Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith debated key issues of their mayoral campaign Friday at Portland’s City Club.
Hales presented himself as a detail-oriented consensus-builder, who, in his words simply “loves cities”. Smith talked about his intense drive to overcome adversity and to lead others.
When asked how they’d create opportunity, Smith took issue with the premise that Portland has too many young, highly educated workers.
“Attracting smart people who don’t yet have a job is not a detriment to the city. If you want to predict city success, bet on human capitol,” Smith said.
Smith says the city is well-regarded as a home for early-stage ventures.
Hales joked he’s in a unique position to help young people looking for work, since one of his own kids still lives at home. And he says he welcomes talented transplants.
“They didn’t come here to retire. But we need to provide them opportunity. That’s why I’ve proposed things like Community Credit Portland, making access to credit for small and growing businesses easier,” Hales said.
Hales says he also supports expanding a seed fund that’s helped a handful of prominent tech startups blossom.