OPB asked each of the candidates for the Portland City Council Position 4 to fill out questionnaires on their qualifications and positions on key issues. Here is a look at some of their answers. Not all of the candidates responded. Some answers have been edited for typographical mistakes and length.
How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your priorities? Has it changed your view of the role city government should play?
CHLOE EUDALY: This crisis has shone a light on our systemic failures as a city, a state, a country, and a society. Because I'm already very focused on how we are failing the most underserved members of our community, this has only increased my sense of urgency.
● We need a central communications office and we need to be able to get vital information out to the public at large in multiple formats and languages.
● We need a centrally administrated accommodations fund for people who have language barriers and people with disabilities. We cannot continue to leave vital accommodations up to individual bureaus leaving community members with inconsistent access.
● We need a preparedness and resiliency strategy that marshals the resources of multiple bureaus, such as Civic Life, Fire Bureau, and PBEM, as well as our Neighborhood Coalitions, Neighborhoods Associations, and Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETS). Portlanders are incredibly generous and want to help, we need to get a lot better at harnessing that energy.
● We need to close the digital divide and help get all Portlanders get online so they can stay informed and connected.
● And after this crisis has abated, we must put living wage jobs, workers' protections, universal healthcare, tenant’s rights, affordable housing, homelessness, and creating a real social safety net at the top of our state and federal legislative agendas.
SAM ADAMS: The coronavirus pandemic has not changed my priorities, it only strengthened them. It has highlighted the need for city government to offer strong leadership.
We are in a health and economic crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. Yet, except for mine, you wouldn’t know it reading the Voters’ Pamphlet Statements for this race.
We need bold, decisive and effective action commensurate with the scale of the problem.
Take the lack of affordable housing and growing houselessness. It was a crisis before COVID-19 hit. Now it is getting much worse.
You can read the full text about my ideas for affordable housing and homelessness: https://www.samadamspdx.com/housing
MINGUS MAPPS: The pandemic has not changed my view of the role of city government in our lives, but it has reordered my political priorities.
I have devoted my career to public service because I believe that government matters and local government matters most. Keeping schools, police departments and health departments running is not glamorous work, but it is the hard labor which holds society together. The current pandemic and coming recession remind us of that fact.
At the same time, yes. The Covid-19 crisis has changed my priorities. When I got into this race six months ago, my top priorities were reducing homelessness, bringing more affordable housing to the city, changing the way we elected members of city council, hiring a city manager, and ending Commissioner Eudaly’s wars against neighborhood associations. Now, my top priorities include helping to lead Portland’s efforts to recover from the economic impact of the Covid Crisis.
KEITH WILSON: At my company's first coronavirus crisis planning meeting, we began brainstorming on how we could improve safety for our team and community. We were aggressively changing our security measures. One supervisor said that we could not keep our doors unlocked and open. I replied that freight safety must take a back seat to our teams' safety. "It's a matter of life or death." Never have the decisions we make or actions we take been more important to get right the first time.
My view of the role of city government is that it is more important than ever before to have capable, competent leaders in city council. Our federal response to the coronavirus pandemic was absent from the beginning. Our governor’s response was measured. Portland, with or without the Governor’s agreement, should have put in place a “Stay at Home” policy no later than March 13, days before the governor’s announcement. I do applaud Mayor Wheeler for patiently prodding the governor to implement this order. However, my experience leading a safety centric business has a key directive that we train: If you think you should have taken emergency action, you are already too late. The safety of Portlanders should never be compromised if another civilian authority at a higher level is hesitant or slow to act.
SETH WOOLLEY: The coronavirus pandemic affirmed many of my priorities but caused a shift in them too. Before this biological crisis, I was focused on major systemic reforms with a long term vision of deep democracy and inclusion, hoping that all the other issues would be solved by radical reforms that ensure we the people can express our collective desire for sustainable economies and a sustained environment.
In the current crisis, waiting is not an option for a quarter or more of the population. Council has to not just act in ways city resources and dwindling tax revenues can support those struggling as they find their economic foundations torn apart, but as leaders, council should know that political leadership is not always about wielding political power, but helping those without power have collective and personal autonomy to do the right things in an emergency. That often means delegating power swiftly and decisively.
Because I am a lifelong progressive, I will work to ensure that those who are suffering most get the most help, and to those who have the most to give I ask for understanding that I will push for temporary tax measures to fill the funding gaps that will be left by our collectively reduced incomes. And because I am a data analyst and good government reformer, I will ensure that going forward our system is made long term fair to everybody so that all boats are lifted by the rising tide. I will also work to build community resilience for the next black swan event.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down construction. What are specific steps the city can take to prevent this crisis from worsening the housing crisis?
CHLOE EUDALY: Housing is a basic need and a human right. Our failure to treat it as such— as essential infrastructure that everyone deserves access to— is how we ended up in this crisis to begin with. While supply is a critical piece of our overall housing strategy, it is not the only answer. We don't currently have a housing shortage. There are thousands of vacant units across the city. We have an affordable housing shortage for anyone earning under 120% of median family income, i.e., the majority of renters in our city. The immediate challenge in front of us is preventing a tidal wave of evictions, foreclosures, and bankruptcies post-COVID-19, something our local, state, and national policy-makers failed to do after Wall Street criminals nearly crashed the world economy in 2008. If we do not act swiftly to stabilize renters, homeowners, and small-time landlords, it will be another field day for Wall Street investment firms who have, in no small part, been fueling our ongoing housing crisis. While we have implemented some important stop-gap measures, such as the eviction moratorium, there is more work to do. We need a retroactive rent freeze. No one should be raising rents during this crisis. We need rent forgiveness for impacted households. We need our federal government to require or incentivize reasonable forbearance agreements and repayment plans for property owners. And we need relief to landlords based on actual expenses, not on market-rate rents.
SAM ADAMS: Two near-term actionable ideas: First, we should construct better housing for the houseless, faster and cheaper. To do this, we'd build more sustainable clustered villages of small homes, with shared kitchens and bathrooms, on land the city already owns. We'd mobilize the readily available Portland volunteers to build 500 units in six months, then more. We have seen Portland rally together to address a crisis before. In 1995, when I was Chief of Staff to Mayor Vera Katz, our city came together to build a storm wall that protected downtown from flooding. I believe we can harness that collective action and desire for change to respond to this houseless crisis as well.
Second, I support Measure 26-210, you should too. Local governments should loan itself money if the May 19 housing measure passes. We can’t afford to wait months and months for tax money to come. This is a crisis, and thousands of people could be at risk of losing their homes. Keep people in their homes now with housing vouchers, not wait for them to become homeless.
MINGUS MAPPS: The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a once in a century economic crisis. There is no playbook for the situation we are in. Instead, each day of Portland's economic recovery will require innovation and courage. On City Council, I will approach this challenge by focusing on the outcomes the City needs to deliver for Portlanders. In the context of housing, these are the outcomes I want to focus on: No renter should be evicted during this time of turmoil, and no homeowner should lose their home to foreclosure.
