Chloe Eudaly is running for commissioner position No. 4 on the Portland City Council. Here are her responses to Street Roots' 2016 general-election questionnaire. (Read other candidates' responses.)
1. What is your plan to end the trend of economic segregation and make housing affordable to all Portlanders?
Rent stabilization: More than 75,000 Portlanders live in households that are spending over 50 percent of their income on housing. If we cannot institute an emergency rent freeze, we must bring pressure to bear on the Legislature to give us back the regulatory tools we need to manage our housing crisis.
Investing in affordable housing: I support the Yes for Affordable Homes campaign as well as putting as many of our housing dollars toward permanent affordable housing as possible. We must treat affordable housing for extremely low-income households as part of our essential infrastructure. We have an obligation to provide for our most vulnerable and marginalized residents, and it makes good fiscal sense as well. We spend three to five times more serving people who are in crisis and homeless than we do serving them in supported housing.
Smart planning: A well-planned residential infill policy will help increase our housing supply and take pressure off of our rental market while allowing us to preserve many of our good old homes and maintain neighborhood character while increasing density.
Creative financing: I’d like to invite ordinary Portlanders to have a hand in solving our housing crisis. By enabling at least one homeowner on every residential block in the city to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), with special incentives for the creation of affordable units, we could add tens of thousands of units to our housing stock.
FURTHER READING: Chloe Eudaly takes Street Roots' pop quiz
2. Oversight of short-term rental operations such as Airbnb is abysmal and undermines housing affordability. What are you going to do to enforce current laws, and what laws do you want to see put in place to prevent abuses?
Before adding new laws, I’d like to see the city enforce the existing regulations and compel short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb, to be partners in enforcement rather than continuing to allow hosts to violate the rules we put in place to protect our housing stock and rental market. So-called “commercial” Airbnb units that are not owner occupied and are rented out year-round do the most damage to our housing inventory, which puts upward pressure on rents. This is where the city and these short-term rental companies need to focus their enforcement efforts.
3. We know you care about housing. But what other policy expertise would you bring to this job?
The expertise I bring is rooted in my lived experience. I’m a community activist who has worked on a variety of social, economic and environmental justice issues for over 25 years. I’ve been a small business owner since 1994. I have several years of nonprofit administration experience, including the co-founding of two nonprofit organizations. And I’ve been active in disability advocacy for over a decade.
I have a lot to contribute to many vital conversations Portland should be having right now. Our small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and our arts and culture community is essential to our very identity, yet I’ve seen the city do little to protect either from the tide of displacement sweeping the city. In fact, Portland is poised to continue displacing artists, makers, small businesses and nonprofits through upcoming zoning changes in our Comprehensive Plan.
I’ve also devoted a lot of effort to helping create a more accessible and inclusive city for people experiencing disabilities, but I’ve often felt thwarted when my work has intersected with city bureaucracies. When stakeholders are paid lip service but given no real power, we end up with policies that don’t serve anyone well.
I look forward to harnessing the incredible creativity, ingenuity and expertise that is already right here in our city to help tackle our most urgent issues and make Portland a more inclusive, equitable, prosperous, vibrant and just city for all of us.
4. By nearly every metric, people of color are overrepresented throughout the criminal justice system. What are you going to do to correct that?
This is a complex issue with no single answer, but a top priority must be repairing the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement. The issues of transparency and accountability have become a flashpoint in our city after multiple officer-involved fatalities, a process to address our Settlement Agreement with the DOJ that both the police and the community have lost faith in, and recent actions by our mayor and council. To that end, I strongly support Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org), a set of policy solutions and best practices developed by activists associated with Black Lives Matter aimed at “limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability.” Whatever course we take, communities of color must be meaningfully represented and involved in the crafting, implementation and oversight of these new policies.
I’m also a great admirer of the work of the Partnership for Safety and Justice, Unite Oregon and other advocacy organizations working from a “whole-system perspective.” Their work to improve public safety and reform our justice system runs the gamut from crime prevention to diversion programs, to ending racial profiling, to the Family Sentencing Alternative Pilot Program, to youth justice reform.
Finally, the city also has a big role to play in righting historic wrongs and creating economic opportunities for people of color through how we invest and spend our public dollars. I’ll be a strong advocate for implementing Community Benefits Agreements for all publicly funded projects to increase utilization rates of women and minority contractors.
5. In addition to the issues addressed above, what do you want to fix in the city?
Only seven women and two people of color have ever been elected to Portland City Council in its over-100-year history. Currently and historically, our council has vastly overrepresented a small and privileged segment of our population. The barriers to running for office in Portland are unnecessarily high, maintained by an entirely at-large system that entrenches incumbents and favors the politically connected and well-funded. In addition to being the eighth woman to ever be elected, I stand to be the only renter, the only small-business owner and the only Eastside resident on City Council. While that would represent some progress, it’s not enough. Portland clearly needs election reform and an overhaul to its current form of government. I support Commissioner Fritz’s Open and Accountable Elections initiative, and I’d like to begin a community dialogue about how we can make our city government better reflect and serve our community, whether that’s adding seats, creating district representation or implementing a proportional voting system. We cannot be an inclusive, equitable or just city without representation that reflects our whole community.
6. Why should people vote for you and not the other guy?
It’s not difficult to distinguish between me from the other guy. My opponent is a political insider who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign from many of the people, businesses and interest groups that are making Portland a tough place for the rest of us to live. From Potentially Responsible Parties in the Portland Harbor Superfund site, to wealthy developers that profit from doing business with the city at the expense of affordability and displacement, to a long list of political action committees with misleading names, while I have raised tens of thousands of dollars from everyday Portlanders. If elected, I’ll be headed to City Hall without any political baggage, beholden to no one but the people of Portland, and ready to listen, learn and work together with my colleagues and community to make Portland work for all of us.