OPB asked each of the candidates for position 2 of the Portland City Council to fill in questionnaires about their qualifications and positions on key issues. Here are some of their answers. Not all candidates responded. Some answers have been changed due to typographical errors and length.
The COVID-19 pandemic has closed construction. What are the specific steps that the city can take to prevent this crisis from aggravating the housing crisis?
Dan Ryan: Portland doesn't have enough affordable housing – and that's a failure of our current political leaders. Housing is another problem in which our citizens have broken the promises on the offer. We vote for affordable housing, but the units don't seem fast enough. Not enough units have been built for over two decades and the mathematics of supply and demand has triggered an increase in costs and we must now embrace demand with accessibility and convenience. I don't want Portland to be another San Francisco, with the rich and the poor and nothing in between and COVID-19 will make further disparities if we don't intervene.
BUILD: the units for which we have already paid the two real estate bonds. Stop allowing perfection to hinder the good and work with developers willing to build exclusive housing. The state eventually made it legal and then we allowed the purity of ideology to block the results. Time for action and common sense. Dense city policies and too many bureau signatures block the supply of multi-unit housing needed to cut the average cost. Building units that cost $ 400k won't get us out of this crisis. As a board member, I will lead the process, provide transparent data dashboards to make us responsible.
PROTECTIONS: Provide protections and financial support to help seniors who deserve to grow old on the spot after giving so much to our community, and parents with children who need stability for their children to have a successful educational experience.
Jack Kerfoot: Building permits in Portland had already plummeted before the COVID-19 pandemic due to the city's recent increases in terms of tariffs, costs and inefficient processes. I am aware of multiple homes where the new city rates and permitted costs have added more than $ 150,000 to the eventual cost of the home, which starts to make the housing crisis in Portland less mysterious. The construction industry is already looking for other cities next to Portland for future construction work. COVID-19 only makes this situation more serious, since it will cause additional months of delay and costs, making it even more imperative that the city stop overburdening our community with expensive delays and taxes for anyone building new homes.
As a commissioner, I will ask the mayor to nominate me to lead the Office of Development Services (BDS). As Commissioner for BDS, I will conduct a full review of the current authorization process in collaboration with the private sector (real estate, developers, construction, etc.) to shorten the authorization cycle time. I will also try to reduce authorization fees to encourage developers to continue building new affordable housing. I will also try to implement innovative tax programs to provide low-income housing and allow developers to maintain the necessary profit margins.
Tera Hurst: Many construction projects are still active. The City must work proactively to ensure that all contractors and subcontractors working at the moment are taking the CDC and OHA guidelines seriously and implementing all necessary social distance protocols. This is important for protecting workers and also for maintaining the confidence of the Governor so that he does not order a complete suspension of construction work.
I would like to contact the OR Building Council and State Construction Council, the Pacific NW Regional Carpenters Union, and other construction industry leaders to find out directly whether social spacing guidelines are achievable in the workplace, and also how their members manage these unique challenges. In addition, I will push to use the remaining funds from the 2016 real estate bond as quickly as possible.
I led the city's efforts to build Kenton Women's Village, a transition community that provides micro-housing for 14 homeless people in dormitories. Once elected, I will push on the site and build additional micro-housing units as soon as possible because we know they work, have won the success of neighbors in Kenton and will provide remote social shelter options for homeless people if there is a & Another wave of COVID-19.
Thirdly, I will campaign to support measure 26-210 and start planning now so that I can use those dollars as quickly and effectively as possible.
Sam Chase: The best way to avoid aggravating the housing crisis is to flatten the COVID-19 case curve as soon as possible so that our economy can safely reopen. At the same time, we must preserve the funding levels for current programs and services for those who are currently in need and stop evictions and foreclosures to prevent those who face housing insecurity from falling into homelessness.
Cynthia Castro: COVID-19 has only exacerbated the already existing systemic failures towards our most vulnerable populations. Any step taken by the City for post-pandemic recovery must be centered on racial justice and favoring vulnerable communities. We can't go back to work as usual. Of great concern to me are the financial debts accumulated during the pandemic due to the rent and / or remission of mortgages or government loans pending the Portlanders post-pandemic.
