February 26th Portland Mayoral Debate (FULL)

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Air date: 
Wed, 02/26/2020 - 5:15pm

 

Early Wednesday morning, three mayoral candidates gathered in a debate hosted by the Columbia Corridor Association. Incumbent mayor Ted Wheeler, and challengers Sarah Iannarone and Ozzie Gonzalez were in attendance. Below are timestamps, and a transcript of the event.

Timestamps: 

Affordable Housing 1:10

Homelessness 9:28

Jobs and Wages 16:52

Transportation and Infrastructure 31:15

Mutual Admiration 38:44

Commission Government Structure 41:40

Closing Statements 54:06

 

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Audio Transcript

Corky Collier  0:00  
Alright, let's get this rolling. Our candidates this morning include an architect and sometimes actor and dancer, believe it or not, Ozzie Gonzalez, Ozzie, please come on up. Urban Policy consultant and former cafe owner Sarah Iannarone. Sarah, come on up and join us. Current mayor and Polar Plunge swimmer Ted Wheeler, Ted, please join us. And has Terresa arrived yet? Teressa? No? Teressa is the executive director at Don't Shoot Portland and a former CEO and business manager. I think she's parking so when she gets here, she- we'll just have her join the crowd. So let me start you guys off with something easy. Ted question for you, is-- Do you realize the scientists have found out that each Polar Plunge kills 10 million brain cells. No, no, that's that's not our question.

Ted Wheeler  1:04  
As long as you're not asking me to dance, Corky, I'm good.

Corky Collier  1:08  
No, we're reserving that for Ozzie. No, the easy question for you has to do with housing and homelessness. So there have been several new taxes designed to improve funding for housing and homeless. In 2016, $256 million in the Portland Housing Bond measure in 2018 $652 million for the Metro bond measure for affordable housing. And now we have a new $250 million Metro bond measure going to the ballot for homeless services with a lot of support from business groups. But let's keep this in perspective. According to Lynn Peterson at a CCA breakfast forum last year, the $652 million property tax will only achieve about 10% of what we need. You got Northwest, said the two new $250 million dollar bond measure going to the ballot in May is insufficient to reach 10s of thousands at risk. So my question is, and I think we're going to start off with Ted on this because you've been on point for a while, is, we know that we haven't yet raised enough money. I mean, this- these are all great by measures. They're all great programs. We know it's not enough. How do we know how much we need?

Ted Wheeler  2:18  
So the question of how much we need is one I'm going to leave to the economists. I can't tell you how many exactly we need. I know how many units of housing, workforce and affordable housing is described as needed. And it's about 30,000 units that we don't currently have. But the problem is much bigger than housing. And so I want to take a step back and talk to you about what we've done over the last three years. We have built the appropriate partnerships and collaborations not only with other governments like the Multnomah County government, where we have a joint Office of homeless services, but also working with the private sector with labor unions with the philanthropic and religious communities and of course, a multitude of service providers throughout the region. So we've got the right partnerships. We focused on the right strategies. We know that when we invest in prevention to keep people in their homes, especially those who are identified of being at the greatest risk of falling into homelessness, that's effective. Last year, about 7000 people receive those services, people at high risk of becoming homeless. We've doubled our shelter capacity in the last four or five years. We've changed the way we provide services. We know that the fastest growing segment of homeless in our community are the unsheltered homeless. And almost all of the growth in the unsheltered population are chronically homeless. These are people who've been on the streets the longest, and they're people with coexisting conditions other than a lack of housing. They also have substance abuse issues, mental health issues or other issues. And we have focused on that population. So we have the two the navigation centers, the navigation teams, this latest measure for Metro will provide the services, the mental health and addiction services and job training services to help people be successful in the housing that we are creating both in the public sector and in the private sector.

Corky Collier  4:18  
Sarah, do you have an idea of when we'll know that we have enough or who do we turn to to find out how much we need? I mean, when I start a project, I start with a budget. Yeah, I started by saying, How much do I need for this project to come to fruition? Shouldn't we be doing that in this case?

Sarah Iannarone  4:38  
Yes, actually, Corky, thank you very much for that. And thank you to all of you for being here for breakfast to talk civics. Anytime we come together at this time of day to talk politics. I give you a round of applause for being here. And thanks to our hosts, Parametrics and Columbia Corridor Association. I've released a comprehensive housing plan on my website. You can find it at Sarah2020.com/housing. And my claim there is this: that my planning background and my expertise with Portland's city bureaus. This deep working knowledge that I have of how things are going or not, is going to be asset in the challenges that we face. In 2015, then Mayor Charlie Hales declared a housing state of emergency. We've not since seen a strategic plan that tells us how much stock do we need for every level of people at the income spectrum in our community, we know that there's a lot of housing being brought on line for people earning 300% of the median family income, but we don't really have a good sense of how we're going to leverage our resources in a meaningful way over a short term, three to five year period to address needs at every level of the income spectrum. We also have a lot of red tape in the city that's costing the people who bring housing online, a lot more money than it needs to be. We need to streamline our development processes. We need to think about how we can make it more cost effective on the front end that we can then do meaningful value capture for the luxury housing,  market-rate housing on the back end, and also be thinking in terms of innovation. So where are the rethinkings of city code where we can look at those unused pieces of land that we haven't thought about before? Where is that inventory? How can we really partner effectively across the city even- and across the region to understand what is Portland's share of the burden here? Right, we need to make sure that our neighbors around the region are doing their fair share in this Gresham, Beaverton, etc. The cost of more laissez faire approaches are staggering for us. We're not even keeping up and at this critical time, barely keeping up is falling critically behind. So we need to take a more task force strategic short term look at those supplies, Corky and thanks for that question.

Corky Collier  6:48  
Ozzie I'm going to shift a little bit on this, feel- feel free to talk about budgeting but I want to talk a little more specifically, we've got an audience question here, talking about inclusionary zoning and 2017. Since then, essentially no market rate apartment development proposals have been advanced. What will you do to boost market rate apartment construction or just more generally, what can we do to lower the cost of housing not only for low income for- individuals, but for middle income, family income individual as well?

