PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ted Wheeler wants another term as Portland’s mayor. There are 16 other candidates who want to replace him.
If any one of the candidates gets one more vote than 50% in the May 19 primary, that candidate will be the city’s next mayor. If not, the top 2 votegetters will face off in November.
Besides Wheeler, those who filed to be Portland’s mayor are Sarah Iannarone, Ozzie Gonzalez, Teressa Raiford, Michael O’Callaghan (aka, Mike O’C), Bruce Broussard, Michael Burleson, Cash Blanco Carter, Willie Banks, Lew Humble, Floyd La Bar, Mark White, Michael Jenkins, Beryl McNair, Piper Crowell, Sharon Joy, Jarred Bepristis, Daniel Hoffman and Randy Rapaport. Two dropped out but still appear on the ballot.
KOIN 6 News spoke with 4 of the candidates — Ted Wheeler, Sarah Iannarone, Ozzie Gonzalez and Teressa Raiford — about key issues of housing and homelessness.
Ted Wheeler won his first term as Portland mayor in the 2016 primary when he bested the field and became the successor to Charlie Hales. He’s seeking his second term.
“I want to continue to build on the progress we’ve made, the community partnerships we’ve put into place and I want to help continue leading the city through the COVID crisis and into the recovery phase,” Wheeler said.
The mayor said his focus remains on permanent rather than temporary shelter for the homeless.
“If we want to get the homeless folks into more stable housing, we have to work with county and state partners to get them addiction treatment, mental health services and disability services.
These 3 challengers say it’s time for a change.
Sarah Iannarone is known as a small business owner, community organizer and urban policy consultant. She wants to establish organized homeless communities to help people get off the streets.
“We really need to be doubling down on the village model, making sure we are setting up opportunities for 15-20 people who have a shared background or concerns,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Maybe mothers escaping intimate partner violence or veterans or people with certain mental health issues that they can set up transitional housing, like tiny houses on church parking lots or open spaces.”
Ozzie Gonzalez is an architect and sustainability consultant who is on the TriMet board. He says a tax or bond measure to raise funds to help the homeless doesn’t work quick enough. He supports designated zones with the help of churches and neighborhood groups.
“I’m the only one saying, ‘Let’s make a standard for temporary emergency services,'” Gonzalez told KOIN 6 News. “In the first year we could have a network of sites we could point to where they would have lockers, showers, bathrooms, facilities and a referral system where all the community services that exist would have a point of contact.”
Teressa Raiford is the founder of Don’t Shoot Portland, a community organizer and a 4th-generation Portlander.
Raiford wants to take a closer look at how the Portland Housing Bureau is spending tens of millions of tax dollars on homelessness solutions. She thinks it could be better spent and she wants to slow down development and demolition.
“One of things I’m really interested is doing rehabilitation and restoration of some of the same communities that are being demolished, building partnerships with hotels and motels that are out here figuring out ways we can transition families into those spaces long term until we can get them into housing,” Raiford told KOIN 6 News.
The primary results will be released at 8 p.m. Tuesday. KOIN 6 News will have complete election night coverage on KOIN.com