With the loss of jobs and income and the closure of businesses during the pandemic, this will create tension for Portlanders as they try to rebuild their lives and activities. In the immediate term, city, state and federal governments must provide more financial aid to the most vulnerable community members, including providing direct money in the hands of those who are not supported by the federal government, such as undocumented migrants documents.
In addition, the city of Portland must invest more resources to help Portland residents stay hosted. I support increasing short-term assistance for rental and home ownership programs. Urban and capital planning projects must include anti-displacement strategies as standard practice. Finally, we must reinvest in safety nets that have been eliminated over time and improve the systems and structures that have perpetuated inequalities. I support universal basic income.
Julia DeGraw: To get started, we need to keep people in their homes, which means finding ways to make sure renters can stay in their homes once the eviction moratorium is lifted. We need to strengthen the rental assistance program and make sure that renters who risk not being able to pay the rent receive the money they need to stay hosted. We must push the federal government to seek additional resources for normal people in the next two incentive packages as well.
As we get to the recovery phase where we can start building again, the City should encourage alternative housing concepts such as land funds, land banking and cooperatives that help create permanently affordable housing. In the medium term, when on-site hospitalization orders run out, I want us to encourage co-housing options where young people can be paired with empty nests looking for renters.
Finally, I would explore ways to accelerate housing construction, especially construction of affordable housing, once we are able to rebuild. With the Residential Infill Project online, we may have many new opportunities to build the denser, more affordable and fairer housing that our city needs. We should also push for more federal funds to have a regional real estate boom that is desperately needed to meet demand and contribute to economic recovery.
Aquiles Montas: provide assistance and supervision in the workplace to have adequate protections such as face masks, gloves, disinfectants, hand washing stations, a correct distance when not working side by side, during breaks, purchases, accidents.
Terry Parker: I don't see this construction stop happening in my neighborhood. A development of 88 units at market rates and a development of 112 units mostly studio apartments are proceeding at full speed. The possible need is for multiple nonprofit developers to come together.
Diana Gutman: Construction in the city of Portland hasn't stopped. As I answer this question from my stay in NE Portland, I hear the loud jingle, hum and beep of the constriction project taking place next door which started at 7 in the morning. The new construction development is for an additional residential complex, The Glisan Street Townhome apartments. I have been homeless for two years and even now I would not yet be able to afford to live in the Glisan Street Townhome apartments.
As we continue with the construction of housing units that are not within reach of Portlanders with zero to moderate income, I am concerned that we as a city are perpetuating the housing crisis. The real estate crisis in our city is not due to the lack of housing, but is the result of socio-economic disparity / discrimination and the construction of homes that are not convenient (most 1-bedroom and 1-bathroom apartments in Portland start from $ 1200 and does not include the first and last month rent plus a security deposit and any additional rental costs, eg "transfer fees" etc.). It is time to redefine the cost of living. With the COVID-19 pandemic at our fingertips, as a city we must evaluate the current construction projects underway in our city and the priorities of the project that will benefit our community now and establish long-term arrangements for the future.
Loretta Smith: I think we will need long-term economic assistance for workers who may not be able to return because of the impact that coronavirus will have on our local economy. I also believe that we will need long-term economic assistance especially for small businesses for at least 12-24 months, as the local economy will start to recover.
The fact is that even when this pandemic ends we will have a slow return to normal and this too will be redefined. We are a city of small businesses, entrepreneurs, workers and craftsmen. If we are not supporting workers and small businesses in a way that recognizes the real daily struggles they face, we will essentially lose the essence of what makes Portland the city we know and love.
Despite years of work, the homeless continue to haunt Portland. What is a specific step you would take in this effort?
Dan Ryan: We need to address the root causes of homeless people: cost of housing, loss of income, domestic violence, mental health and drug abuse. This problem is personal to me, I lost my third older brother to our streets 5 years ago (I'm the youngest 8 years old). As such, we need wraparound services that would have helped my brother, none of us could welcome him with his triple diagnosis. It is not surprising that the community has stepped up and supported what the government was too pleased to support.
First, we have a public health crisis on our streets and we have to protect people and remove people from the streets under tarpaulins and tents. We have to deal with these complex problems by breaking the status quo, bringing new people to the table and pulling people out of their silos. The current composite of Home for Everyone will not advance us. We need more people from the private sector, fewer people who receive money from the government and allow the leadership to be two tested executors who have a transactional interest. Too often, it is the same people at the same tables who make the same decisions that put us in this mess. Some of my opponents have been managing things here for many years – if you think they are doing a great job, support them. I do not. It is time for new leadership.