My plans for achieving these goals include:
- Extending the moratorium on evictions until the economic crisis has passed.
- Dramatically increasing the funding the City provides from emergency rental assistance.
- Demand that Federal and state authorities use their powers to deliver mortgage relief.
KEITH WILSON: Once it can be done safely, our city should fast-track every housing capital project that has funding set. Get people working as quick as possible on helping to fill the void in affordable housing in our city to ensure we do not fall further behind. Every person in Portland has been affected by this crisis and every Portlander needs support from our city, especially our most vulnerable.
We have to recognize that government intervention should be viewed as an investor of last resort. The private marketplace generally does not deliver anything for "below-market" prices. We should accept and acknowledge housing as a human right. We need to use the tools at our disposal:
- SDC exemptions, tax increment financing investments, development code updates, including incentive zoning for height and density bonuses, and for parking reductions.
- With transit-oriented development as our priority.
We must use all of these tools and more. Limited only by our imagination.
SETH WOOLLEY: Not only has much construction stopped. For some reason, the city has halted much of the permitting processes, too. The city needs to immediately reopen permitting, work faster to get permitting processes online, and as PPE becomes more available, we should be distributing it to construction workers and inspectors to help get construction moving again.
Due to the recession, it is possible that especially luxury housing development may be constrained. The city should redouble its efforts to build near commercial and transit corridors and to create a meaningful Residential Infill Program by giving neighborhood associations a mandate to increase occupancy and the freedom to come up with their own solutions that fit their local neighborhoods. We need to ensure all neighborhoods contribute while also preserving what they value most about their neighborhood characters. Some of their solutions may not be commercially viable. To ensure they are, I'd require their plans meet building targets going forward, and if they are failing, then they would get a wider default up-zone solution automatically applied.
I would keep us on the path for housing first, but in the meantime I will ensure that those living on the streets in camps have access to high class hygiene facilities, waste and recycling service, necessary clothing and gear, and secure storage lockers. The current situation of ad-hoc decriminalized-but-still-illegal camping is inhumane.
What bureaus do you want to control? What qualifies you for those assignments? For mayoral candidates: Which bureaus will you keep for yourself? Why?
CHLOE EUDALY: I'm happy with my current portfolio — Civic Life, PBOT, Arts — but the other bureaus I'm most interested in are: Parks, Housing, Planning, the Office of Equity and Human Rights, and the Office for Community Technology.
SAM ADAMS: I would like to be assigned the Bureau of Housing and lead on issues related to houselessness and affordable housing. Working with the Mayor, Council, government, business, and nonprofit stakeholders, we need a leader on City Council to be laser-focused on these issues, on a full-time basis as much as possible.
I have hands-on experience. As Mayor, I led Portland through the Great Recession to one of the strongest economic recoveries in the country, even while deeply cutting city budgets. We did it with a jobs program and fast-tracking funded projects. A 30% increase, $42 million, for housing and homeless service. New resources to neighboring and small businesses in general fund that not only got people back to work but helped Portland.
MINGUS MAPPS: I look forward to helping lead Prosper Portland, the Bureau of Development Services and the Office of Civic Life because those bureaus work on issues related to my top priorities.
I want Prosper Portland because I expect that organization to play an important role in the City’s efforts to recover from the Covid recession. I am well-suited for that role, having served on the budget advisory committee. I worked closely with that organization when I was executive director of the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative.
Also, I will ask the mayor to assign me the Bureau of Development Services (BDS). Reducing homelessness and increasing the City’s supply of affordable housing is my top priority. We can do that by focusing BDS on creating policies that incentivize building more affordable housing, including fee reduction, quicker inspections, and streamlining the building permit processes.
Finally, I will ask the Mayor to assign me The Office of Civic Life. Civic Life is a notoriously troubled bureau, which is staffed by great people, who do important work. I am the perfect candidate to lead Civic Life, because I know that organization well. I have been a supervisor for Civic Life’s Crime Prevention Program, and I was the Program Coordinator for the City’s Neighborhood Association system, which is also housed in Civic Life.
KEITH WILSON: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) or Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R).
I own and operate TITAN Freight Systems (www.titanfs.com). I have 25 years of transportation experience. Most of that experience is in a senior leadership capacity. I have a Master of Business Administration with a focus on transportation from the University of Portland.
My transportation and safety management skills would enable me to be a successful commissioner for PBOT or PF&R. I have the operating and financial experience required to manage a complex organization centered around the effective dispatching and routing of heavy-duty equipment (class 1 to class 8 vehicles and fire engines); the structures required to house and maintain the equipment and staff; with a complete focus on ensuring a safety centric environment. I am a commercial licensed heavy-duty operator with endorsements and experience in operating any type of on-road equipment. Additionally, I have a hazardous material endorsement and am a hazardous material instructor.
I am prepared from day one to help lead and innovate one or both of these bureaus. I have the knowledge and practical experience with the transportation industry’s most cutting-edge technology and management techniques to ensure the highest level of performance and safety.
Finally, as Commissioner, and based on my experience, I will remove 100% of our internal combustion engines from our entire municipal operations by 2030. I am committed to the environment and these two bureaus produce the most carbon of any others. Portland will be the greenest city in the nation.
SETH WOOLLEY: I have strong interests in Transportation, Water, Environmental Services, Neighborhood Involvement, Emergency Management, Technology Services, Planning and Sustainability, Community Technology, and Government Relations.
Depending on who is elected, I would expect some of those bureaus or offices go to other commissioners. For example, if Julia DeGraw is elected, we would have a shared interest in some of the environmental and technology bureaus.
I have spent over a decade working on navigation systems for transportation and logistics systems, so the Bureau of Transportation is high on my list. I will cover more about this in the questions regarding vision zero and the I-5 widening.
I have been a software architect and engineer professionally and have built systems that scaled to millions of simultaneous users and a million queries per second. I want to ensure Portlanders have universal access to broadband, can more effectively work remotely, and are not being fleeced by big companies with city franchises. Municipal ownership is an option for some private utilities.
I want to bring city government into the digital age by ensuring the successful deployment of online permitting, streamlining the permitting processes by parallelizing steps for complex projects, and introducing more sophisticated performance tracking to identify key bottlenecks for swift correction. It shouldn't take auditor reports to know something is wrong in a bureau.
What bureaus do you not want?
CHLOE EUDALY: I would happily take on any bureau the mayor assigns to me. I've learned over the past few years, that even if a bureau seems far outside of my area of interest or expertise, there's always important and interesting work to be done, whether it's reorganizing a bureau's structure to improve systems and services, modernizing technology, or improving the work culture.
SAM ADAMS: I have no "not wants."
