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PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Mayor Ted Wheeler has signed an emergency declaration to better coordinate the cleanup of trash in Portland outside of homeless camps, which are already being serviced. It is the third emergency declaration signed by Wheeler in recent months to address livability, safety and health issues.

The declaration creates a new Public Environment Management Office to coordinate the cleanup of trash, graffiti, illegal dumping, abandoned cars, and more. Multiple city bureaus have responsibility for such activities with no single manager until now.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF PORTLAND – Christine Leon has been named director of the new Public Environment Management Office.

“This is just common sense,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “It puts one centralized command structure over 20 city programs and 8 bureaus, that are currently managed by five different city council members.”

Wheeler has appointed Christine Leon, who currently manages the Development Permitting and Transit Group for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, to serve as the office’s director.

“We are honored to have Christine chosen for this important role,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Chris Warner. “Her 20-plus years of service to PBOT and the City of Portland, particularly her expertise in right-of-way management, make her an excellent fit for leading the Public Environment Management Office.”

Leon has been the manager of PBOT’s Development Permitting & Transit Group since her interim appointment in December 2013. For six years prior, she was the Principal Engineer in charge of Development Services and Street Systems Management Division, where over 41,000 permits, requests, and inspections are reviewed each year. She has also managed the bureau’s Civil Design Section and developed Oregon’s first local agency certification for federally funded projects. As group manager, Christine is responsible for 100 staff. Her organization regulates the permits use of the right-of-way and is also in charge of development review, right-of-way leases and acquisitions.

Wheeler first announced the declaration during his State of the City address to the City Club of Portland on Friday, May 6. A previous Portland Tribune story on the address can be found here.