Jack Kerfoot: A recent report by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development said that homelessness in America increased by 2.7% from 2018 to 2019. However, homelessness in California and Oregon increased by 16 respectively, 4% and 9.7%. The homeless in Portland have steadily increased over the past four years. The economic impact of COVID-19 will definitely increase homelessness in Portland in 2020. There are solutions.
First, our city can take a leading role in coordinating nonprofit organizations and faith groups that work to help homeless people. There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations that work independently and are all competing for the same funds. Religious organizations (Christian, Jewish and Muslim) have started working together to improve the impact of their programs.
Second, our city needs to develop a strategic plan for our homeless people. This plan would examine which programs have proven to be successful across America and thus bring together the private and public sectors to implement a viable and sustainable plan. Ten years ago, the city of San Antonio brought together the private sector and charities to develop a strategic plan to help the homeless. The result was Haven for Hope, which is recognized as one of the best, if not the best, programs in America. The cost of Haven for Hope is a fraction of the cost of the Multnomah County homelessness program, which will be scheduled for the May 2020 vote.
Tera Hurst: In the office of Mayor Hales, I made sure that Kenton Women & # 39; s Village was on a path to be open and operational before I left the office. We need the resources to establish more successful efforts like this. This was an excellent example of government, business and neighborhood joining together to work on a solution. It is a model that many have pushed back and are now seeing that it is an effective and replicable model. The village is made up of 14 dormitories built and designed by Partners on the coalition of architects across the city of the Dwelling Initiative, housing advocates and homeless people. There is a common kitchen, showers in custom containers and a community garden. Residents receive case management to assist them in a transition to permanent housing plan. My priority is to open at least 10 other villages within the first year, if not sooner.
Sam Chase: My experience and dedication to this problem make me the best prepared candidate to face the housing and homeless crisis in Portland. As a subway adviser, I have successfully fought to approve the nation's first affordable housing construction measure. I drove affordable housing Now! Coalition, to reform Portland's urban renewal and build thousands of cheaper housing units without raising taxes. I know how to create support for major structural changes. I have learned what it takes to win major reforms and am ready to face Portland's biggest challenge.
As a Portland city councilor, I will promote investments in services that have a high success rate in helping people get out of the street and stay out of the homeless like case management, mental health support, addiction treatment , professional training and other services related to housing. Partnerships with health and service providers need to be expanded by investing in pilot projects and other programs that have the most proven results.
Cynthia Castro: I am proud that the city has exceeded the minimum wage of $ 15 per hour a few years ago, however, we must continue to adjust wages to keep up with inflation. COVID-19 has highlighted Portlanders' economic vulnerability. I support universal basic income for Portland so that members of our community have a safety net and begin to dismantle the root causes of poverty.
Julia DeGraw: The City used a pandemic to finally treat the housing crisis like a real crisis. Having said that, emergency funding from the federal government has certainly helped make it possible, and the incredible hard work and dedication of the city staff and community groups have led to an incredibly turnaround rapid construction of three camps across the city so that homeless people can be safely sheltered on the spot.
The energy, urgency and creativity that the city is currently drawing on from the coronavirus pandemic is the type of energy we need to continue carrying on the housing crisis. Since the pandemic will be with us at some level for some time, we will have to continue to understand how to deal with both problems simultaneously. I will simply end by reiterating that as long as there is no adequate housing (including support housing) for all Portlanders, we will have to find places to temporarily shelter people and provide them with sanitation, sanitation and food.
We must also put an end to inhuman sweeps and not make mere homelessness a crime. Using this new urgent energy to help people, I will push for the creation of small domestic villages where there are shared kitchens and bathrooms to help get high quality homes at affordable prices for individuals and families who currently live with housing insecurity or who they actually live on the streets. Kenton's Women Village is a good example of this type of accommodation.