MINGUS MAPPS: There are about 24 city bureaus. Each of them does important work. I would be honored to help lead any of them.
KEITH WILSON: It would be my honor to lead any bureau and I would tirelessly work to learn, gain expertise and innovate any that the mayor chooses to assign me. I lead an operation that spans three states and operates 24 hours a day at a high level of performance and excellence. With comprehensive knowledge of the functional departments that are required to effectively run such an operation, I feel I am uniquely qualified to make impact with any assignment.
SETH WOOLLEY: As a public servant, I am prepared to lead any assigned bureau, but there are some bureaus I would push hard that other elected officials manage because they would be the most qualified.
For example, I would put the Police Bureau under JoAnn Hardesty as she was elected on a mandate to reform it.
For others, it would depend on who was elected. We should be managing to our strengths. I would have no problem working on the less controversial bureaus to ensure they are performing at peak capacity to ensure other bureaus were led by fully attentive commissioners.
I enjoy looking at public records and finding root causes of problems and fixing them, and I'd expect to actively manage any bureau I was assigned.
What’s one decision the City Council has made in the past four years you disagreed with? What would you have done differently?
CHLOE EUDALY: There are less than a handful of votes that I regret in my 3+ years of City Council. We are sometimes faced with two equally unappealing choices due to the constraints we must function within, but I always strive to do the right thing by my colleagues and my community.
A couple of the hardest votes I've made have been on our annual budget. Yes, the budget is a values statement; it is also a document of compromise. Everyone gets some of their priorities met while conceding on other issues.
This was never more true for me than in my first budget vote in 2017 when we authorized around 50 new sworn officer positions. To my credit, I fought long and hard to get that number down from 100, so 50 felt like a small victory. In retrospect, I wish I had held my ground. Until very recently, the bureau had never explained its rationale for police staffing ratio — a complicated equation that varies from city to city based on population, demographics, crime rates, and other factors — or how it allocates resources.
I want our police bureau to be adequately staffed and our community well served, but it's hard to make informed decisions when there is little to no rationale offered for increasing positions. I support consolidating public safety administrative functions under the Office of Management and Finance, a measure that will save money, be more efficient, and should provide more transparency to Council and the public.
SAM ADAMS: The biggest mistake I've seen from the City Council in the last four years is not fully treating houselessness like the crisis it really is.
Portland needs a housing plan to guide and monitor its housing needs. I tried to convince my colleagues to embark on a housing plan in 2006, but there was a lack of interest to proceed at the time.
This lack of a plan is showing. The very precious dollars for public subsidized housing need to be well spent and leveraged. $310,000 per unit is one estimate for Portland Housing Bond projects. That’s too high. Legalizing more types of housing, like co-housing, boarding houses, and more small-house village clusters would help.
MINGUS MAPPS: I oppose Commissioner Eudaly's plans to dismantle Portland's neighborhood association system. Her plan solves no problems but creates a lot of new ones. That is why, when I am on City Council, I will end Chloe Eudaly's wars against neighborhoods. And I will call on the City to reboot the code change process, with a new focus on creating a code that promotes healthy, connected neighborhoods.
KEITH WILSON: Our city has normalized homeless encampments. Last year 80 people died living on the Portland streets, mostly due to addiction, homicide, exposure and illnesses, often untreated because of unsafe and unhygienic conditions. Allowing people to camp on our streets is misguided compassion. Allowing people to die on our streets is not compassionate at all. Compassion is not allowing people to suffer from lethal substance abuse on our sidewalks, drifting toward death as we walk by.
Our police, who are on the front lines caring for our city, have driven or walked by these camps dozens of times but are ordered by their superiors at the direction of our City Council to stand down. All the while the quality of life for both the homed and homeless suffers, in the case of the homeless, sometimes with loss of life.
We need to engage our police and justice system, not in a punitive fashion but to uphold our laws and values. Writing an abundance of citations will not solve illegal camping. For example, Boise only cited six people last year for illegal camping. However, Boise has only 61 unsheltered homeless per night versus Portland with 2,037. The difference: The Mayor, City Council, Police, Fire, justice system and homeless service agencies all work TOGETHER to communicate to homeless encampments that illegal camping is not allowed and follow up immediately and as needed. No bureaucracy, just a partnership that involves all stakeholders.
We have a moral obligation to care for our most vulnerable.
SETH WOOLLEY: City Council refused to refer Campaign Finance Reform to the ballot even after Multnomah County passed it with 89% of the vote. It's obvious what I would have done differently. I cared about it so much I managed a team of volunteers to get it on the ballot by petition, got it on the ballot directly, and it passed with 87% of the vote. They'd rather the solution be that candidates get taxpayer money than to reduce the cost of elections with limits and required disclosures.
I supported public funding of elections because federal law still allows big funders to independently spend dollars against candidates with grassroots support, but public funding does not work without campaign finance limits. Portland would have been unique in the country in having public funding with no limits. Elections would have been a disaster and many taxpayer funds would have been wasted if limits did not also pass and begin for the same election cycle. Grassroots candidates would have had to raise a lot more funds, get more matching dollars, and the fund would have been exhausted if the threat of corporate candidates remained.
It still does to a certain extent. Despite limits and disclosures passing, Mayor Ted Wheeler is running for reelection using 85 to 90% big money checks that are currently forbidden in the City Charter. He's also violating required advertising disclosures. He also failed to comply with Open and Accountable Election laws at least 190 times this election cycle.
Despite the city’s efforts on Vision Zero, people keep dying on Portland streets. Why are we failing?
CHLOE EUDALY: It's frustrating that despite the efforts and resources we've put into Vision Zero, we're not seeing a decline in traffic fatalities. But the majority of the deaths are due to speed and/or intoxicants, behavior that we cannot engineer our way out of. We need more education and enforcement. We also need buy-in from other bureaus and agencies, such as PPB and ODOT.
Despite the fact that we're not yet seeing the results we want, I still strongly believe in the approach and that the safety improvements we've made have been necessary. We need to do more, not less. Three new areas of focus I've directed PBOT to take on are increasing street lighting in East Portland — where pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed as anywhere else in the city – daylighting intersections, and improving our Neighborhood Greenway system.
While we grieve every death on our streets, it's important to note that approximately 48% of the traffic fatalities that have happened in our city since we adopted Vision Zero have happened on ODOT-owned roads, which make up only 12% of our roads. The city has historically had very little control of these roadways. If ODOT were to bring these facilities up to the city's standards we would likely see a significant decline in fatalities. When we look at the fatalities on city-owned roadways, we see a number that's held fairly steady. Still not the outcome we want, but a different picture than the total number tells.
SAM ADAMS: If elected, I would reinstate the annual Transportation Safety Summits as one way to increase community collaboration and meaningful engagement. This issue is critical, and the burden should not be on the community to come to City Hall to have concerns heard — we have to go to them. I want to ensure that the City is doing its part to lead these conversations and be a good partner to community efforts.