Ozzie Gonzalez  7:20  
I think the same answer can apply to both how we're going to get enough money for homelessness services, as well as how we're going to reduce the cost of housing. And I think it means in this- in the same vein, we have to look at all the tools we have available to us. And I'll tell you so far, the government programs for homeless services for mental health services for affordable housing programs have not demonstrated their ability to outperform the private sector market trying to do things on their own. There's a lot of opportunities out there of people willing to build homes, willing to address Homeless Services willing to provide mental health services. And by and large, there's people out there putting forward their own time and their energy to do this. So what I'd say is that we're going to know we're finished with things like homeless services, or affordable housing programs. When we know that everybody that has a job here in Portland, Oregon has a place to live inside of Portland, Oregon, if they so choose. And that means that an organization like this, a hotel, with all the different staff composition that makes it up, has a good answer for where people live. If they want to live in Portland, that they have an opportunity at a price point that they can meet. The affordable housing conversation is a fantastic one to have. But let's be real. It's only covering the housing needs of a very narrow bandwidth of people out there in our community. It doesn't cover low income, and it doesn't cover middle income. There's people out there building affordable housing projects that make too much money to qualify for the affordable housing project. There's people out there building affordable housing projects that don't make enough to qualify for the affordable housing program. So there's a lot of opportunity to bring the lessons learned from the private sector community from folks that have had to operate in the real world that have had to run businesses and learn how to stretch $1 and make it effective to bring that partnership forward. And what I'm saying is that not all of this has to be a tax or a bond measure or a government program. The kind of partnerships my colleagues are talking about are the kinds of partnerships that really leverage the lessons learned from people outside of the community, willing to put time, talent, money, land and resource forward.

Corky Collier  9:27  
I'm going to stay on the homeless topic for just another minute, mainly because we had essentially the same question four years ago at the mayoral candidates debate. And it's still coming up, of course, it's somebody asked the homeless camps that have literally taken over the central eastside business district who's here from Central EastSide wait a minute, this is the Columbia Corridor Association. Alright. So basically, homeless camps are taken over, you know, everywhere really, and granted, I think they're better than they were four years ago, but there's still a big problem and it's a problem for new and existing businesses. It's a big challenge and it's very frustrating for every small business owner. What one of your plans what- what one are your plans will address this? Sarah, can we start with you?

Sarah Iannarone  10:14  
Sure. Happy to and thank you. My offices are actually in the Central Eastside they overlook the train tracks and I'm watching as our Portland Police are out there sweeping the homeless with our tax dollars in a very effective inhumane way every single day. I would actually disagree with you that it's gotten better over the last four years Corky I don't like to see us wasting 22 and a half million dollars on no bid contracts to people who are doing sweeps of the homeless when we could be spending that money on services. I also don't like to see the police hours that we're putting into this because again, we need police solving crimes, not dealing with people who are experiencing homelessness and then tipping them into the criminal justice system which we know costs us a lot more in tax dollars. Under the previous mayor. We did have some efforts to legalize camping in meaningful ways. I think we need to make sure that people are able to stay in their automobiles. Because when you think about especially a woman with her children who's experiencing homelessness, the ability to get inside and lock those doors and keep you safe from the elements and harm is very important. I also have included my policies with regard to homelessness in my public safety for all plan. So I'm thinking about how are we keeping people in our streets safe? The housing question is one thing, but making sure that people who are experiencing homelessness are safe while they are unhoused is critical. And you can find that there's a Public- it's called 'Rethinking Public Safety' on my website. We need to look critically at what we're spending and where we need to deal with the mental health crisis on our street. We need to make sure that we're not criminalizing people unnecessarily. And we need to make sure that we're not wasting precious money that can be spent on housing and services sweeping the homeless.

Corky Collier  11:52  
Ted, I think you're keyed up for... perhaps a little bit of rebuttal there.

Ted Wheeler  11:59  
I don't want to blow my whole two minutes on rebuttal, I'll just talk about what we're actually doing, which is substantially different than- than what you may actually be hearing. We do have good partnerships in place. Homelessness is obviously the top priority of my administration. It's what I do morning, noon, and night. I'm very proud of what our collective has achieved. It's not just me as mayor, it's not just the mayor's office. It's not even just the city. It's the partnership. Last year 7000 people received preventative services. We moved 6000 people off the streets, 8000 people were able to participate in our expanded shelter system. We've made a huge commitment to supportive housing, so connecting the housing with services like mental health or addiction services. So the most chronically homeless will be successful in that housing when we put them there. We know that that is the model that works. It's shown success, and I disagree with those who say the strategy should be to ensure that people are able to camp on the streets. That is not a humane or effective approach to ending homelessness. The way you end homelessness is you connect people to whatever services they need to help them get off the streets, out of the elements, out of an unsafe environment, and into housing, with the support and services where they can be successful. That's what our collective, the city, the county, the service providers, our faith community, our business community, we've already agreed that that is the strategy we want to support because the numbers show it works. Now what we need to do is scale it appropriately. And we're doing that, of course, we're also doing affordable housing, the housing bond you passed I'm responsible for implementing it in the Housing Bureau. It's ahead of schedule, we've delivered more than promised, we'll do the same at the regional level with the Metro Housing Bond. And we've also worked to do more opportunities for development of a wide variety of housing through the residential infill program and the better housing by design and the 2035 Central City plan. So we're coming at it from all angles and we're succeeding.

Corky Collier  14:13  
Go ahead, Ozzie, go.