Aquiles Montas: separating them from their problems. Mental-drug-alcohol-abused-financial to put them in specific temporary housing with roundabout services
Terry Parker: To begin with, the Residential Infill Project (RIP) as proposed must be rejected. The addition of density in the neighborhoods of single-family homes will aim to demolish the most convenient homes and eliminate the green courtyards that produce oxygen and remove the large trees that act as carbon offsets. New buildings almost always cost more. The greenest buildings are those already built. The RIP was never designed to make homes cheaper. The Portland Global Plan designates city centers, main corridors and proximity to transit centers as places to locate multi-family housing.
Within the floor, there is already enough land divided into zones for the multi-family family to meet Portland's need for further housing. Better Housing by Design Standards for multi-family developments requires an inclusive zoning, but affordable units must be identical to units with market rates. Requiring for-profit developers to build a separate number of affordable units proportional to the number of market-rate units that build or subsidize non-profit developers to do this would make more sense.
More non-profit developers are also needed to develop affordable pilot projects and identify any impacts if they are built near neighborhoods divided into housing areas. 59% of low-income people go to the workplace. Adequate off-street parking with charging connectivity for electric cars with all new residential developments is needed so that multiple streets don't become full-time car storage lots.
Diana Gutman: Homeless people are not a plague. Our city was built by colonial violence. Racial disparities and housing inequalities are the main cause of homelessness in our city. We have overcome the racist policies that have plagued our city in the past 20 years that we as a city have never faced as a whole. Fighting our homelessness crisis requires support from the Council.
Working with community partners and owners to create housing programs for our vulnerable communities, as well as working at the state level with legislators to establish concrete solutions. A rental assistance program is a quick and proven way to stabilize families under the weight of housing costs. Losing a rent can lead to eviction and even homelessness. Rental assistance is an investment in Portlanders with a great profit. Establishing a statewide rental assistance program would help ensure everyone has a safe and stable place to live and improve the economic security of families and their well-being. Everyone in Portland needs a place to call home. I will always support inclusive housing policies for the benefit of all.
Loretta Smith: We are not considering alternative accommodation for people who don't meet the chronically homeless definition of HUD. I think we are closer to the right combination of strategies than we have ever been before, but we have to be bolder, more creative if we want to move the ball in the right direction. If we can understand how to put an end to inequalities for the most deprived of voting rights in our city, often colored communities and individuals and families in deep poverty, then we can create a strong ecosystem that works for everyone.
What steps should the city take now to avoid drastic budget cuts if the pandemic causes a major economic downturn?
Dan Ryan: shared sacrifice as we kindly strive to survive as the goal is Portlanders. Revenue is falling daily and we need to be open to public and private partnerships to make sure we support a certain currency flow, even if it is much lower. Eliminate many intermediate and non-essential positions and reuse them with our nonprofit partners or jobless private partners with the skills needed to provide food and accommodation. The rationalization of county and city offices and services has been a vision of many who have left the government for years.
Now is the time to make radical common sense reforms that lacked political will before there was a crisis that will force us to act to survive. We must all live with less, live simply and take care of each other. Support a foundation so that our companies can return enough infrastructure to quickly return revenue streams to our most efficient and most resident services on the other side.
Jack Kerfoot: COVID-19 is a global pandemic, which has virtually closed all non-essential operations around the world. It is a virtual certainty that the whole world will suffer a severe economic downturn. How long will the economic recession last? Given that there are many unknowns about the characteristics of this virus and there is no vaccine, I think it is highly likely that there will be significant economic disruptions for years.
It is essential that our city council is prepared for a range of economic scenarios. The economic downturn will result in significantly greater job losses, closures of small and large businesses, a continued increase in homelessness and a drastic reduction in city revenues. The city can no longer continue to raise taxes and treat businesses like an ATM.
The city council must take the following actions:
a. Develop a classified list of priority expenditure b. Develop a series of budgets for different economic results c. Implement rigorous cost control measures to eliminate tax waste and mismanagement. d. Implement a hiring freeze for non-essential staff. is. Collaborate with the business sector to find solutions to reinvigorate Portland's economy. f. Actively recruit new businesses to start operations in Portland.
The city council must work closely with the economic sector to mitigate the devastation of the economic crisis which is inevitable. The city government must also learn to stop unnecessary spending and become fiscally responsible.
Tera Hurst: The city is in good financial health right now with reserves of general funds built to respond to crises. Since I had the opportunity to work closely with our city budget office during the Hales administration, I am confident in the city budget office's ability to outline several scenarios that will help us. to navigate in this incredibly difficult financial time.