I understand the Vision Zero oversight committee only meets every six months. That group must be meeting more frequently to ensure we are measuring our outcomes and making adjustments along the way as needed. It’s not enough to write good policy, we must also stay invested enough to make changes if something isn’t working or increase strategies that are showing success. We can only make those decisions if we are measuring outcomes. I believe the jurisdictional, advocacy and community partners that helped create PBOT’s Vision Zero plan should continue to be engaged to help the City evaluate what is working and what is not.
MINGUS MAPPS: I attribute high traffic fatalities to a failure to enforce our drunk-driving laws, our commission form of government and a lack of leadership in City Hall.
I suspect a large part of the problem is the lax enforcement of driving-under-the-influence laws. That needs to change.
We also need to recognize that traffic fatalities are a symptom of the failure of our Commission form of government. On the one hand, we have Commissioner Eudaly and PBOT trying and failing to bring down traffic deaths. At the same time, the Police Department has a different set of priorities.
We need a government structure and political leadership that aligns to focus our resources on accomplishing our goals. Right now, that is not happening in Portland.
KEITH WILSON: Portland has misdiagnosed the root cause. Our city has spent $100 million this past five years on speed reduction and road-quieting engineering projects and fatalities have doubled. We finished this past year with 49 traffic deaths, the highest in 22 years. Regrettably, one of my daughter's schoolmates is included in last year's fatalities. Unfortunately, pedestrians in low-income areas suffer the greatest loss of life in these accidents.
Emerging technology and artificial intelligence are the solution for our city.
From 2014 to 2017, my company experienced a 200% increase in minor accidents. We were experiencing the same spike as Portland and knew that without action a major accident was inevitable. Our research determined the root cause as Driver Distraction and we spent a full year reviewing solutions. At the beginning of 2019 we implemented a revolutionary new safety system that uses AI and edge computing that empowers our drivers by providing them with more awareness of risky driving behavior. Since implementing this system, we have reduced unsafe driving behavior 86% and have experienced ZERO accidents.
Based on my experience and knowledge of operating one of the safest transportation companies in the world that has delivered on the Vision Zero goal and as the Commissioner of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), I will redirect Portland’s Vision Zero program immediately. The cutting-edge technology I have outlined is much lower cost, immediately more effective and available in many different applications. Every Portlander will arrive home safe.
SETH WOOLLEY: There are many reasons people continue to die. We're all human and can make mistakes, but the mistakes can be managed with good policy:
First, I'd enforce current speeding and intoxication laws.
Second, I'd enforce the law against parking in a way that obscures corners. State law provides for penalties for parking near corners. The city has not been enforcing that law.
Third, I'd enforce expired tags to ensure low quality vehicles are properly insured and maintained, or sent to recycling. Keeping a modern vehicle fleet improves safety and avoidance technologies available on the road.
Fourth, I'd keep assisting single-occupancy drivers to make good choices to drive less and use alternative forms of transportation, including carpooling, transit, working from home (good broadband access), and decongestion charges with transportation rebates redeemable for use with alternative forms of transit, bike shops, and carpool drivers.
Fifth, I'd continue expanding the bicycle boulevard and separated lane system to keep bike traffic separated from cars as much as possible, including more diverters.
Sixth, I'd stop subsidizing public parking and ensure parking costs were charged what they cost, or in line with real demand, to always ensure parking is available and yet properly priced. If parking is properly priced, people will make rational decisions about what mode of transit they should take, and if they do have to use a car, parking will always be reasonably available.
Do you support the widening of Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter? Why or why not?
CHLOE EUDALY: While I recognize that the I-5 Rose Quarter project would correct a poorly designed interchange and improve one of the worst bottlenecks on I-5, I've been very open about the fact that this project would not have been a priority for me or for PBOT.
The improvements this project promised on the surface streets — including stitching some of Lower Albina back together by capping the highway — were enticing. But the project is facing major challenges — the impact to Harriet Tubman Middle School, the not-very significant improvement in air quality, the temporary fix to congestion, and mounting public opposition.
I continue to support the demands of the Albina Vision Trust, but it is time to have a larger conversation about where this project fits in to our overall strategy to decrease congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. That conversation involves the interstate bridge replacement, high capacity public transit, tolling, congestion pricing, and other transportation demand management strategies. There is no single lever we can pull to solve our transportation challenges but it is clear that we'd better start making a concerted effort across multiple arenas if we want to avert climate catastrophe.
I've seen some interesting data coming out of ODOT since the shutdown began. We're seeing MORE cars moving through I-5RQ at FASTER speeds during the peak hour. Deeper analysis is needed, but it strongly suggests that we don't have a capacity problem — we have a demand management problem.
SAM ADAMS: I do not support investing in the Rose Quarter Expansion (or the Columbia River Crossing) until congestion pricing has been implemented at these existing Columbia River freeway bridges. Let's see the impacts of congestion pricing tolls before we potentially waste billions on freeway projects.
Albina Vision, including the I-5 freeway caps, should move forward now with state and city support regardless of whether or not the proposed freeway expansion happens.
However, emissions from the transportation system need to be reined in. Congestion pricing tolls will deter unnecessary single-driver car trips through the Rose Quarter and beyond. We can use Oregon and Washington SNAP cards (like the Oregon Trailcard) and TriMet low-income fare status to easily provide real-time discounted fees/rates to low-income families on both sides of the river.
We should look to use toll revenues to backfill other roadway projects that are using more flexible resources with an eye to improving transit. Some possible projects include pedestrian and bike-focused safety upgrades at all crossings at or near MAX stations. Also, the City could be doing more to hold ODOT accountable for bringing their roads up to a state of good repair, such as commit not to support any future expensive road expansion projects until ODOT takes care of the roads they already have responsibility for.
MINGUS MAPPS: In its current form, I oppose the proposed expansion of I-5 at the Rose Quarter and I am disappointed that ODOT will not be conducting an environmental impact report. I understand the desire to want to reduce traffic congestion, but there are many issues with this current plan. Over the past two years, the estimated cost of this project has doubled to nearly $795 million.
We still do not have enough information about the environmental impact of this project, besides the fact that it will likely lead to more cars on the road. Neighbors oppose the highway expansion. And – in the long run – it is not actually clear it will ease congestion. The hundreds of millions being talked about here are likely better spent on other kinds of transit and transportation projects. Congestion pricing is something I’m open to, but it also requires thinking about the equity impact on lower income workers who may have no choice but to drive, especially as housing costs continue to rise in Portland.
KEITH WILSON: I support this project as outlined in the Albina Vision.
I do not agree with ODOT’s assessment that this will reduce congestion. Induced demand is well documented. Generally, for every highway expanded it creates a proportional increase in vehicle travel. A 1% increase in road capacity creates a 1% increase in Vehicle Miles Traveled. Regarding safety, while many accidents are attributed to this corridor, there have been no recent fatalities except for illegal pedestrian crossings.
