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Your call: Mayoral and City Council candidates question on their opponent

Mayoral and City Council candidates Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith, Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan take a shot at Street Roots’ questions for the future of Portland.

4. What do you fear most for the city if your opponent is elected?

Charlie Hales:  If my opponent is elected I would support him however I can to make all of our neighborhoods safe, livable and thriving. However, I’m concerned that the “us-versus-them” mindset that is part of being in the partisan atmosphere of the State Legislature is really counterproductive in city government, where you need to be able to bring divergent groups and points of view together and not only reach a decision, but then implement a plan to get things done.

Jefferson Smith: The status quo. For 20 years now, we’ve had a succession of people who really think the same. They have the same funders, the same political consultants and the same way of doing business. If we want to change the status quo, we have to elect someone who understands that Portland needs to see the big picture and that our entire city must benefit from the decisions made in Council chambers. For too long, we’ve neglected significant populations and significant parts of our city.

Amanda Fritz: I fear the citizens’ voice in City Hall would be replaced by the political insiders’ voice.  I also worry that needed systemic changes in caring for people with mental illnesses will not happen without my expertise and leadership on the City Council.

Portlanders know that whether they agree with my decisions or not, I consider and value their input.  I am not afraid to lead discussions on contentious issues like sidewalk management, houselessness and spending taxpayers’ money wisely. I read and responded to over 20,000 emails from community members in my first three years in office.  I limited campaign contributions to $50 per person in the primary and to $250 per person in the runoff. I don’t accept money from corporations, unions, political action committees, or any entity that is not an individual human being. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech.  Money in politics is a huge problem. My re-election would help buck that trend. If I lose, I doubt public campaign financing will return to Portland anytime soon, and that would mean the influence of Big Money in politics is here to stay.

I work well with other members of council and with the county board. I came from the community, I work hard to remain connected with all communities, and I serve all communities. I love interacting with Portlanders. I attended over 1,000 community events and spent quality time in all 95 neighborhoods in my first term. I believe Portlanders would be best served by re-electing me to continue listening to and advocating for all.

Mary Nolan: My opponent is genuinely and admirably committed to improving Portland and the opportunities available to Portlanders. She has a good heart and good intentions. As the issues you’ve raised in these important questions point out, though, too many Portlanders are at or near crisis point. They urgently need actions and results more than new studies or task forces. Among the big differences between me and my opponent is that I am focused on delivering results, improving outcomes and getting important things done in ways that families can see real benefits right now. I have been a progressive leader in expanding access to health care, improving education and expanding college scholarships, supporting minority-owned businesses and culturally competent training programs. And I have delivered big results. I want to continue that sense of urgency and my effective leadership as city commissioner, and I ask for your vote and your engagement in making Portland better.

Question 1: Police and mental health

Question 2: Joint-Terrorism Task Force, FBI

Question 3: Panhandling, sidewalk management, Right 2 Dream Too