Ozzie Gonzalez  14:13  
Thank you. Bravo, Ted, that's fantastic. I wish you would have said all of this stuff four years ago, though, it's been three years in the making between, 'we've got to put a roof over everybody's head' to 'this is an issue much more than just housing.' And we've seen the ramifications of that learning process outside in the city. I think it's true: Leaving people outside camping is not the version of compassion we should be going for. And unlike Sarah, who wants to create a moratorium on sweeps, I'm actually looking for an intervention centered approach that really looks at lifting people up. I've walked past people on the sidewalk that I recognize, that are family members, okay? And I've seen how much they struggle in and out of the house of my family members' home. They live in the backyard trailer. Once a month, between getting pulled off a sidewalk and taken into a cell to be cleaned up, they go into rehab. And just a few weeks later, I find them on the sidewalk. If that person didn't get picked up every once in a while, I'm afraid they're going to do themselves in one of these days. And there's people outside doing that right now before our eyes. There's people desecrating public space, there's people out there desecrating their own selves. And all we can do is just squeeze our children a little bit tighter and walk a little faster, or pick a different street to walk down. There's people out there that are actually taking matters into their own hands as well around this because we as the city are not able to confront this issue. Now I know it's not humane to be telling somebody, 'you got to get up, you gotta go and I don't care where you go.' That last part is where I think the city owes it to this- to everyone out there to have an answer. So I do believe that there are some underdeveloped spaces. There's people out there with parking lots that are not utilized 24/7, there's some spaces out there that are available to us. But when we designate these locations, this is where we have to bring the design element forward. This is not going to be an afterthought. It's not a hodgepodge of tents and random tarps, multicolored with things hanging off a fences. We need to have deliberate, intentional answers for pop-up solutions because this is an emergency. And not everything is going to be in occupiable building that takes two years to build. We need to have answers right now. And every answer we bring forward today for folks that are already on the curb is going to help for any potential family member or person in this room that might be subject to one of the many countless reasons that people become homeless. The fastest growing population are the elders, and a lot of times it's because their retirement pensions ran out and they're out of money. They've outlived them. That's the fastest growing population out there right now, that and single parents. We don't have an answer for that yet.

Corky Collier  16:51  
We have a lot of jobs in the city, but many of them are low wage jobs where people are on the verge of becoming homeless. We've seen that job growth, but it's in low wage jobs and it's in high wage jobs, the job growth for the middle wages has not been so high. And therefore that wage gap starts to increase the polarization between low and high becomes worse. Sarah, is this is a problem for us?

Sarah Iannarone  17:20  
It is, but I want to follow up a little bit because my name was invoked in the end of the last question. I do not think that sweeps are the answer to homelessness. What I'm saying is we do not have enough shelter beds for everyone who needs one in our city. And when there is not one available, it is inhumane to sweep them from the tent that they may have. That is what I'm talking about. And I really want to make that clear. I've come up with a comprehensive strategy for creating safety hubs around our city. I have been there working directly with people experiencing homelessness, fighting for shelters in my neighborhood and setting up shelters all across the city, with our partners as a frontline activist in partnership with people experiencing homelessness. So my understandings of this are grounded in the lived experiences of people experiencing homelessness. That said, I actually started a small business that created jobs in my neighborhood. And many of those people no longer can afford to live in my zip code. So I know that you know better than just about any other business association here in the Columbia Corridor about that wage gap. When you look at the level of educational attainment, and the median income that your workers are earning here in the Columbia Corridor, it's abysmal relative to the rest of the city. And we need to bridge that through a few mechanisms. One, education is important, but that may not mean higher education for every single worker. I was recently in the UK on a best practices trip and they are creating innovative partnerships straight out of high schools into the trades into industry so their students can have an opportunity to get family wage jobs regardless of their access to education. We can also increase our partnerships with our local apprenticeship programs, with our after school programs to make sure that our students are getting into STEM, our underserved students, projects like Oregon Mesa that are helping our high school students and even middle school students get into STEM education. We can- I see some reps from Portland State University here- I make- making sure that our students are getting from high school, to community college and college is going to be very important. We also need to make sure that our people can afford to start and operate businesses here that pay good wage jobs and where the money is flowing into our city, we need to enforce project labor agreements so that those jobs are living wage and prevailing wage jobs. And I'm going to stop now because I see the red sign up. Thank you Corky.

Corky Collier  19:35  
Let me just ask real quickly what is a good wage? When you say we should be creating more good wage jobs? How much is it?

Sarah Iannarone  19:44  
Well, family wage jobs when you think about the minimum any worker in our city should be making right now is $15 an hour whether you're a service worker in a fast food restaurant or, I know it's not enough, I'm saying minimum wage should be 15 across the board, Ozzie, thank you. I'm going to answer the question So but ultimately what we want to be talking about is can we get those jobs as high as possible? Because what we need to understand, especially with our public contracting agreements, is that we are putting that money into the pocket of Portlanders, that is going to stay here. So I don't want to say the dollar for every single occupation, but I think prevailing wage is going to be important on public projects, I think we need to think about making sure that there's a floor that's high enough for all low wage workers.

Corky Collier  20:27  
This is a great topic. I love it, because now we're shifting a little bit into that- those middle wages, which is what we have in the Columbia Corridor. I don't know if you're aware, but the industrial sector employs more people from communities of color, more people without four year college degrees in a family wage job than any other sector. Now, if you want to provide a low wage job making $30,000 a year there's plenty of those outside of the Columbia Corridor you bet, go for it. But how do you get by on them that amount of money? If you want a job the speaking an average of about $50,000 a year many, many of them so 60, 70, 80,000 then you come to the industrial sector, and we've got plenty of you mentioned $15 an hour. That's fantastic. That's that's a great minimum. We had low starting wages in the Columbia Corridor standard is $15 an hour five years ago. We're well above that now. So we're moving in that direction. My question, and I think- I think the industrial corridor is an answer to many of these problems. My question, I think, for Ted starting is, how do we expand our industrial sector in Portland?

Ted Wheeler  21:31  
Well, first of all, let me start off by saying, and I appreciate the question. I'm glad we're talking about employers, and we're talking about jobs, because one of the overarching themes of my administration has been shared economic prosperity. The way we address this concentration of people who don't have enough resources to even be able to afford to live here. And then this other group, where we are concentrating wealth is to protect those middle class jobs and my administration takes this seriously, we've pursued a number of initiatives in addition to just going around and visiting employers on a regular basis, we've also launched specific initiatives to address workforce development and job training. Those are critical things education through our community colleges, particularly in skilled opportunities and the trades. So we have a great example of Vigor, Industrial, working closely with Portland Community College. And there's other examples in Prosper Portland, which we have rebranded, retooled and refocused toward shared economic prosperity. I'm very proud of our initiatives around the inclusive Business Resource Network, which helps 1000 entrepreneurs a year with a focus on underserved populations. And most recently, the Portland Means Progress initiative, which many of you have chosen to participate in, which is helping to get young people, particularly from underserved communities, access to good jobs, support businesses that are already in our community through partnerships and through contracts, particularly businesses that are owned and operated by women and people of color, and finally to commit to working together to create a culture of diversity and inclusivity. So that everybody is part of this protection of the middle class. And it's not just about private sector employers as well. The trade unions, private sector unions, other unions work very diligently to uphold wages and benefits, including the retirement planning issue that Ozzie raised, as being front and center to people's economic prosperity and household income in this state. And so I'm very proud of the record that we have, and we'll keep pushing forward with all of you.