There are many steps we can and must take to make sure that we are preparing the city for a less dramatic recession, looking at the overhead that can be cut now, including the steps the city has taken this week to give birth to workers and consider a credit line. These are difficult times and we have to make difficult decisions. We must also push the state and federal delegation to act swiftly to get more dollars to Portland. This answer will be the biggest answer of our life and we must learn from the previous answers. Last time we fell into a big recession, the government focused on banks; this time we have to put our resources into people.
Sam Chase: the city should consider possible efficiency measures that preserve jobs and programs while preserving resources, in this way we can maintain services with lower budgets. But we must also look for ways to generate more revenue that do not entail additional financial burdens for working families and small businesses.
Cynthia Castro: This week, the City's Chief Administrative Officer announced a mandatory 10-day period for all unrepresented employees, along with ongoing discussions with the unions. Since the main cost of the city is personnel, these types of measures are inevitable to prevent job losses along the way.
The city should continue to search for offices to determine where there may be opportunities for further slashing positions. Often these cuts occur from the bottom to the top, eliminating part-time, temporary or seasonal employees. I think the Municipality should also have offices and commissioners also focused on the management teams. Our highest paid employees cost us more.
In some cases, combining teams or removing unnecessary management levels could result in significant savings. Finally, the city should also look at the big home-work experiment and see how this could create cost savings from not taking up so much physical space in the downtown buildings. This could save the city millions of dollars in property savings and reduce traffic and traffic congestion, with a greater impact on the climate.
Julia DeGraw: Overall, I think the city's budget process is opaque and does not adequately represent Portland values. For example, the city's last budget cycle was brutal, and that was when the revenue was normal. We have seen huge cuts in the Parks and Recreation department and there has been real resistance to exploring alternatives to those cuts.
The plan was to keep this upcoming budget stable, but now the city is anticipating a $ 40- $ 100 million drop in the overall budget due to the coronavirus. There will be federal emergency funds, but there is no doubt that the next budget cycle will be fraught with extremely difficult choices. As far as possible, the City Council should use federal emergency funds and its own emergency funds to help keep people in their homes and small businesses afloat during this crisis.
Within the city government, I want the City to maintain existing staffing levels in the best possible way and find creative ways to make up for staff budget shortages, particularly in areas of the program that are largely funded by commissions and / or ticket sales, such as exploring better relationships between staff and management to ensure that there is money to pay workers. Se la città deve far conoscere dipendenti e dirigenti, il modo in cui i furti vengono distribuiti dovrebbe essere equo, il che significa che coloro che ottengono il minimo dovrebbero avere il minor numero di giorni di furlough, mentre i congelamenti sugli aumenti e le promozioni di merito dovrebbero essere istituiti solo se si vuole garantire un minor numero di licenziamenti.
Aquiles Montas: esaminare fondi e progetti futuri che possono essere ritardati e utilizzati come fondi di emergenza per evitare tagli. Scopri come trovare pagamenti in eccesso, negoziare contratti.
Terry Parker: oltre a richiedere ai dipendenti non sindacali della città di prendersi del tempo libero non retribuito e di negoziare con i sindacati per qualcosa di simile per i dipendenti rappresentati; il consiglio comunale deve dichiarare un'emergenza in base alla quale le spese di sviluppo del sistema pagate dagli sviluppatori possono essere utilizzate per la manutenzione, come nei parchi e per la riparazione delle strade, anziché essere utilizzate solo per aumenti di capacità.
Alla PBOT, i progetti, come lo sviluppo di infrastrutture per biciclette e la creazione di corsie riservate agli autobus, devono essere sospesi e chiusi. Se i progetti devono andare avanti dopo il miglioramento dell'economia, deve aver luogo una rivalutazione totale che includa la partecipazione degli automobilisti. Per far fronte all'equità, i finanziamenti per queste esigenze dei progetti provengono dalle persone che utilizzano i modi di trasporto alternativi e non dalle tasse e dalle tasse pagate dall'automobilista.
