently mentions the results from five years ago, but it cites only 2007 data; when last we checked that was four years ago, not five. Anyhow, the whole thing is here.

Comments (9)

Since only 38% of the surveys were returned shouldn't that be considered as part of the over all "approval" rating?

"The overall rating of City Hall's performance is 48% positive"

Even keeping it weird 48% is absurd.

One should automatically assume the worst and that this is tainted. It's Portland. That's what the city does. Taint. The city could so easily skew the results and not be held accountable that they would do it for sure. Why not? The city may know behind the scenes that respondents are more likely supporters or having conflicts of interest. If all they did was send a disproportionate number to city employees or any number of other manipulating stunts they could pump up falsified support.

If they truly wanted to know public sentiment they would hire a professional pollster to perform an honest polling.

I was one of the lucky 10,150 to receive this one sided survey and tossed it in the blue recycling can after reading how the questions were formulated.
1. Is the Downtown core better now than in 2-8-1851 when the city was founded?

2. Do we need more bike boulevards to handle all the bike riders expected to arrive in Portland over the next 52 years?

It would also be interesting how many returned Surveys ended up in the blue recycling bin if the answers weren't what the city wanted to hear.

OK, so CoP picks out the stuff they like and throws away the rest and pretty much acts like they always have.

Nothin' to see here, folks.

"Ratings of the City's job in making downtown a good place for recreation, shopping, working and living dropped from 69 percent in 2008 to 58 percent in 2011." That's a pretty precipitous decline. For all the money they've thrown into downtown development, you'd think that number would be up or at least holding steady. But no. And for this, money is taken away from basic services for neighborhoods? What a waste.

Re-doing the transit mall was an enormous waste of money. It clearly made the place less attractive, except to lowlifes.

More money thrown away for the sake of shaping propaganda.

Not to be all fan boy like, but since downtown already monitors this blog and probably many like it, why not just save the money and actually act on some of the common gripes posted here?

They are all pretty consistent in my view. And I think the readers of this blog are better at representing the "stakeholders" of the area.

As an aside, it'd be interesting to me to see the demographic of the denizens of this blog. I'd be willing to bet that it was a better cross section of the city than the one that gets the chance to participate in the surveys.

The survey is a joke. Claiming that it has an accuracy of +-1.6 percent is a joke. Consider who would fill out this kind of a survey (I received one). They are usually those who have a strong interest in the city and think they can affect the city. It was long, the questions were leading, and didn't provide the obvious "wouldn't change a thing" kind of answers.

It almost like the 6 to 10 people who show up a a neighborhood association meeting, take a vote-just barely a majority, then they, the planners, and the media claims that the 4200 people in the "neighborhood" supports the 10 bioswales along a 15 block of a street. Sure.

Yes, let us have a conversation about neighborhood associations. I think they used to be a strong force when the city came into their neighborhoods against the neighbors wishes on issues. I don't see that today. Partly because I think the city has neutered them by showing the residents that they won't listen to the associations.

I believe that the city USES the associations to send out notifications I suppose they can then claim that they have notified the area by sending the notice to the association, however, the association does not have enough funds to notify every household as you mentioned for example the 4200 people in the neighborhood.

People need to realize that the people who do serve on these associations are volunteers. I Don't think it is realistic to expect the volunteers to flyer 4200 households for all the myriad of issues that come up. Should that burden of notification fall on the volunteer's shoulders whenever the city sends out a notice?

I did have a suggestion years ago when the O came out to the community to ask what they could do for better solutions for the community. I suggested a column/page for a list of hearings, meetings for neighborhood areas.

As much money as the city wastes on other matters, they could have a page on for example critical land use notices under the headings of the neighborhood areas.

Since then we have emails and websites, etc. But in any event a better broad way of real notification is needed instead of relying on a few to get the notice out.
However as jaded as I have become, I think city, planners, etc. like it just the way it is.

The same thing with these surveys. Streetcar meetings for example and then the room is peppered with proponents and at the end of the night the "answer wanted" is most likely achieved. Those who call out the procedure or are against it are often viewed with disdain in such an arena.


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