Corky Collier  23:43  
Ozzie-

Ozzie Gonzalez  23:44  
My name was invoked. So-

Corky Collier  23:44  
I'll get to that. But I'm going to throw in a little bit more to that. If I'm right, that the industrial sectors, supplies more family wage jobs to communities of color, more family wage jobs for people without four year degrees in other sectors, and I am right about that. What-what would you do to preserve and add to the industrial land supply?

Ozzie Gonzalez  24:06  
Thank you Corky and the numbers are right. So I'm going to stand with the numbers and you on this one. Yes, that is very true. So let's talk about industrial sector for a second. There's- there's only one person up here on stage right now who's actually been involved in both the design, the manufacturing, and the support of the industrial sector, I've not only mentored local businesses and over 100 local businesses, here in Portland minority owned, women owned, veteran owned, even large businesses around how to improve their operations. I've also been involved directly, paid under contract, to help industrial manufacturers lean their process, you might have heard of lean processing, all of the kinds of initiatives that help reduce the operating costs of industrial manufacturers. And I could tell you something really interesting from that journey. Industrial manufacturers don't have to be told about environmental responsibility because the energy load, the water load, the material loads are so big, you live and breathe by managing those resources. I've supported industrial manufacturers in that journey. I want to continue to do that as mayor. We have an interesting opportunity right now, the Portland Clean Energy Fund that was passed by a majority of voters is producing a fund that says it's going to be going towards green jobs, and it's going to be going towards frontline communities. That's a fantastic set of words on paper, but making them turn into real life is going to take some leadership and an understanding of how to actually develop new industries. I see a future under that fund that brings new patents, new companies, new products, all Oregon grown and raised. And I think we have an opportunity to do that. But that means we have to have leadership that knows what it's like to get a business off the ground, to scale it to become an import export entity and to be able to retain and grow a local of workforce of Oregonians knowing that all of the new qualities, the new qualifications that employers are going to need to have today, are not just an academic education and they're not just a blue collar job. Manufacturing today requires much more of a technical savvy than it used to. And that's why people out there- they used to make cars they used to manufacture widgets are struggling to hold on to jobs, we have to re-skill those people. And I don't know how many of you have employees that are under that banner today. But to create the jobs of the future means we have to think about the pipeline of interesting people into the jobs, of keeping people tooled up to have the skills they need for those jobs, and to support the businesses themselves in navigating a growth equation that is actually going to be good for our state. And we rely on your industrial infrastructure to get us there.

Corky Collier  26:42  
Anybody else with ideas and how we can improve, increase, grow the industrial sector in Portland, or should we?

Ted Wheeler  26:50  
Sure I'll jump in since you're giving me the opportunity 

Corky Collier  26:53  
It's wide open

Ted Wheeler  26:54  
Oh, the answer is yes. And the way we're going to be successful is on two counts and we know this Corky because you've probably said it at some point in the past. So it's true. Workforce-

Corky Collier  27:06  
I'm glad we agree on this.

Ted Wheeler  27:07  
Workforce development and education are critical. The economy is changing. So the definition of what is industrial is also shifting with the speed of light. And you're seeing a lot of new companies come into this area into Troutdale, into Portland's Swan Island, that historically would not have been anticipated as industrial suppliers, but now they are- I just visited one down in Tualitin the other day - Recology, totally, totally new ballgame for them. But it is truly industrial. It does not require a college education. The wages are good, but the work requires specialized training. And so I think one of the things we need to do is work with PCC, work with Work Systems and I sit on their board and work with other institutions in the private sector to provide the pathways to education and job training. So young people in our community in particular, or older people who are re-tooling have access to those no- new industrial opportunities in our community. And last but not least, we need to protect the industrial land that we have. And it's constantly under threat. And we cannot lose that industrial land. And I am worried about that because of the proximity of housing, to the industrial land that we currently have. And I hear from employers all the time, that they feel like they may have to pick up their steaks and move somewhere else. And we do not want that to happen in our community. 

Corky Collier  28:29  
Ozzy?

Sarah Iannarone  28:29  
Oh, can I? I don't get to talk?

Ozzie Gonzalez  28:31  
Oh, I'll get- oh pardon me, Sarah. 

The structure is- I'll make this snappy. Because I think there is another another avenue to that Ted. And I think you're right, we do have to make some tough choices about land use because we've only got so much land. And I think green infrastructure is one of those things that Portland has not discovered enough. We did a great job with bringing green roofs to the market, LEED certified buildings, but green infrastructure for some reason we're not the first out the gate. Alexandria, Virginia just developed a soccer field on top of a wastewater treatment plant. It was an Envision certified project, Envision is a new rating system for green infrastructure. I happen to be involved on the team that certified that project, it's the first in the world. But it was an experience of a 'not in my backyard. I don't want this project. This is a blight in my community,' into a community amenity. And I think thinking about our infrastructure, in the lens of actually being able to have it in our neighborhood as something that can be clean and can be responsible is what we need to see more examples of, and I know they're out there, because I've helped develop them.

Sarah Iannarone  29:39  
I'll weigh in now, thanks. When you think about what the mayor of Portland can do, these are all really wonderful ideas. I have proposed a Green New Deal for our Portland which is again available on my website, I encourage you to go look at it. It was developed in line with people who worked on things like the Portland Clean Energy Fund so that we can make sure that again, within our city boundaries which- we're landlocked largely or water locked in terms of our land supply. The mayor is correct that we do need to think about industrial land supply when you think about the mayor's portfolio and what they're going to look at rezoning certain land in our city for industrial to free up other land for housing is something that we should seriously consider. I actually think Homer Williams' idea of rezoning Broadmoor golf course was a rather good one in terms of us returning other land close to the urban core and transit centers in order to free up some land for us in there. But I also think it's more than jobs, training and education. We have to make sure people can get these jobs. How many of you rode transit here today? Yeah, I'm sure that the people working in this place, many of them wrote transit here today. And for me, that would have added about an hour and a half to my commute. We need to think carefully about making sure that our residents can live in Portland and commute around Portland in ways that give them access to the jobs that we're even able to create here so that those jobs are accruing to Portlanders and so that we're growing our city. I'm not running for Metro. I'm not running for governor. I'm running for mayor of Portland. And I really want to look at those finite tools in the mayor's toolbox to deal with these, for Portland centric solutions.