Diana Gutman: Con l'epidemia di COVID-19, la nostra città ha dovuto agire in fretta. Non abbiamo avuto il tempo di aspettare una politica di permanenza in mandato del nostro Governatore. Mi ha fatto piacere vedere la città di Portland prendere una posizione per garantire la sicurezza di tutti. La nostra città ha emanato una moratoria temporanea sugli sfratti e questo è qualcosa con cui sono d'accordo. COVID-19 sta paralizzando l'economia a Portland e in tutto il mondo. Con le imprese chiuse e il picco delle richieste di disoccupazione dobbiamo iniziare a pensare agli effetti a lungo termine.
Come ho affermato prima in risposta alla domanda n. 1, abbiamo appreso che tutti gli sfratti erano evitabili; i senzatetto potevano essere ospitati e riparati in edifici governativi; l'acqua e l'elettricità non dovevano essere spente per le persone in ritardo sulle bollette; e altro ancora Quando stabiliamo disposizioni e politiche per aiutare le nostre comunità, è fondamentale pensare agli impatti a lungo termine di queste politiche che abbiamo messo in atto. Stiamo imparando che gli standard rigidi che ci siamo prefissati come città possono essere cambiati, modificati o completamente sostituiti; creando una città più inclusiva per tutti. Come Commissario comunale userò la mia voce e continuerò a spingere per politiche inclusive e per difendere la nostra città e questi cambiamenti a livello statale.
Loretta Smith: nessun nuovo programma nel budget. Taglia COLA e blocca l'assunzione.
Qual è una cosa che vuoi garantire sia nel nuovo contratto con l'ufficio di polizia di Portland?
Dan Ryan: apprendimento continuo sulle pratiche informate sul trauma. Vedo gli ufficiali di polizia come assistenti sociali di prima linea. Dobbiamo costruire ponti tra la polizia e le organizzazioni che servono i nostri più vulnerabili. La polizia è in prima linea per espellere la violenza e devono essere esperti per portare a termine un lavoro così impegnativo.
Jack Kerfoot: Nella mia campagna di sensibilizzazione, ho costantemente sentito un forte sostegno in tutti i settori della città per il programma di polizia della comunità del Portland Police Bureau (PPB). PPB ha attualmente oltre 100 posti vacanti nel dipartimento, il che limita drasticamente i turni disponibili per le attività di polizia della comunità, che potrebbero essere normalmente turni che servono a costruire il morale anche per i nostri agenti di polizia. Questi posti vacanti stanno ostacolando l'efficacia della nostra forza di polizia, rendendoci meno sicuri. Una polizia efficace e responsabile è una pietra miliare per la qualità della vita nella nostra comunità.
Se Portland intende assumere i migliori e più brillanti per riempire i posti vacanti attuali e futuri in PPB, è essenziale che il prossimo contratto di polizia fornisca incentivi per reclutare e trattenere i migliori candidati di polizia di tutto il paese. Portland ha un ampio spazio per crescere diventando una comunità in grado di attrarre e conservare il meglio e il più brillante. We need a comprehensive review of the PPB’s “discipline guide,” which establishes levels of discipline of various offenses.
I have ridden along in a patrol car with officers on duty, once each in the Central and North Precincts. The experiences provided me the opportunity to see the challenges our police face and to listen to the men and women who protect and serve. They really do serve “on the front lines,” sometimes in situations where a social worker and a paramedic might be more appropriate first responders, but often putting their lives on the line.
Sam Chase: We simply cannot stand down where racism, abuse, and criminal behavior exist. We cannot simply throw our hands up and say that it’s only in the hands of the Multnomah County DA and a grand jury. The first step toward better outcomes for our community is a better contract with the Portland Police Association. The City is currently in negotiations with the PPA, and the City needs to draw a line in the sand around discipline and professional standards. We also need to make sure that our officers are receiving the best training available and that PPB’s command staff, Professional Standards Division, and Training Division are communicating with and responding to the needs of all the diverse communities in our city.
And we need to increase the role of public oversight, especially the Citizen Review Commission, in reviewing cases and recommending disciplinary action, including recommendations made directly to Chief Resch and City Council. I will look for the strongest systems of oversight that citizens and Portland electeds can have. Moreover, I will stand up Street Response to be available throughout the city. As the Executive Director for the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, I am a longtime advocate for medical, peer, and social workers as first responders where mental health or substance use may be a strong factor. The responders are much more successful on a case by case basis and develop excellent partnerships with police that improve success and decrease misconduct.
