PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ted Wheeler finds himself in a battle with Sarah Iannarone in the Portland mayoral race. Wheeler has taken a lot of heat as 5 months of protests put Portland in the national spotlight.

A poll commissioned by OPB shows 28% of voters are undecided on who they want as mayor. Policing, violence downtown, COVID and the explosion of homelessness are all really big issues in the city.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, October 19, 2020 (KOIN)

Wheeler said stopping the nightly violence is his top concern right now and in an interview with KOIN 6 News pointed to hundreds of arrests that have been made since the protests began.

“The ultimate answer to how you end this is crystal clear,” Wheeler said. “Those who do violence, you arrest them and then you hold them accountable.”

Wheeler said in the next week his office will have added 300 new homeless shelter beds to the city and said more help is on the way.

“Frankly we need more resources and those resources are on the way,” he told KOIN 6 News. “They already passed the housing fund…I think that will be good for us going forward.”

What Sarah Iannarone says

Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone said if elected she would appoint Jo Ann Hardesty to be the city’s next police commissioner.

Iannarone said Hardesty, who currently serves as the city’s Commissioner, would oversee police reform that would embrace community oversight of policing. She believes Wheeler has let the problems persist for too long.

“Everyone agrees we need to put an end to the nightly violence [so] we can get on track towards a peaceful acknowledgement of [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” she said in an exclusive interview with KOIN 6 News. “And, making sure we bring our city together to recognize the importance of racial justice. I don’t know how he could commit to ending the nightly violence because he actually hasn’t done it while he’s [been] mayor.”

Portland mayoral challenger Sarah Iannarone, October 19, 2020 (KOIN)

With Hardesty overseeing the Portland Police Bureau, Iannarone said she will have more time as mayor to work on public safety initiatives and have a stronger relationship with Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

“We need to know these times are going to be hard, but on the other side of this, we are going to come together,” she said. “We’re going to bring Portland back better than it‘s ever been before. We are going to do that by all of us coming together — it’s our special sauce if you ask me.”

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