The Rose Quarter Improvement Project should not move forward unless pricing is included to manage driving demand. ODOT is proposing the addition of congestion pricing to accompany the addition of auxiliary lanes. This will enable the creation of a seamless HOV network of managed lanes between downtown Portland and Vancouver, WA. Dynamic tolls manage demand to keep one dedicated HOV lane moving above 45 – 55 mph during peak times – journey predictability is thus ensured.
High-speed bus service, which will utilize these lanes as well as paying single-occupancy vehicles, will take 20 minutes in place of the normal 38-minute commute today. As congestion and travel time increases, more motorists will opt out of vehicles for this more efficient, predictable, lower-cost and cleaner option.
SETH WOOLLEY: I do not support the widening of I-5 at the Rose Quarter. We don't need to keep expanding freeways.
I'm an expert in a form of mathematics called graph theory and how it is applied to navigation and logistics problems using computer automation. I've built software systems that collect and use real time traffic data to better direct vehicles around congestion in real time. I've filed a number of patents in this area.
Widening freeways leads to more congestion all around the widening as those lanes get used up and more cars are induced to use that section of road. As you open up bottlenecks, you increase the density of traffic all around the former bottlenecks. More bottlenecks then form at other intersections. Then the next intersection gets targeted for bottleneck elimination until the entire world is filled with asphalt and concrete and we look like LA or Vegas.
Portland has enough freeways. What it needs are more forms of efficient commuting, people living closer to work or not leaving home to work, and a transportation system designed to enable the most efficient forms of transit. The current commissioner seems to think the answer is buses.
Buses are a small part of a complete transportation system, which includes carpoolers, bikers, walkers, and telecommuters. PBOT ironically competes with fiber broadband operators for users of the public rights of way.
On Portland's McCall Waterfront, removing a road revitalized it, lest we forget.
What’s one thing you want to ensure is in the new Portland Police Bureau officer contract?
CHLOE EUDALY: The City of Portland is in active negotiations on the Portland Police contract and I'm not free to discuss the details. What I can say is that I want an open and transparent process with ample opportunity for the public to be engaged and weigh in. We need to start to repair the relationship between our police force and our community members. I believe the only way to do that is to allow the public to participate in the decision making process in a meaningful way.
SAM ADAMS: We have to work together to restore trust in our police departments. It can begin with the city actually having control of its own police officers. I fired officers when the evidence showed they violated policy or had engaged in serious misconduct — only to have our decision overturned in an arbitration governed by state law.
This year, Portland Senator Lew Frederick offered an important step in the right direction. Senate Bill 1567 provides local governments with the control and oversight tools they need to address disciplinary issues within their police departments. The vast majority of police are hard-working officers, and everyone deserves due process and fair treatment in the workplace. We need Senator Frederick's bill to place control over police bureaus back in the hands of local elected officials where it belongs.
If elected City Commissioner, I will work to ensure a system that is fair for everyone. Portland, and cities around the state, must have a predictable and consistent process for discipline when it is needed.
MINGUS MAPPS: I will push for a policing contract which establishes the highest standards of professionalism and accountability in Oregon. At the same time, the contract should recognize that policing is difficult work and police officers will make mistakes. Our labor contract should incentivize police officers to admit to their mistakes. In return, the City should guarantee police progressive discipline and due process.
KEITH WILSON: Portland's Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP) should be changed from an administration committee to a permanent oversight body empowered to review on-going police excessive use of force and help provide on-going training and outreach between the community and police. The mandate from 2012 that required our city to review use of force with regard to the mentally ill should be expanded to include vulnerable populations that consist of, but not limited to, people of color, immigration status and the houseless. PCCEP could be a great resource to work as the bridge of understanding between vulnerable communities and the police.
SETH WOOLLEY: Police officers should not receive special rights in disciplinary interviews that are not extended to everyday Portlanders in interrogations.
Do you support changing Portland’s form of government? If yes, to what?
CHLOE EUDALY: I was mostly in agreement with the City Club's report on changing our form of City government. I'm looking forward to the Charter Review and to the recommendations that come out of it. I'm very open to changing Portland's form of City government, but I believe we need to have citywide conversation in order for it to have any hope of passing at the ballot. While I enjoy the administrative side of my job, there is simply too much volatility and inconsistency in leadership when Council members come and go and bureaus are reassigned. In the meantime, I'd like the city to consider ranked choice voting--a voting method that delivers election outcomes that are much more representative of our whole community and that we could implement much faster than a complete overhaul of our City government. I'm also pursuing participatory budgeting which would allow the public to vote on how we allocate certain pots of money and would better reflect community priorities. Finally, I want to vastly expand the number of Portlanders participating in our civic engagement network, this would also contribute to decision making that is more representative of our whole community.
SAM ADAMS: Yes, I support changing Portland's form of government.
A starting point for changing Portland's form of government could be centered on Multnomah county’s structure. The county chair (mayor) serves as the government's executive, the chief operations officer serves as the county admin (city manager), and the board (city council) -- elected by districts -- fulfills the legislative and oversight responsibilities.
Portlanders want change, but also need certainty that whatever new form is proposed has been ground-truthed locally.
It’s a good question whether in the uncertainties of the present moment Portlanders would be motivated to undertake a change in their city government. The public should be surveyed to understand the desire and urgency for change. Regardless I think efforts should begin so an eventual proposal is ready when the political timing is right.
MINGUS MAPPS: Replacing Portland's commission form of government is one of my top priorities. Portland is one of the last large cities in America to use a "commission" form of government. Under a commission form of government, each member of City Council is also the manager of one or more city bureaus. Between the late 1800s and the early 1900s, a handful of American cities, including Portland, experimented with the commission for government.
Our commission form of government encourages City Commissioners to look out for the interests of the bureaus they manage and look past the interests of the city as a whole. We can fix this by instituting a City Manager system to coordinate the day-to-day operations of city bureaus.
Portlanders deserve better government. That is why I would fight for three common sense reforms to our City’s charter.
1. Instead of electing members of City Council through at-large elections, let’s use electoral districts to choose our city commissioners. This simple change will ensure that voices from every corner of the city are represented in City Hall.
2. Let’s institute a city manager system to oversee the day-to-day operations of city bureaus. That common-sense reform will make it possible for the City to deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost with far better oversight and accountability.
3. We need to add more council seats so that our city’s growing diverse communities can all have a voice in local representation.
KEITH WILSON: Yes.
Change our current Commissioner form of government with at-large elections to a Council / Manager form with council seats representing districts. Our current voting process leads to a lack of diversity, equity and opportunity for minorities with few exceptions. At-large elections have resulted in only three people of color being elected in over 100 years. District-based representation will improve the likelihood of a more diverse city council.