Corky Collier  31:15  
So let's- let's talk about trucks and buses. Because trucks are a lot like buses, they're often in our way. We're annoyed by them. They've got big engines and make a lot of noise. But they're the most efficient way we have to move people and goods. Unfortunately, some of the efforts we do at the city discourage- some of the efforts to discourage car use end up creating problems for trucks and buses. What can the city do to help trucks and buses move freely? Sarah, I think I'm gonna start with you, Ii you don't mind. 

Sarah Iannarone  31:47  
I am a transportation [unknown] so thanks for that Corky I really like that question. I am on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for the city and I'm also on the Transportation Budget and Bureau Advisory Committee and as a person who lives car free, and often moves around by bus or transit. I actually want to see us have less competition between people trying to use active transportation like cycling, walking and riding, TriMet and freight. That's counterproductive. I believe that we can peacefully coexist in that our conn- common enemy really is people who are forced into making commutes alone, because we haven't provided them a better alternative. And so I've been watching closely the Columbia Lumbar Mobility Plan and thinking about how can we integrate things like our Vision Zero, so to reduce the number of deaths that are happening in this high crash corridor here to make sure that people who are walking around the residences on the other side of the industrial area aren't injured when they're trying to get around by not using an automobile and thinking carefully about things like the Rose Lane Project, which many of the activists in my community were working on for multiple years, which city council just passed recently, in order to make sure that our transit is flowing freely without us having to spend a lot of money on infrastructure; that's plan to make sure that buses can move freely in congestion to move our workforce around the city. I also think it's important that we invest in good technology. So we need traffic management systems, so freight operators can understand how to move about our city freely. And I also think that we need a regional and even a statewide plan to understand how we're going to move freight and our workers around this region. So many of the solutions that we've been proposing are ad hoc, whether it's an auxiliary lane, or conversation about the I-5 bridge, we need to think bigger picture, we need to demand that the state of Oregon come here and work with us and work with our communities on transportation solutions that connect the people of Portland to the opportunity around the region and the people around the region to the opportunity here in Portland.

Corky Collier  33:51  
Ted, any ideas on how we improve the flow of buses and trucks?

Ted Wheeler  33:54  
Yeah, absolutely. I have two that I'll share with you right now. Both are controversial propositions so let's wake everybody up a little bit. The biggest threat to freight is not PBOT. The biggest threat to freight mobility is the increase of single occupancy vehicles on our throughways or highways and our streets. And what I hear from people who actually drive the trucks, what I hear from the Teamsters is, the drive for example, from Salem to Portland is pretty much a straight shot. There has been no substantial thinning of I-5 at any point, nothing has changed, from an engineering perspective, what has changed is the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road and it is substantially slowed the ability of freight to move in that area, the Rose Quarter when all of those trucks will someday be electric, and I can't see the future but maybe they'll even be autonomous. Even if every vehicle in that area is 100% clean energy, you're still going to have the structural engineering bottleneck problems and potentially the safety problems that currently exist. So we need to keep investing in improving the engineering solutions. The second controversial proposition, no disrespect meant to anybody at TriMet, but that agency is not keeping up with the needs, the demands or the vision for this community. And there needs to be an all hands on deck conversation about whether it is appropriate for TriMet to remain an independent agency, separate from our land use function at Metro, separate from our planning functions in our urban areas, separate from discussions that are happening in the suburbs about why aren't they seeing any improvements in transit. If we want people to ride transit and get out of their cars, and free up the roads for critical uses, then we need a viable and robust transit option and we do not have it in this community and we've never had it in this community and I think we should really have the conversation about combining transit with planning, economic development strategies and mobility needs.

Corky Collier  36:10  
Ozzie, do you have something burning to say or can we move on? 

Ozzie Gonzalez  36:13  
Always!  

Corky Collier  36:13  
Alright 

Ozzie Gonzalez  36:14  
I got a mic and a crowd, Corky. 

Corky Collier  36:15  
Alright. 

Ozzie Gonzalez  36:16  
I know I appreciate you saying that Ted, I think I agree. First of all TriMet I'm on their board, TriMet has not done enough to meet the demand out there. And to really give people a viable option that gets them out of their car. In many instances, East County is rife with things like that. But I think it's lazy to just say you know, the single occupancy- these darn single occupancy vehicles are crowding up our freeways. Because you know, what we own, as government, we own the the land use equation that made it so that it was advantageous for people to work in downtown Portland and live in Lake Oswego, or live in Salem and still work in Portland to have to come up here every day. And funny enough, the same hours that those folks are trying to use the I-5 corridor up and down to get from job to home. It's the same time a lot of freight vehicles are moving through there. Now, I'm not the only one up here that talks about transit corridors, I believe. My colleague Sarah has ideas about transit corridors as well, if I remember correctly, however, we do need to expand our lens here beyond just the bikes and the buses in downtown Portland. When I look at transit corridors, I recognize that there's a there's an incompatibility of land use when we have buses, bicycles, passenger vehicles, freight vehicles, emergency vehicles, fire trucks all crowded into the same space. And you know what, we're leaving it up to just willy nilly anarchy to figure out who's got the priority in there. The Rose Lane Project is trying to set some standards for who should have priority where and that's fantastic in some areas. We need to have this idea about transit corridors expanded to make sure that we have viable pathways that don't conflict people trying to get to work from freight trying to move from California to Washington for that matter. We need to make sure that we're prioritizing transit corridors for non-motorized and motorized vehicles. Because the end of the day, this is going to make the right of ways more efficient. And it's going to make the experience for people in bicycles and on foot much safer. Because so many of our- of our fatalities and our collisions out there are actually happening between two modes of transportation intersecting with one another. It's- it's a tough thing. And if you don't live and enter Portland, Oregon on a regular basis, it's a mess out there to figure out what's going on with all the striping on the lanes that change every time you ride around the same block. So I'll stop there, because we'll talk about more later.

