Candidates for Mayor / Mark White

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?

First, East Portland needs to significantly increase voter registration and vote in large numbers.  I heard a number of years ago that East Portland had the lowest voter turnout in the City.  If this is still the case, we must completely flip this in order to make our collective voice heard loud and clear.

Second, we must demand direct representation on City Council thru the addition of district-elected representatives.  I have an example of what this might look like on my campaign site.  It can be viewed via this link:  http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=165.  

Third, we must actively participate in the upcoming Charter Commission and demand that equitable distribution of infrastructure and services is mandated in our City Charter.  More information on the Charter Commission can be viewed via this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=157.

Over the last two to three decades, the City has segregated huge numbers of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and families to East Portland without ensuring needed services and infrastructure are in place.  The time to step up and make things right has long passed and this must be dealt with immediately.  This will be much easier with a Mayor from East Portland.  The addition of district-elected representatives will allow that advocacy to continue for decades to come.

Additional revenue will be required to increase services and infrastructure.  To assist in this, I will keep all Bureaus and Offices under the Mayor’s office, but have the entire City Council work together as a team overseeing each Bureau and Office.  Oversight efforts will be conducted in Council Chambers, will be open to the public and provide opportunities for the public to testify, and recorded for public access.  I believe this high level of transparency will lead to much greater accountability as well as saving large sums of tax revenue by eliminating pet projects, a sense of personal ownership by individual Council members, and by eliminating frequent restructuring of Bureaus and Offices.  The ability for the public to see the process as it happens and make their voices heard on what they think is helpful as well as what is wasteful and unnecessary, will ensure City Council members are held accountable as planning and development decisions are being made.

 

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 have a paper on my campaign site that discusses my plans to greatly expand the City’s food industry.  This effort has multiple areas of impact that includes public health and emergency preparedness in addition to the primary goals of economic development and addressing food insecurity.  Out of this effort, I hope to facilitate the construction of several small-scale food manufacturing facilities.  There are numerous locations in East Portland where these facilities can be individually sited or clustered and I hope to ensure as many as possible are constructed in East Portland.  For more information, please use this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=146.

The above effort has a direct tie-in to an economic development program I created several years ago for my neighborhood here in East Portland.  The concept has a couple of additional goals besides creating economic prosperity, including reducing or eliminating gentrification and the integration of veterans into the community as part of an effort to facilitate a successful transition into civilian life.  This community-owned effort capitalizes on the incredible diversity we enjoy in East Portland and provides community members the ability to invest in the effort thru financial contribution, sweat equity, or a combination of both, and subsequently benefit financially from its success.  It includes retail options on the ground floor, an International Marketplace and other small community member businesses on one or more floors, and veteran housing on the top floor.  For information on the veteran component of the effort, please use this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=224.

I also have another program model for a large Family Entertainment Center, which I plan to locate in East Portland.  For more information on this, go to the last segment of the Revenue Generation paper on the campaign site via this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=162.  My vision for this particular effort would be to increase revenue generation by utilizing Portland Youth Corps participants, but there will still be numerous economic opportunities for the general public.  For information on the Portland Youth Corps, my program model for a tuition-free two year online college degree in exchange for community service, please use this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=151.

 

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 immediately pursue restructuring our business tax code to provide incentives in the form of business tax credits to those who provide affordable housing and significant business tax penalties for those who do not.  Making rents as affordable as possible is the quickest and most effective way to stabilize rents, prevent displacement, and ensure the economic stability of Portlanders.  

In addition to the community-owned economic development model described in the previous question, East Portland can play a major role in providing affordable housing and subsequently contribute to eliminating gentrification.  East Portland has numerous properties that are much larger than most residential properties in inner Portland.  Tax incentives can be provided to single family residential properties to encourage the construction and installation of mobile tiny homes, which will allow us to significantly increase affordable housing while still allowing for us to have these properties available for denser housing many decades down the line when we will need them even more than now.  In addition, I will aggressively incentivize multi-story affordable housing projects along major roadways with a focus on 82nd Avenue, which has the potential to add thousands of new housing units and is already well connected to public transportation and retail businesses.  More thoughts on affordable housing and addressing homelessness are available on the campaign site.

 

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

My intention is to focus on installing basic infrastructure in areas most in need, which will place East Portland at or toward the top of several lists.  In support of this effort, I have a program model to help install sidewalks at a significantly reduced cost, which is inspired by the nonprofit Friends of Trees.  This model can be expanded to include other needs such as the paving of gravel roads and the repair of existing sidewalks, all being done at a significantly lower cost than what it currently costs to install them.  You can view this paper on the campaign site via this link — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=171.

Currently, potholes are filled when a member of the public notifies the City of the problem.  I intend to have the City take a more proactive approach to road maintenance by creating an ongoing roadway repair program.  Systematic filling and patching of potholes and fissures on all major roadways on a continuous basis will extend the life of our roadways for as long as possible before repaving is necessary.  This should also provide savings of transportation funds that can then be applied toward underfunded transportation needs or the expansion of transportation-related options where needed.

 

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

Below are a number of goals and accomplishments I would like to see for East Portland by 2030.  The strategy to get there includes:  a Mayor from East Portland to get the ball rolling, East Portland elected district representatives on City Council, an authentic effort of government to direct effort and resources to areas most in need, and the elimination of fiscal waste that allows for more revenue to be available for historically neglected areas of the City.

• David Douglas and Parkrose School Districts receiving revenue from property taxes for at least six years made possible thru the dismantling of urban renewal areas that currently keep that money.

• Designating 122nd Avenue as ‘Portland’s International Avenue’.  No name change, just street sign tops that identify it as ‘Portland’s International Avenue’ and using that designation in marketing East Portland as a cultural destination within the City.

• Installation of at least 50 miles of sidewalks and curbs as well as curb cuts thru implementation of a sidewalk installation model — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=171.

• At least two district-elected City Council members representing East Portland residents

• Thriving business communities throughout East Portland, including a Family Entertainment Center and at least one community-owned mixed-use development

• Gentrification effectively eliminated.

• Construction begun or completed for a west side campus of Mt. Hood Community College that might also include a multicultural center, library, and/or community center.

• Four to five years of East Portland youth graduated from the Portland Youth Corps.

• At least 50 crosswalks installed.

• Sewer discount available for at least eight years — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=174.

• Thriving communities supported by fully funded neighborhood associations.

• All graffiti removed within 48 hours.

• Integration of residents from at least 20 adult residential care facilities into community volunteer efforts such as graffiti abatement and can and bottle drives — http://www.southofholgate.com/?page_id=162.

• At least one major cultural event conducted in East Portland for four or more years.

• All food deserts eliminated.

• Free or reduced lunch rates at all school districts down to at least 50%.

• Most dangerous intersections and roadways in East Portland down by at least 60%.

• At least two new food manufacturing companies based in East Portland.

• At least 1,000 new trees planted in East Portland neighborhoods with an emphasis on Douglas firs.

 

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