Our current commission form of government is outdated and not being administered as it was originally intended. Commissioners are no longer being elected to run specific bureaus. For example, our commissioner in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation has no practical or educational experience in transportation or process flow management and yet we entrust this person to manage a $500+ million budget. We hope that this person will be an effective leader, but hope is not a course of action in any successful planning process.
I often read City of Portland auditor reports highlighting bureau deficiencies and undelivered promises. As a professional manager myself, I often wonder what metrics and process flow techniques are being used, in that many of the findings relate to improper planning and quality control. A city the size of Portland needs a manager that is effective and accountable.
SETH WOOLLEY: Yes. Ten years ago for the last Charter Review Commission, I pushed the mayor and council to reform the commissioner system along the lines of a prior City Club report which suggested a manager council system with proportional representation.
The City Club updated its report recently ahead of the next Charter Review Commission. Again, it recommends the same. It also pushed for districts or mixed-member proportional representation.
Ten years ago I thought mixed member districts may be quite a bit to take on in addition to reform, but now that I see it's fairly popular to those I discuss it with, I think Portlanders are ready to try out a new system that has both geographic diversity and ideological diversity.
Mixed-member systems have a broad set of districts, but within each district multiple candidates are up for election and ranked ballots allow the counting system to select a diversity of voices. Single Transferable Voting is my favorite system of counting ranked ballots to ensure proportional representation. STV is a form of Ranked Choice Voting used for multi-seat elections.
With five districts and three seats in each district, 15 councilors could be elected and minority groups would be regularly represented and geographic areas would also be properly represented.
Are homeless sweeps smart policy? If not what else should we be doing to address unsanitary conditions. If so, what else do we need to do better?
CHLOE EUDALY: Very early in my first term, my office convened meetings with community advocates, service providers, city staff, and the Mayor's office to develop a more humane camp clean up policy which resulted in a reduction of the percentage of camps that are ultimately swept and improvements in how we communicate and work with impacted individuals. Where we have fallen short is providing access to sanitation and hygiene facilities and establishing safe-sleep sites. I strongly believe that if we have to evict individuals from a site due to public health and safety concerns, we must offer them somewhere to go.
Last week we opened three such sites as part of our COVID-19 response and we have also increased hygiene facilities across the city. I'm hopeful that this approach will prove successful and that we will continue providing increased access once the crisis has passed. Until we can offer every person or family experiencing homelessness actual shelter, the very least we can do is provide a safe place for them to camp or park and access to hygiene and sanitation facilities.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, I'm advocating that city should dedicate a portion of our relief funding (which can only be spent on COVID-19 expenses and cannot replace lost revenue) to hotel vouchers, and increasing shelter capacity--whether for shelters, camp sites, or tiny homes--as well as opening up community centers and schools to provide day centers and access to hygiene facilities.
SAM ADAMS: We should intervene when demonstrable life and safety issues exist and cannot or will not be addressed. We can address unsanitary conditions by providing garbage, port-a-potties with hand sanitizer, and needle deposit boxes.
MINGUS MAPPS: Sweeps of homeless camps are not "smart policy." Still, sometimes, sweeps are appropriate. And yes, there are better responses to street camping than sweeps.
Sweeping homeless camps does not solve homelessness, it just pushes the problem down the block. Still, we have all seen homeless camps in dangerous locations, like highway on ramps. For everyone's well-being, camps like those should be closed.
There are better solutions to street camping than sweeps. For example, I am excited about a project being piloted in the Lents neighborhood-- Street Response Teams. The concept behind this experiment is that instead of sending Police Officers out to tell homeless people to move one or go to jail, we send “Street Response Teams,” basically social workers, who will do initial outreach to homeless people in crisis. Instead of taking homeless people to jail, or telling them to move down the block, Street Response Team workers will do a needs assessment for houseless people and will try to connect them to resources to meet those needs.
KEITH WILSON: No. Camping is illegal.
There should be no camping therefore no sweeps. Sweeps are an admission that our city is not working together, that our council is helpless, they are not guiding or governing our city. Our city has normalized camping and in turn the quality of life suffers for both our homed and homeless.
Last year, only 15% of campsites were cleaned and cleared by the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, the department that has replaced our Police Bureau with enforcing our illegal camping ordinances. They cleaned only 2,828 campsites out of 18,853 reports received (35,005 total reports received but some were of the same campsite). With 457,461 needles and 8,000 gallons of human waste collected from just 2,828 camps, the sanitation and safety concerns are staggering.
Homelessness is not a crime. However, homeless encampments are illegal. We do have a moral obligation to help house our most vulnerable but also to uphold our laws for the benefit of all citizens.
The next question answers what I propose we implement immediately to provide a dignified, safe solution for all Portlanders.
SETH WOOLLEY: Homeless sweeps that move people around aren't smart. Everybody knows that housing first approaches are the smartest, but we lack funding for that. The upcoming Metro high income and big business tax should help provide much of the needed funding.
Until then we should ensure that camps that do form are provided with a good location that is not harming parks and is ensuring our neighborhoods are safe. We should ensure they have good hygiene facilities, including showers, restrooms, kitchens, and secure storage.
We should continue to expand mental health services and drug-addiction treatment programs.
Despite years of work, homelessness continues to plague Portland. What is one specific step you would take in this effort?
CHLOE EUDALY: I'd really prefer to not refer to the human suffering that is a result of decades of systemic failures at every level of government as a plague on the rest of us. People experiencing homelessness are our neighbors, our community members, and they are suffering from our shortcomings more than anyone else.
I've been deeply engaged in this work--preventing and addressing homelessness--since I took office. Our failure to recognize housing as a human right and our failure to treat it as such has directly led to a national housing crisis, which has been decades in the making. This is not just a Portland problem. But locally, our failure to protect renters and regulate our rental market has led to high rates of displacement and homelessness.
There is no one step that can be taken to solve it, and it will require deep investment and a regional effort, so it is critical that we pass the HereTogether housing measure in May. This regional measure will raise revenue to provide supportive services and homelessness prevention to our most vulnerable community members. It will help also our neighboring counties expand their capacity to serve their community members who are at risk or already homeless. We need a more effective and humane approach to solving homelessness--that's the promise of HereTogether.
SAM ADAMS: Read: Action-Based Ideas That Treat Affordable Housing and Homelessness Like the Crisis It Is: https://www.samadamspdx.com/housing
MINGUS MAPPS: The most efficient way to reduce homelessness is to prevent people from losing their housing in the first place. That is why I will push the City to dramatically increase the amount of funding Portland provides for emergency rental assistance. It is more humane, cheaper, and a better public policy to stabilize people in their own home than it is to build out shelter beds to house people who have lost their housing.
KEITH WILSON: There are two distinct groups of homelessness: Sheltered, those in emergency shelters or transitional housing, and those who are Unsheltered, living outdoors or in cars and RV's.
