My fellow Portlanders,
Four years ago, I declared my candidacy for mayor with an intent to make real, sustainable progress for all the people of Portland. I’ve focused on addressing the homelessness crisis, engaging with our neighborhoods and small businesses, improving equity and affordability, and making city government more transparent and accountable.
This year, we faced challenges that no one expected would come at us all at once. A deadly pandemic erupted around the world, wildfires raged throughout our state, and a long overdue reckoning on racial justice came to the forefront of every conversation, putting the spotlight on so many of the difficult questions and systemic issues that we need to address as a community.
The COVID-19 pandemic tore through cities large and small across the world this year, completely upending daily life. While the pandemic is far from over, I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a community.
Listening to our public health experts and supporting Portlanders struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we:
- Were among the first cities in the country to act, and engaged in immediate relief efforts to support local business that were impacted
- Supported local small businesses with grants and loans totaling over $20 million
- Distributed $17 million towards addressing homelessness, and an additional $37 million in housing stabilization and relief for both renters and local landowners
- Saved $75 million through careful financial management and coalition building with City employees and partners
One of my proudest moments as Mayor is the unity we have shown as a city in the face of hatred. To hear the voices of Portland’s faith community, civil rights leaders, businesses and unions, our Timbers and Blazers all join together with a clear message of inclusion and support against white supremacy is so necessary and so important. This is the kind of strength we can show when we join together and stand up for our values.
Addressing equity and inclusion in City Hall and throughout Portland, we:
- Put in place a progressive, 19-point Police Reform Action Plan to improve policing and police accountability in our city
- Supported new public safety programs like Portland Street Response, which sends an unarmed EMT and trained crisis worker to respond to non-emergency calls rather than an armed officer
- Addressed some of the biggest issues within the Portland Police Bureau, like de-escalation and bias training
- Created the PS3 (Public Safety Support Specialist) program, freeing up armed officers from responding to non-emergency calls
- Created PCCEP (Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing) to increase the accountability factor for the Police Bureau and the decisions we make in City Hall
- Established programs like Portland Means Progress that will enable local companies to create job and internship opportunities for underrepresented youth, increase purchasing from diverse businesses, and change their cultures to be more inclusive
In my first term, we took major steps to address some of Portland’s most pressing priorities. Houselessness remains a critical issue in our community and, while progress can feel slow, we have made important strides in helping families, veterans, and elderly Portlanders off the streets and into housing and services. Together, we have:
- More than doubled Portland’s shelter capacity and focused on creating a robust system of transitional housing
- Prevented over 7,000 high risk households from experiencing homelessness
- Helped more than 6,000 people off the streets and into transitional housing services
- Built over 800 units of affordable housing, and we are exceeding the goals of the 2016 housing bond
- Worked to pass both local and regional investments in affordable housing and shelter
The threat of the climate crisis has been a top priority of mine throughout my time in elected office. The wildfires that erupted throughout the region, and the ensuing dense smoke blocking out the sun for days demonstrate the seriousness and urgency of this threat. Over the past four years we’ve worked to make Portland an example for cities as we address climate pollution and livability:
- Committed to transition our city to 100% renewable energy by the year 2050
- Prevented the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland
- Limited Portland’s reliance on single-use plastics
- Joined the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge to tackle transportation and energy-related emissions
- Tackled livability issues alongside our business and nonprofit partners and created programs like Keep It Pretty, Rose City, aimed at bringing Portlanders together to keep our city clean
Portland, I’m ready to keep going, listening to you, learning from our shared experiences, and building on our record of progressive leadership.
For the last four years, I’ve realized a dream of serving this wonderful community in the state and the city that has always been my home. My heart, my focus, the issues that are the most important to me – they’re all right here.
Our work is not yet done, and we need steady leadership to get us there. We’re strongest when we work together as one vibrant, powerful, engaged community. There are many challenges we face. We are in the midst of a pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, racial justice reckoning, and facing the constantly growing effects of climate change. We have an incredible amount of work ahead, and need continued leadership now more than ever. So I’m here, and I’m ready to keep going for these next four years.
I hope you’ll join me.