City Hall Embarks on Damage Control Effort Today

Judy Rosen, in the City Manager's Office Folding and Stuffing Envelopes This Afternoon at City Hall.

Judy Rosen, in the City Manager’s Office Folding and Stuffing Envelopes This Afternoon at City Hall.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,547)

City employees were asked today if they had some spare time to devote to a hastily improvised damage control effort.  Many said yes. They volunteered to fold and insert letters of apology in envelopes by the end of work today.

Two thousand (2,000) landlords  mistakenly received dunning  letters from the city’s housing safety office.  The letters dated September 30, 2016 were addressed to landlords who had not met the deadline to register with the city’s newly created Housing Office. The landlords were given until October 21 to pay up or face a $100.00 a day penalty. The address data base came from the assessor’s office. The addresses used did not match the correct addresses.

Early today the housing office, the inspections office and others at city hall were overwhelmed with telephone calls from upset people who had received the dunning letter. mistakenly.  The apology  letter, dated October 13th signed by Jon P. Jennings, city manager, said in part:  “Please accept my sincerest apologies for the tone and content of the violation notice that you received……I want to reassure you that this is not indicative  of the way the City of Portland does business.”

The City had been struggling for many months  to determine whether or not it could legally enforce such a penalty of $100. per day on delinquent  landlords.

The Housing Office was established in December of 2015 at the recommendation of a Safety Task Force following the fire on Noyes Street in which six lives were lost.  The fire happened n the early morning hours of November 1st.  Gregory Nisbet, owner of the building, is currently on trial for his role in the tragedy.