Regarding Sheltered homeless populations, our homeless services agencies, at the lead of JOHS, have done a fantastic job. These populations of homeless have been reduced by 21% this past two years.
Regarding our Unsheltered homeless, our city has normalized camping that has resulted in this population growing 22% this past two years. One third of unsheltered are homeless upon arrival to Multnomah County / Portland (715 ÷ 2037, Point In Time, Pg 54). Chronically homeless are 67% of unsheltered, growing 48% in just two years. For many homeless who are service-resistant, Portland has become a destination.
Now let’s focus on SOLUTIONS:
Establish a network of Pop-Up Shelters using parking garages and spaces that are left empty at night. Best case scenario are structures with adjacent facilities that include bathroom and showers (e.g. gyms, community centers, etc. that close at night). Without a home or shelter there is no way to protect yourself or your limited possessions, to sleep without fear or to get truly rested and ready for the next day. For a person already struggling with mental illness, addiction or trying to keep a job, the lack of sleep only aggravates an already difficult situation. Pop-Up Shelters help provide stability each night and a steppingstone out of homelessness. We have to provide a better alternative than allowing camping on our streets.
SETH WOOLLEY: I think the key to this is the lack of affordable housing in general. Housing unaffordability along the entire spectrum of income ranges makes low income housing also unaffordable.
Further, the lack of public housing is key. A private model that works well to maintain affordability is the community land trust model. In Portland a group called Proud Ground had been helping hundreds of first-time home buyers get into homes they would otherwise not afford.
The city could provide the capital for these kinds of endeavors by leveraging city treasury dollars that would otherwise go to national banking interests (where we've parked billions of dollars). We could invest locally in our own land. Instead of the land going to a land trust in perpetuity, we could hold the land portion of properties for first time home buyers in a trust that can be optionally bought back from the city at future land prices but only to the current homeowner.
The city would have a lien on the house such that if the house is sold, the city retains the value and can pass it on to the next buyer if they are also occupying the home (not just renting the entire thing out). There would be enough turnover that the city would reap the benefits of land price increases (which should grow faster than housing itself in a quality urban core), and it creates an incentive for the city to ensure that neighborhoods do not fall into a value decay so existing homeowners are also helped out.
What are steps city should be taking now to avoid dramatic budget cuts if the pandemic causes a big economic downturn?
CHLOE EUDALY: We are using the City's response to the 2008 recession as a case study in what not to do. The dramatic cuts that were made during the Great Recession were debilitating to some of our bureaus and programs. BDS and PBOT in particular, are still suffering the consequences of decisions made more than a decade ago. Our current priorities are to minimize impacts to essential services and workers, while reducing costs wherever we can, in order to remain not just solvent, but nimble in our recovery.
The steps we are currently taking at PBOT are generally representative of the citywide approach--include a hiring freeze, eliminating non-essential spending, implementing a variety of cost-saving strategies, carefully considering programmatic reductions, and drawing on reserves when/if available. Citywide, unrepresented workers will be forgoing COLA and merit pay, as well as taking 10 mandatory furlough days between April 30 and Oct.r 4. We are currently negotiating with our union partners on similar measures in order to save jobs. The last resort is increased furloughs and lay-offs. We've also authorized the City to access a $100 million line of credit.
This crisis has also precipitated a look at transportation funding in an age of declining gas tax and parking revenues.
SAM ADAMS: Biggest cost savings: Reduce middle management admin positions citywide; Request 10% cut packages from bureaus in 2% increments; COLA and Merit pay freezes for all employees.
MINGUS MAPPS: Portland is at the beginning of one of its worst economic downturns in a century. Demands on public services are about to increase dramatically, and tax revenues are about to fall off a cliff. Our next steps are obvious but will also be painful. The City needs to conserve resources and focus its remaining assets on protecting public safety, human dignity, and economic recovery.
The City of Portland should declare a hiring freeze now. If I were on City Council, I would order my directors to give me a list of every dollar in this year’s budget, which we could save or redirect toward COVID recovery efforts. I would also ask my Bureau directors to pull together, for the 2020/2021 budget, a plan for 20%+ budget cuts for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. And I would ask bureau directors and labor leaders to begin negotiations now about the best ways, if necessary, to shrink our City staff, while still serving the public. Even extraordinary efforts like those will not be enough to navigate the coming fiscal crisis.
Navigating this moment will require close collaboration between the Federal Government, the State of Oregon, and the City of Portland. The City of Portland needs to become very good at anticipating and advocating for the needs of Portlanders. People will need money to live on. No one should lose their homes or business because of this global crisis. Our City’s public servants are likely to be the frontline workers in delivering aid to Portlanders.
KEITH WILSON: Portland is slow and lumbering in our planning and permitting process. We have no time for delay and must streamline our process immediately. We need to shore up Prosper Portland and our Small Business Stabilization Fund and make funds for small business loans immediately, focusing on 50 employees or less.
Focus on Buy Local / Support Local with an eye on highlighting people of color and equity-based businesses. They have been hit hardest both financially and medically with the Covid-19 virus. The current $3 million commitment is not nearly enough.
From a city budget standpoint, we must review and remove all unnecessary spending, maintaining our city employees and their livelihoods and families over everything else. Our skilled workforce will be more important than ever to provide services and resources to Portlanders as they climb out of the coming recession.
SETH WOOLLEY: The city can't do much about the gas tax decline in revenue and other fee-based services. Budget cuts there are unavoidable without fresh cash injections. I'd make sure we have plans in place for each area of the budget to decrease and increase budgets based on swings in revenue.
I'd work with labor unions to come up with ways to reduce layoffs by instituting voluntary hour reductions and then mandatory hour reductions. I'd ensure everybody had access to health insurance who worked at the city and wasn't laid off on a more permanent basis. By keeping city employees better off, the overall economy would do marginally better than otherwise.
I'd put a halt to programs that can be delayed where possible. Some projects have more urgency than others, and many need higher priority, such as home work support, emergency services, permit streamlining, and other investments in longer term cost reductions.
We should also make sure that local and regional governments have all they need by communicating with state and federal funding controllers and lobbying for our fair access to stimulus funds.
And we should keep up with policies that help improve social distancing and sound hygiene practices to prevent pandemics in the future. Most importantly, we should develop policies to ensure when another black swan event happens, we have a smoother time. NETs should be supported to be prepared for similar events, as they are key resources in such times.
The City Council last year put off proposed major changes to the role of neighborhood associations in city government. What changes, if any, do you want to see?
CHLOE EUDALY: When we realized there were too many unanswered questions for the community to be comfortable with the proposed Code Change, we switched gears. We were set to come back to Council and direct bureaus to create an inventory of the ways Civic Life Code 3.96 impacts them. Because of the COVID-19 crisis that item is on hold. Public involvement is too challenging under our current stay at home orders.