Corky Collier  38:44  
All right, I'm going to pivot and take on a final really big topic, but before we do that, is everybody having fun? Yes? Alright. Ozzie, tell me something that you admire about Sarah.

Ozzie Gonzalez  39:03  
Well-

Corky Collier  39:03  
You didn't see that one coming, did you?

Ozzie Gonzalez  39:04  
No, no, no. I'm a good guy. I'm an optimist. There's um- Sarah, you have done a fantastic job of setting your sights on running against Ted for a second time and have done a fantastic job of setting up the bones of a campaign. I as a first time candidate, and running for office who wasn't trying to be a career politician, but who sees the need for leadership in Portland See a lot of fantastic lessons and how to run campaigns from my colleague here. Now, if running campaigns translated into governing, I think we'd be in a better place. But right now, I would say you're running a fantastic campaign.

Sarah Iannarone  39:44  
That's that you should actually congratulate Greg McKelvey, my campaign director.

Ozzie Gonzalez  39:48  
You chose him so I'm gonna say that's on you.

Corky Collier  39:51  
Ted, tell me something you admire about Ozzie

Ted Wheeler  39:54  
Well, I learned something new today that Ozzie can dance and it's something-

Ozzie Gonzalez  39:58  
You've seen me on the floor Ted!

Ted Wheeler  40:03  
No, honestly Ozzie I don't know, Ozzie well, I really literally just met him a week or so ago, but we've had the opportunity to be on the stage a couple of times. And he brings a sense of passion and enthusiasm to this work. I know that he's running for the right reasons he really believes in this community he believes that he has ideas that he can share, to help improve the circumstances for people in his community brings a unique perspective with an engineering background to the problems and I enjoy hearing how he thinks and dissects the problems using that, that engineering mindset. And, frankly, it can be stressful being on a stage in front of a lot of people defending positions, and he makes it fun. He's got a good outlook in life and I appreciate that.

Corky Collier  40:52  
And he opened up the dancing questions, so do you want to give us a quick move?

Ozzie Gonzalez  41:03  
I can't believe it Corky, thats on camera, now by the way.

Ted Wheeler  41:07  
He did you in on that Ozzie.

Corky Collier  41:10  
I wouldn't have bothered if there weren't cameras here. So, Sarah, what do you admire about Ted?

Sarah Iannarone  41:16  
He's got a strong intellect and a commitment to public service. So thank you very much. I know you put in a lot of hours on behalf of our city. It's not easy being the mayor of Portland, some people think it's probably one of the hardest jobs in our state. And so anyone who has the willingness to step up and do that on behalf of our city, you have to applaud them for that. 

Ted Wheeler  41:34  
Thank you. 

Corky Collier  41:40  
So I've got a variety of questions here from the audience. For example, what's the biggest problem facing the city that no one's talking about? Another one is as mayor, what will you do to shift the city council to a more business friendly environment? Another one is what are two to three ideas that you plan on implementing that could reduce red tape developing affordable housing. I'm going to clump all these together and put it under a question about charter reform. There's a good reason that Portland's the last major city to have a commission form of government. The bureau silo problem is intractable. There's been historically no representation from outer East Portland. Fortunately, we have it now. Bureaus often get inadequate oversight. All other large cities have changed to a council manager form of government and they have not looked back. What are your thoughts about our commission form of government, and I'm going to start with Ted.

Ted Wheeler  42:39  
The city has become larger, it's become more diverse, and it's become more complex in terms of the issues that we're addressing since the commission form of government was put into place. We need a new form of government that reflects the changing needs of our community and I've said that I am determined to be the last mayor of this city to serve under this form of government. Now that being said, I want to be clear, I ran for mayor understanding that I would be the mayor under the commission form of government. And I've worked hard to make that form of government work. Around permitting, we've consolidated the permitting bureaus around public safety, we're now doing joint public safety, prioritization and budgeting. So I'm working with a number of my colleagues on the city council. When it comes to customer service, we're getting rid of the 300 phone lines that people can call and just implementing a 311 program the way other cities did a long time ago. But where we succeed, we succeed because we are overcoming the form of government, we are succeeding in spite of the form of government, not because of it. And we all know that with a different form of government, it would address accountability. You asked a bunch of transportation questions, believe it or not, under this form of government, I have little to nothing to do with transportation. That's a different Commissioner. I don't have anything to do with side- sidewalks. I don't have anything to do with fire safety or emergency preparedness. As mayor, it is embarrassing for me to say that and for you, his constituents, it's an unacceptable answer. You've already mentioned Corky, the representational issue. You can know everything about East Portland be the best advocate and beloved in that side of the city, that you have to sell it to the city at large, because we only have at large seats, so it dilutes the power of effectiveness at the very local level. And third, and finally, there's just a lot of administrative and efficiency reasons why we should change the form of government so that we're utilizing your tax dollars more wisely. We're clear about the outcomes, and we're working collectively across bureaus to be successful. So I support a change. I'm calling for the Charter Review Commission to the impaneled this year. And I look forward to the voters having a robust discussion about the future form of government.

Corky Collier  44:53  
Sarah?

Sarah Iannarone  44:55  
so I'm gonna see if I can get all three of your questions in. So the one that we're not talkingenough, I believe is disaster preparation and resilience. I know that you're having intense conversations about the levy shoring up here, for your business district. I also think we need to think about seismic resiliency and even climate resiliency, and the ways that we can be turning these intense investments and efforts into green jobs for our community. So that's the one thing that I don't think that we're talking about enough. I know that a lot of the oxygen in the room is taken up by housing and homelessness right now. Number two, in terms of one thing that no one's really converse- that no one's really talking about, for affordability and housing provision and the services that we need is a progressive taxation tax force. We can't just keep putting out this tax, this tax this bond measure that bond measure, we need to look carefully about the revenue that we need to collect and where we need to spend it. So I think a short term look, a task force for progressive revenue generation and expenditures is going to be important for us in the short term. The third one on the charter review process again, I'm going to plug my website my team has been working really, really hard putting together comprehensive policy packages so you can learn more about me and my positions on the issues you can find that at Sarah 2020 dot com slash good government. And what I put in there is a suite of policies that can help Portland government work more efficiently and more effectively. We do have the charter review process coming up, and I'm looking forward to overseeing it when I'm elected mayor. But we- that was a joke, but I mean, not really. But we need to think carefully, not only about the commission form of government, relative to the bureaus and the elected officials, but right down to our neighborhood associations and how we engage people at the community level, in our democracy. So much of our city right now is fragmented. There's so much divisiveness here. There's so much inability for us to cooperate across silos whether those are across the sectors or across neighborhoods or across demographics or even across 205 between east Portland and the rest of the city. So I look forward to a robust conversation citywide through the charter review process, not only about the form that our city council and our city government takes, but how that's going to look right down to the neighborhood level.

