Lobbying reports spotlight new economy presence in City Hall

First quarter lobbying reports reveal a near record disclosure amount and prominence of new economy sector.  

The city of Portland auditor released its lobbying and political consultant reports for the first quarter of 2018. Twenty one entities were required to file disclosures based on number of hours and dollars spent on lobbying.

Here are a few notable filings:

Developers reign

The biggest expenditure came from ZRZ Realty, which spent $65,000 for 41 in-person and phone conversations with city commissioners regarding development in South Waterfront. That's one of the top five disclosure amounts ever reported to the city auditor's office, said senior management analyst Deborah Scroggins.

ZRZ was also issued a warning for a late filing, Scroggins said.

The second biggest expenditure ($30,000) came from the Portland Diamond Project, the people who want to bring Major League baseball to the Rose City.

The Harvey Milk Street Project, which aims to rename Stark Street for the prominent gay activist and government official, dedicated $12,925 to the cause.  The Planning and Sustainability Commission and Portland City Council will hold hearings on the renaming over the next couple of months.

Cannabis, ridesharing and vacation rental

Another big expenditure came from ride sharing company Lyft, which spent $15,000 last quarter. Interestingly, Uber spent only $2,134, a figure that perhaps reflects the company's effort to rebrand as a kinder gentler business operation.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman's chief of staff Brendan Finn said discussions with ride hailing companies (also known as transportation network companies or TNCs) revolved around technical issues, as well as changes coming to the Private for Hire Transportation Board, an advisory body charged with doling out permits and administrative rulemaking.

The revamped board is expected to include representation from TNC drivers, who last week engaged in high profile protests around low pay and other problematic working conditions.

Airbnb shelled out $4,156.25 to contact city officials 15 times.

Eaze, a marijuana delivery platform, spent $9,169.23 on “informational” sessions with city officials. The California company discussed its business model and wanted insight into developing city policy, according to Winta Yohannes, a policy staffer in Chloe Eudaly's office.

Yohannes said one of Eudaly's priorities is social consumption of marijuana — allowing consumption outside the home in order to tap into tourism revenues and enable users who cannot access cannabis inside their residences.

Linda Baker

Linda Baker is the editor of Oregon Business

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