Neighborhood Associations provide great benefit for their immediate neighborhoods as well as vital feedback to the city on planning, policy-making, and priorities. However, because involvement is low and their membership doesn't typically reflect the full diversity of our city, I believe the City must do a better job engaging all Portlanders--whether that's youth, renters, BIPOC communities, immigrants and refugees, or simply individuals who can't or don't want to attend their monthly NA meetings. Code Change would have directed the City of Portland to recognize the different ways that our residents identify and organize, opening up the current civic-engagement network to potentially thousands of more people. I still believe that's the right thing to do, but we're not going to try to advance this conversation during this crisis.
What I am working on is introducing a digital platform for civic engagement--a vital tool for the city to share ideas and get feedback as well as allow residents to present their own initiatives and connect with others who share their burning issues.
SAM ADAMS: I support strong neighborhood associations and appreciate the value they have in the City's decision-making process. I also believe that like many of our institutions they must become more inclusive of communities they impact. It's unfortunate the recent efforts to bring other community organizations into neighborhood associations have been postponed. I don't believe we can go another three years without the inclusion of more diverse input.
If elected to City Council, I hope to work closely with established organizations that have been empowering and lifting up Portlanders that historically have been left out of not only Neighborhood Associations, but other opportunities to take an active role in the policies by which they’re often the most affected. I propose to follow these organizations’ guidance in creating official city commissions of front line community members and historically marginalized stakeholders. These commissions would provide The City an opportunity to learn from their lived experiences and facilitate creating strong ties with The City that only Neighborhood Associations have had.
These commissions should have the same access to weigh in on the decision-making process as neighborhood associations. They also should be empowered to bring in the city bureau to examine equity and inclusion practices and performance regarding city services, hiring, and contracting. I believe a healthy process includes more than one perspective, especially if they disagree.
MINGUS MAPPS: When I am on City Council, I will be a champion for Portland's neighborhoods. Rather than tearing them down, we should support our decades-old Neighborhood Association system and the role that the associations and Neighborhood Coalitions play as civic representation in our city government. I reject the view that neighborhood politics is a zero-sum game. There is no reason why neighborhood associations and other community and identity groups cannot happily coexist. On Council, I will press the City do a better job of partnering with, supporting, and listening to all members of our community. And for as long as I serve in City Hall, there will be room at the table for both neighborhood associations, identity groups and new Portlanders.
KEITH WILSON: Our neighborhood associations, community and civic groups are needlessly at odds with one another. The Office of Community and Civic Life, in an effort to be more inclusive of a growing and diverse Portland, attempted to change their charter to include civic groups. Unfortunately, the result has been only frustration from all parties.
I am a supporter of adding civic groups to our city charter. Increasing equity and voices in our city can only be a positive step. Our civic groups, neighborhood associations and community organizations should all have input in their communities as envisioned in the new code. However, none should have power to determine when and where development should apply. Our laws and zoning types must be designed for equity and fairness for all community members. So long as laws are applied, we must rely on our system to supply the needed housing and types.
With code change put on hold and our charter review commission set to convene this year, our city council should postpone any Office of Community and Civic Life code change review until after our form of government is confirmed. If our city changes to a council/manager form of government with district-based representation, these council persons would be great single point of contacts to represent all voices within their borders, neighborhood associations, business districts, civic groups and community groups.
SETH WOOLLEY: The Neighborhood Association system exists to make people think they have meaningful local level decision making power. The commissioner systems ensures that Neighborhoods do not have meaningful power. Amending the code to remove their status from the code as the proposal desired doesn't actually change much. It would have taken away a few small tokens of power, and it would have also removed democratic accountability from them, too. Funding wouldn't necessarily go away, but it's unlikely it would have continued for long.
I would focus on reforming the commissioner system and improving regional, decentralized power. I would also ensure that the community connect partners are held to similarly high standards of inclusiveness. In fact, I'd work to ensure that neighborhoods are more inclusive by improving their access to technology for meetings so that young people with children at home have an easier time attending.
I would ensure they have systems that allow people to digitally participate in proposals without having attended meetings at specific times. There are already software packages that support these kinds of liquid democracy systems where people can collaborate and work on proposals together. We need to be training the associations on techniques to increase the diversity of their participants and boards. We can ensure boards have balance to match owner/rental ratios of their district using ballot quotas.
There are all sorts of potential areas for reform.
What are you really missing that you can’t do now because of shelter-in-place?
CHLOE EUDALY: Sharing meals, hugging my friends, and karaoke!
SAM ADAMS: Holding my Dad's hand at his memory care facility. He doesn't know who I am anymore, so he doesn't miss me, but I sure miss him.
MINGUS MAPPS: Portland Public Schools.
I am sheltering in place with my 9-year-old and 11-year-old boys. We have started home schooling. Today, I took the boys out for a run. Life has changed by staying home and going out only for short periods of time. Home schooling and video learning is challenging for all involved, but we are getting used to it. It has been difficult for my boys not to have interaction with their classmates in person and they have not played with other kids for a long time.
Most important is that we are doing fine and we are helping the overall health and wellbeing of our city, state and nation. This is a “teachable moment” for all of us. While it will leave a mark on our lives, I hope the largest will be a lesson that a sacrifice can benefit the greater good and society.
KEITH WILSON: My friends and the ability to campaign effectively. As a candidate with little name recognition but as one of the most experienced candidates running, it has limited the effectiveness of our community to see and compare my experience, education and ideas next to the other candidates. I am committed to completely relinquishing my business and dedicating my time to Portland, not because I have no other opportunity, but because we need proven leaders to address our challenges, not add to them.
Portland is an extraordinary city. I want to help face the problems, find the solutions and bring us into the future stronger than ever.
SETH WOOLLEY: I work from home so I'm not missing as much as most people. I do miss visiting my coworkers on a regular basis, which is what I used to do quite frequently.
I miss going outdoors as much, since we've been trying to avoid the popular exercise spots. I used to bike the Springwater Corridor every weekend all the way out to the Timber Pub in Boring. I haven't been able to do that in weeks because the trail is not wide enough to keep an adequate distance.
I am really starting to miss our restaurant scene. I've been in some major international cities and this is a foodie town of deserved repute.
On the bright side, the neighborhood streets are often great places to walk around, and I don't miss so much air pollution from the traffic that often plagued our streets.
The reduction in air pollution worldwide may save as many lives as the coronavirus kills according to some scientific estimates. To think that we were willing to spend trillions to save a few in an older demographic. Think about what it would be worth to save the lives of millions in future generations?
That is why I helped found Portland Clean Air -- to study, educate, and activate neighbors to act on their local and regional pollution issues and save lives by leveraging data and analysis. Public health matters, and I'm the only candidate who has worked on a number of public health campaigns to protect water and our agricultural system, as well as the public health of our government.