Ozzie Gonzalez  47:17  
Well, I think that resilience and emergency preparedness is a major issue that we're not talking about. But whether we're talking homelessness, housing, emergency preparedness, congestion, the relationship between the state and the city, there's something else that's bigger, that's keeping us from actually walking up the table to address any of these issues in the best version of ourselves. And I think that it's distrust. I think we're in a place right now, where we are all seeing ourselves from a factional standpoint and there's an us or them mentality and everybody has a 'Are you with me or are you against me?' And we have way too many litmus test questions in society right now that with one question, 'Who did you vote for in the last election?' 'Are you pro Life or pro choice,' there's many others. You can ask somebody that and how they answer that will dictate whether you want to have a conversation with them about anything else or not. There's people out there, they can't get a date based on who they voted for president for crying out loud. I'm not one of them. Hi, baby. 19 years. And counting. 

So we- so we have, we have a major issue right now with way too much banner waving and flag waving. And not recognizing that the version of partnership and leadership that we really need right now to solve all of these issues is the kind that other cities have gotten used to now and Portland is barely learning. It's being able to sit down at a table with people you don't like and solve a problem. We have to do that in this town. We have to be willing to sit down and what I think we need in City Hall is the kind of leadership that can set a table between friends and enemies and hold respect, and hold diplomacy at the table, even in moments of disagreement. There's a lot of things to be passionate about out there right now, there are real problems out there that people are feeling on the street. And we have to acknowledge that those are problems worth addressing. But we got to get ourselves past the complaint complaint complaint, and I have a problem to what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? What are you bringing to the table? And that kind of coalition building, setting that kind of table is a version of leadership we have not seen lately in City Hall, and we need to be able to do that. And so that's the important part that our city needs to learn. We are growing, we are diversifying. And the lesson that we have to learn for ourselves and to share with the world is what a diverse city that works for everybody actually feels like and we're not there today.

Corky Collier  49:52  
Right, we're, we're just about out of time. We're going to have one minute closings from each person. But before I do that, I'm going to push real quickly. If you've got just a few seconds to answer this question. I'm pushing back on this charter reform question a little bit again, because in 2007, Mayor Potter's effort to change, our system was defeated, he only got 24% of the vote. If we're serious about charter reform, how do we approach it? How do we make that succeed? I'll start with Ted again.

Ted Wheeler  50:20  
It can't come from the mayor. Any form of government we pick other than the commission form of government is going to strengthen the role of the mayor relative to the rest of the Council. You can't find a weaker Mayor form of government than the commission form of government. I think Mayor Potter's intentions were good. His objectives were correct. But his leading it, frankly, looked like a bit of a power grab. And that's what his colleagues on the council said. So it's got to come from the community. That's why as we do this charter reform effort, it has to listen intently to what the community wants with their form of government. 

Corky Collier  50:57  
Sarah?

Sarah Iannarone  50:58  
I'll add on top of that, because it important for us to have someone who understands and is in community to lead community, as a mother, as a community organizer, as someone who's shown up for schools and neighborhoods, and activism all across the city, whether it's housing or transportation, or public safety, criminal justice reforms. I've been there and have spent time with communities and can bridge those divides. I think the most important thing for us moving forward is understanding that a deep working knowledge of our city, our people, our diverse people, and the diverse issues that we face across industries, across sectors, again, across geographies is going to be instrumental. And I think it's the biggest failing that we've seen in the current administration to date.

Corky Collier  51:41  
Ozzie, if you like the idea of charter form, how do we approach it?

Ozzie Gonzalez  51:45  
Well, I agree with Mayor Wheeler that it shouldn't be run- led by the mayor today that- that's not- that's not a good process, and it's a tough sell. And I think it's true that that's part of the the biggest vulnerability why Mayor Potter did not succeed in that proposition. There is already conversations out there, the City Club, the Coalition of Communities of Color, are all driving conversations with the community around ballot measure that's going to change the form of government. And I'm thrilled that they're doing that. And I look forward to seeing what they propose. I am fully prepared to walk into this office and address the city as mayor in this current form of government, or in the next one. And one thing I want to acknowledge is that there is a general meme out there that we have a weak Mayor system. And yes, there is some structural things there that have to be fixed. But the power that the mayor's podium has today is not the version of authoritative oversight where they just with a stroke of a pen can change the direction of a city. That's not it. The power of the mayor's podium is and has always been the ability to tap the collective power of Portland citizens at large. It's about setting a table, setting priorities and harnessing all of the potential attention of Portlanders around a specific topic area. That's one thing the mayor can do today that no other seat can do quite as well. And if you haven't noticed the fact that we're not doing that right now has made a big donut hole in Portland, Oregon. The mayors of Vancouver, Gresham,  Beaverton, Hillsboro are doing stuff. They're working on things together. There's initiatives out there, the private sector is moving stuff, they're doing it without City Hall. And that's a travesty. It's unfortunate. And it's not the place that we should be. It's not the role that made Portland and the region famous in the first place, but recapturing that place, whether it's the city or or between international politics, I think the same holds true. Capturing that place, again, is about a version of leadership that knows how to work with people that knows how to address people on any level. And if we're going to get out there and antagonize if we're going to be out there lambasting people on Twitter. That's not going to create the kind of relationships we need. And that's not the kind of leadership you're going to get from me.