Cynthia Castro: Portland’s police union contract has several provisions that are problematic, including a discipline system that makes an arbitrator the final decision maker on police discipline; this undermines the chief’s ability to hold officers accountable. Policies also limit civilian oversight of police misconduct. One of the responsibilities of the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) is to hear appeals from community members on Portland police findings on officer misconduct complaints. CRC members, who are volunteers, have pressed for changes to improve their oversight capabilities with some questioning what authority they actually have to make an impact under the current system.
As City Commissioner, I would be on Council during police union contract renegotiations. This would be an opportunity I would use to address structural and contractual issues that would lead to better police accountability, improve community trust while supporting our police force.
Julia DeGraw: We need a community-centered contract that takes a holistic approach to increase accountability and help rebuild trust with Portland communities. This means increasing meaningful community oversight, including in cases of deadly force. I would also support better deescalation training for Portland Police and enhanced consequences for not following best practices in cases of excessive force.
Additionally, I would support a wellness program that helps make sure that our officers are mentally stable. PTSD, depression, and anger management issues are all not uncommon on the force, and officers need better access to help if they need it. I support lowering overtime work, especially for outside companies like Apple stores, and would support efforts to hire officers who live in Portland, as well as to streamline the hiring process so the Police Bureau can do better at competitively hiring good officers.
Aquiles Montas: Police accountability policies
Terry Parker: Transparency!
Diana Gutman: This is more than a one-note answer. The proven bias toward minorities and people of color is a troubling trend. In Portland, every time a police chief or mayor has decided to discipline or fire an officer for inappropriate use of deadly force or misconduct, the Portland Police Association (PPA) has the right to challenge the decision, resulting in sending the matter to arbitration.
This method does not work for our city and undermines the chief and police department’s ability to hold officers accountable when they kill or injure members of the public. I am in full support of SB1567A, this proposed legislation will restrict arbitration and close a legal loophole that prevents the firing of officers who gravely injure or kill members of the public. It’s an uphill battle that’s worth the fight to rebuild public trust in the Portland Police Bureau and its ability to discipline and hold officers accountable when misconduct occurs. As an indigenous woman and your prospective commissioner, I support implementing and amending policies to be inclusive. Public safety is a community effort, we must advocate for members in our community who are being subjected to discrimination and racial profiling.
Loretta Smith: The one policy change I would advocate for would be for Portland Police Officers to be required to live in the City of Portland. I don’t believe we can be serious about community policing without requiring the members of our law enforcement are actually members of our community. We need to get back to a time when the people who were protecting and serving our community worked, lived, and played right alongside us.
Despite the city’s efforts on Vision Zero, people keep dying on Portland streets. Why are we failing?
Dan Ryan: Vision Zero is yet another example of Portland adopting a high-blown promise in a policy, but then not implementing with creativity, inclusion and transparency to actually fulfill the lofty promises. I support this policy, who doesn’t, but I am not satisfied with implementation, clearly the current mid-term grade is an F.
What are the North Star metrics that we can all agree on? Zero deaths to start. Then build a table of passionate level-headed advocates for transportation. People from the biking, trucking, transit and business community working together to pick sub-indicators metrics. Further break the metrics down using an equity lens. Build a diverse cross-sector table that is committed to six years to provide shared responsibility, accountability and credit.
We need a better government and I have experience orchestrating the necessary herding of the cats. PBOT certainly has the right ideas about design and infrastructure – those are two important ingredients for safety, but they’re not the only ones. Along with design and infrastructure, we need more education and enforcement, and for that, you have to go beyond PBOT and insist that police make ending traffic deaths and injuries, a critical priority.
Jack Kerfoot: In June 2015, the Portland City Council adopted Vision Zero, a plan to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on our city. Since the launch of Vision Zero, Portland Department of Transportation has spent over $100 million on crosswalks, flex bike lane wands, flashing beacons, lower speed limits, etc. to improve safety on our city streets. Yet traffic fatalities have continued to climb and in 2019, Portland had 49 traffic deaths, the most since 1997!
Why isn’t Vision Zero working? A major reason is Portland’s drivers! In October 2019, Quote Wizard released their annual ranking of cities that have the worst drivers in America. The Quote Wizard’s study showed that Portland had the worst drivers on a per capita basis of the 75 largest cities in America. Allstate Insurance released a similar study and ranked Portland 190th out of 200 cities on their list of “Best Driving Cities.”
