Portlanders will cast their votes for mayor in the May 15 primary. We’re bringing together the top three candidates — Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith — to discuss public safety and share their visions for the city.
Watch the conversation on our lives stream and comment in real time on our Cover It Live blog below.
Read more about the candidates here.
All three candidates have focused heavily on the economy and neighborhood issues in East Portland. Brady has also said she wants to see City Hall provide better “customer service.” She’s emphasized her business chops throughout her campaign, which began in June 2011. Brady is perhaps best known as the co-founder of New Seasons Market (though that title has been called into question). When she was on our show in January, she said she hoped to raise $1 million in the primary race. She hasn’t hit that mark yet, but she has garnered close to $700,000 — significantly more than Hales or Smith have in their coffers.
Hales has played up his experience in Portland city government, where served as a commissioner from 1993 to 2002. He championed the street car as a commissioner and went on to work in the private sector planning transit systems around the country. When he was on our show, he talked about streamlining city government by using technological upgrades and reducing the ratio of managers and administrators to direct service providers. He seems to be taking a page from former Mayor Tom Potter’s playbook by making “community policing” one of his top issues. (Smith and Brady both mention this phrase on their sites, though not as prominently as Hales.)
Smith is running for mayor after a short career in the Oregon legislature representing East Portland. His chief claim to fame is the Bus Project, the voter-engagement advocacy organization he co-founded and ran for a decade before turning over the reins last year. Smith has made “good government” a cornerstone of his campaign, citing transparency and crowd-sourcing as two things he’d like to see more of. He may be trailing the others in terms of fundraising, but Smith can boast more Facebook friends than any other candidate. At 38, Smith is also the youngest of the top three candidates.