Candidates for Council Position 2 / Diana Gutman

1. East Portland is home to 25% of the city’s population, yet has historically been allocated a smaller share of city resources than other areas of town. How will you support equity for East Portland in city investments in transportation, parks, housing and economic development?

Because of the coronavirus pandemic we have learned that the standards we have lived under were unnecessary and made living in society more brittle and unequal. This is an unprecedented opportunity to not just hit the pause button and temporarily ease the pain, but to permanently change the standard so that people aren’t so vulnerable to begin with. This event is global evidence that a functioning government is crucial for a healthy society.  As we set up provisions and policies to help our communities it’s crucial to think of the long term impacts of these policies that we set in place. We are learning that rigid standards that we have set for ourselves as a city can be changed, amended, or completely replaced; creating a city that is more inclusive to everyone. This is a good thing.  As city Commissioner I will use my voice and continue to push for inclusive policies and advocate for our city and these changes at a state level.

 

2. East Portland lags behind the rest of the city in personal incomes and job opportunities. What will you do to increase the number of family-wage jobs in East Portland?

I believe that working with our community partners and neighborhood associations is a key. With each new development project that takes place in our city I believe that it is crucial to bring awareness to the community so that those who are looking for work or ways to get involved will have first priority. Transportation impacts the livability of our city and the comfort and security of those using our city streets. Portland’s transportation system has the potential to enhance quality of life for all Portlanders. I believe that expanding Portland's transportation is vital for our city because we as Portlanders are always on the go. By working with community partners, city developers, and our grassroot communities we can work towards a city that is inclusive and sustainable.

 

3. Portland is experiencing a severe housing crisis, and East Portland residents are particularly vulnerable to displacement. What tools will you implement to prevent involuntary displacement of low-income people from East Portland?

I will always push for more inclusive housing options in our City. Everyone should have access to affordable housing and property owners have a unique opportunity to help our community to address this problem. We are in a housing crisis and action is needed now. One of the proposals that has been offered to the to City is The Residential Infill project. This project will re-legalize duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in single family zones. As of now 40% of Portland’s land area is currently zoned for single family housing and is expected to absorb twenty percent of Portland’s population growth. I have given public testimony in front of the Council on 1/15/2020 (Agenda Item 50) to express my support in this project. More housing units in our city need  to be designated for specific transitional needs. Whether you're from the homeless community or a Survivor of abuse trying to flee an abusive situation. Safe housing is a human right! I believe that if we were to come up with programs to further help our community partners and landlords we could bridge that gap and identify ways that we can actually protect those in need and serve our community. I will always support the community and programs that will help Portlanders have access to affordable housing. By making housing policies inclusive we can ensure that housing is accessible to everyone that calls Portland home.

 

4. What is your strategy to bring East Portland’s street infrastructure up to the standard of the rest of the city?

This is more than a “one-note” answer, I believe that the first step in addressing this issue would be working directly with the East Portland neighborhood association. It’s important that our neighborhood associations have equal say when it comes to changes, developments, safety and improvements for our communities. Our city is growing at a rapid rate and as a result we are facing a housing crisis that needs immediate attention. Ever since I started attending the Portland City Council meetings in 2018 I have witnessed different neighborhood associations show up to the Council meetings and advocate for the needs of our neighborhoods. We as a city need strong voices with compassionate hearts that have equal say when it comes to issues that require immediate attention. I am a human rights activist and a victims advocate and I care about the concerns and needs that our communities face. If elected I will work with the neighborhood associations to advocate for the community and to push for more inclusive services that are accessible to everyone.

 

5. If you are elected, what is your vision of East Portland a decade from now? What is your strategy to get us there?

I support the changes that will help Portland be more inclusive to all Portlanders and to those who come to our City to make it their home. My ancestors originally inhabited and took care of these lands before the City of Portland had its name, the host peoples of these lands are the Chinook, the Kalapuya, the Clackamas and the Tlatskanai. The City of Portland, Oregon was issued a territorial charter in 1851, incorporating 2.1 square miles of land. In 1913 The Natives Land Act was the first major piece of segregation legislation passed by the Union Parliament. (It was replaced in 1991.) The act decreed that whites were not allowed to buy land from natives and vice versa. While the commission system flourished in United States cities during the progressive reforms of the early 20th century, it has been replaced in most major cities for more favorable systems of government. Portland is the last city with a population greater than 100,000 to use this format and has not changed it since it was first approved by voters in May of 1913, the same year the Natives Land Act was passed. It's no secret that Portland was built off of colonial violence and racism. I believe that it is time for the City of Portland to have a government overhaul and address our racist history. In order to heal from trauma and move forward, we must first acknowledge our City's failings and take action in our government to heal our community. As an indigenous woman and your prospective Commissioner I will push to amend outdated racist policies and implement new inclusive policies that will enrich our communities and allow our city to thrive.

 

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