Corky Collier  54:06  
Okay, we're out of time, did promise one minute closings, but we've kind of already done our closing. So I'm going to give you as short of time as you can to wrap up each of your positions, and the one that does it fastest gets a prize. Oh, and by the way, we've got a lot of great questions from the audience here. We got to just a fraction of them. So I'm going to collate those and send them to each of the candidates so they can review those later on. Thank you very much for those questions. So quick closing, prize to the shortest one.

Let's start, same order. Let's start with Ted.

Ted Wheeler  54:39  
Well, first of all, thank you Corky. And thanks to all of you for being here this morning. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to share with you bright and early in the morning. I have chosen to run for reelection for a couple of reasons. Number one, like all of you I have a stake in this community have a vested interest in the future of this community. Not just for my self, but for my daughter and for future generations, I was born and raised here. And like you, I see this city as a jewel, and it's worth fighting for. I'm very proud of the momentum. And the successes we've had in the first three years of my tenure, around homelessness, around housing, around shared economic prosperity around the environment, around infrastructure and around improving the way our government relates to the public at large. And yes, Ozzie, actually my administration is focused relentlessly on building partnerships and collaborations with people throughout the community, hearing diverse viewpoints, getting diverse ideas, and working together from the community up to solve our problems together. You gotta stick around for a while, if you want to get things done. Vera Katz was mayor for 12 years. I've barely been here three, and I'm proud of the work that we're doing on the council together through our bureaus through effective and visionary leadership and through the community partnerships and coalition that we've leveraged throughout my administration. You ain't seen nothing yet. Wait til see what we're going to do going forward to continue this great momentum that we've built together. Thank you.

Corky Collier  56:16  
Sarah, Ted left it open for you to have the prize. So-

Ted Wheeler  56:19  
I did.

Sarah Iannarone  56:21  
Yeah. Well, and the prize is winning this next election. And it's one thing to have good ideas. But it's another thing to be able to actually win an election in this environment with the tools that you're given. I want to point out that I'm a mother, I'm a community leader, I'm a successful small business founder. And what I'm offering the city is an opportunity for a different path forward. When you are out talking with your colleagues, with your peers, what I'm hearing at least and you may or may not be hearing this is things are not getting better. And in fact, they feel like they're getting worse. Things feel like they're getting worse. And so what we need to do is make this visible progress on issues with urgency in ways that matter. And the way that we're going to do that is by organizing our people, organizations like yours that come together to solve problem making sure that you're empowered, fully resourced to make decisions on your own behalf in ways that work best for you. My campaign is, as, Ozzie he pointed out, killing it out there. We have more donors to date in the last eight months than the incumbent had across the entire 2015 and 2016 years. We are going out to the grassroots through our public financing campaign and talking with everyday Portlanders, who are donating us to us in amounts of $5, $10, $20 and $30 apiece to make sure that they are represented in our local government. We are transforming how politics is done. We're making sure that our campaign is accessible and inclusive. We have a podcast, we have a website. We have community conversations that makes sure that we're harnessing the resources of our community, even as we're developing policy proposals. So I encourage you to check out check us out. We're at Sarah 2020 dot com. We've got a lot of great ideas and a plan to get us into office. And so I hope you'll be supporting us and making that happen choosing a different path forward for Portland.

Ozzie Gonzalez  58:18  
And if I thought that going into office and delivering on these promises was something I thought you could pull off, I would, I would be happy to say please, we have a fantastic family and a lot of business to try to do. But our city actually needs people that can translate good ideas into action. And right now, we have a race where Portland is looking and is ready for change in the fall, I don't know when the majority of the vote and that same choice had two of the three people up on stage listed. Okay. So there's people out there looking for something different and they're not sure what at the same time, we're saying, we have a climate emergency, we need to listen to climate scientists. We have underrepresented voices that haven't stepped forward. We need to bring those frontline communities forward and have them be at the center and be part of the solutions. There's a lot of people outside saying that right now. And Portland. What are you going to do when you're given that choice? I am a climate scientist. I am a living example that the American Dream is still possible. My wife and I got through that, neither one of us spoke English when we were- when we started school. yet here we are today, a physician, an architect working professionals raising two fantastic young adults here in Oregon, and we're doing it proudly to be part of the Pacific Northwest. It's not easy. We relied on teachers we relied on mentors, but you know something, it shouldn't be this hard for people out there. So we do have an opportunity Portland, Oregon, this time to choose a climate scientists the first in the nation, we have an opportunity to give an opportunity to frontline community that has both seen the world from academia, and has seen the world from the upbringing of the forgotten communities that we have so many of here in Portland, Oregon. I know what it's like to have to stretch $1 and worry about the rent. And I also know what it's like to have to figure out how to make the next quarterly earnings reconcile for a large enterprise that and- that employs thousands of people. Those two extremes are hard to find, ladies and gentlemen. And I know that there's not a lot of people out there that can take the arts community, the equity community, the business community and the environmental community and speak their language. But I'm telling you that I exist in all of those circles on a day to day basis. I navigate north, south east west of this city. I have friends all throughout it, and I see people across the city that want this place to be better and to serve them better. Being connected to all of those facets of our society, not only a rich as my life And in the life of my family, but I think it's the kind of thing Portland needs to celebrate. We have more diversity than we give ourselves credit for right now. It's a matter of letting that diversity step into the light, and recognizing that no matter what silo you are being put in, or you're putting yourself in, we're all intersectional. Every one of us has a gender or religion. We there's more and more mixed families out there. We cannot just have myopic conversations. So Portland, Oregon, I'm challenging us to step forward into the uncertain, because I know that it's uncertain with four of the five seats potentially up for grabs in City Hall, that we need some stability. But I don't think that four more years of what we've experienced now is what we need today. I don't think that there's some unused tools that you haven't brought out yet that are somehow going to come out in term two, Ted. So I really feel that we need to be able to step into the next four years with a very different attitude than the ones that brought us to this moment. And I challenge you to support a first time candidate who's not using this city as a stepping stone to the rest of my political career. I am here, and I want to help the city regardless of what my business card says. So thank you very much for your attention and for caring for the city.

Corky Collier  1:02:23  
Well, the bad news is nobody wins the prize.

The good news is I think Portland is really winning with an excellent lineup of candidates. Thank you very much for coming. everybody.

Have a great rest of your day. And thank you

Transcribed by https://otter.ai