What about the police? The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is significantly understaffed and are unable to patrol all the streets and highways across the entire city, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. La soluzione? Provide PPB the resources to install traffic enforcement cameras. International studies have shown that traffic enforcement cameras have resulted in reductions of 11% to 44% for traffic fatalities. Traffic cameras could save 5 to 20 lives a year. Portland, we need safe streets.
Tera Hurst: Walking home from the gym on a rainy night in January, I got hit by a car that was turning on to SE 12th from Belmont. The impact threw me across the street. It was terrifying for both me and the driver. We were both lucky that I was able to walk away with only a few bruises and bumps. It was poorly lit and could have been avoided with better lighting. There is a lot of work to do in our high crash corridors. We need to prioritize funding for safety improvements and ensure we are moving quickly on accomplishing the goals and plans for vision zero. We should look to other cities like Boston who have had successes in their implementation.
Cynthia Castro: The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero was an ambitious plan to get more people out of cars, slow cars on the road down, and design streets with safety improvements. Since Vision Zero was funded and began implementation, Portland has spent tens of millions of dollars, yet traffic fatalities continue to increase.
There are many factors creating the inability to get closer to zero. Portland continues to be more congested. We have more people. This means more people driving, walking, and biking, etc. We also have a severe shortage of police officers. This means the traffic enforcement team, much like all other Police units are understaffed, so we aren’t catching or arresting DUII drivers before they hit somebody or kill themselves. We also have a vast number of streets across the City, but especially in the outer east, with poor lighting and lack of crosswalks. All of these issues create barriers to the City actually reducing traffic fatalities.
Julia DeGraw: I think there are several factors that hinder road safety and contribute to traffic fatalities. Better enforcement is essential to making roads safer. I’m committed to finding funding to increase staffing to help with this enforcement. I appreciate PBOT’s efforts so far, including its public awareness campaigns on roads that have a particularly high rate of accidents, but it is troubling that, despite these efforts, traffic fatalities were up in 2019 over prior years. Living east of 82nd Ave., I know that the City needs to invest in the basics: sidewalks, streetlights, and paved roads.
When roads like 82nd Ave. get improved, it needs to be with transit, pedestrians, and cyclists in mind, not solely on single-occupancy vehicles. Relatedly, I want to dramatically expand the public transit system and increase ridership on it, which is not only good for road safety by taking cars off the road, but it also improves traffic and is essential to achieving our climate goals. Moving forward, we must find funding for projects that improve roads, and we need to focus on remaking thoroughfares so that they’re designed for multi-modal use and are aesthetically beautiful, safe for pedestrians and cyclists, full of reliable safe transit, and not designed primarily for cars.
Aquilas Montas: Because they have failed to build sidewalks, add street lighting, adding crosswalks with signals especially in the SE neighborhood streets. Lowering the speed by 5 miles did not make the problem go away. Also, they need to include to teach pedestrians and bikers to be aware of cars and have reflective colors at night.
Terry Parker: Vision Zero is an inequity. It only targets drivers while failing to bring the faults of other modes of travel into focus: pedestrians stepping off the curb without looking both ways, jaywalking and/or ignoring walk signals, and bicyclists being treated like royalty while continually flaunting traffic laws. I will push for equal enforcement of all modes.
Diana Gutman: In December 2019, 49 people died in Portland traffic deaths. Portland City Council passed a resolution adopting Vision Zero in June 2015. The Vision Zero program aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on Portland streets by 2025. This is a multifaceted problem. Unfortunately, we are not on track for achieving our Vision Zero goal. One of the steps has been to bring awareness to Metro staff by providing monthly fatal crash updates to key policy advisory committees. As Commissioner I would help facilitate work sessions and review the monthly updates. I believe that education is key and the guidance and feedback from neighborhood and community partners is vital in addressing this urgent issue and prioritizing the high impacted areas.
Loretta Smith: We are not calling these fatalities a public health crisis. In 2014 as a County Commissioner, I called for Multnomah County to identify pedestrian-related fatalities as a public health epidemic in our community. Six years later no new funds were secured to make sure we have protected bike lanes, bus islands, and other tools that allow us to prevent person-to-vehicle contact. I will revive that conversation as a City Commissioner.