Candidates for Council Position 4 / Mingus Mapps

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?

One of the reasons I am running for office is to bring equity to East Portland.  The City has neglected those communities for far too long.  The neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue were annexed by the City in the 1980s.  But they have never fully been incorporated.  East Portland is still waiting for crosswalks, parks, paved roads and adequate police protection.   It is time the City fulfill the promises we made to East Portlanders nearly two generations ago.  Here’s how we can get there:

Make equity a priority for East Portland a priority in the budget process.

Elect members of City Council through neighborhood-based electoral districts. East Portland deserves to have its own representative on Council.

Focus on customer service.  Recognize that East Portland residents have unique needs.

 

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?

People who live east of 82nd have been locked out of economic opportunity for too long.  On City Council, I will fight to build an economy that works for all Portlanders.  I will pursue at least four strategies to bring more family wage jobs to East Portland.

Build new public infrastructure in East Portland

Adopt pro-labor policies

Make it easier for East Portlander to commute to and from work

Use NPIs and Prosper Portland to promote equitable economic development.

First, on City Council, I’ll work to bring family wage jobs to East Portland by voting to fund infrastructure projects in East Portland. I will prioritize projects that pay workers a fair wage, while also sparking new economic development in East Portland.

Second, let’s make the jobs that are in East Portland better.  East Portland is already an important employment hub.   Thousands of people who live east of 82nd work in occupations such as food preparation, building maintenance, personal care, or agriculture.  The problem is too many of these jobs pay poorly.   That is one of the reasons I support unions. Unions help workers negotiate for better pay, better benefits, and better conditions on worksites.  When I am on City Council, I would support Project Labor Agreements, Community Benefits agreements, and Labor Peace agreements for projects receiving city funds. Also, I will push for policies that promote family-wage work, like paying prevailing wage rates for city funded projects and union apprenticeship programs.

Third, one of the barriers to employment is East Portland is the lack of public transportation options, which connect residents to employment hubs.  That’s why, when I’m on City Council, I will work to make it easier for East Portland residents to take public transportation to work.   East Portlanders deserve better bus service, especially along 122nd, 148th, and 162nd. 

Finally, as the former Executive Director of the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Partnership Initiative, I am excited by the opportunities NPIs and Prosper Portland can play in bringing family wage jobs to Portlanders who live east of 82nd.

 

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?

Every neighborhood East of 82nd is at high risk for displacement.  That is one of the reasons I oppose the Residential Infill Project.  While City Hall has failed to come up with anti-displacement plan for East Portland, I have a vision for how City Council can promote development without displacement.  These are some of the anti-displacement policies I support:

Require advance 90-day written notice to a tenant if the owner plans to sell, demolish, or redevelop their home.

Earmark Construction Excise Tax (CET) revenue from construction in single-dwelling zones as a source of subsidy for affordable units in single-dwelling zones.

Property tax exemption for any regulated affordable units built on-site, for the duration of the affordability restriction

Preserve affordable housing in neighborhoods undergoing rapid economic development.

Build enough affordable housing to stabilize housing costs in neighborhoods undergoing rapid economic development.

Pay attention to the quality of life issues that deter Portlanders from spending time and money in distressed business districts.

Expand community non-profit home repair and rehabilitation assistance programs to cover a greater number of households.

 

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

When I am on City Council, I will make funding street improvements in East Portland a top priority.  I am well aware of the inadequacy of East Portland’s infrastructure.  As Executive Director of Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Partnership Initiative, I lobbied the state and city to provide Portlanders with basic street infrastructure improvements.  I spent years trying to get ODOT and PBOT to build a crosswalk on Sandy Boulevard near 118th.  I have written scathing letters to City and School authorities because too many of the “safe routes to schools” in East Portland are not safe.  I believe Portland will never be a complete city until we finish building basic infrastructure in East Portland.  That is why, when I am on City Council, I’ll follow through on the infrastructure projects promised East Portlanders. 

 

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 believe that getting East Portland right is the key to making Portland the best city it can be.  The City has never devoted enough resources or ambition in East Portland.  If City Hall did invest in East Portland, we would have a more equitable and robust city.  That is why, when I am on City Council I will focus on bringing equity to East Portland.

Within the next 10 years, I hope to erase the inequality in service delivery and infrastructure between East Portland and the rest of the city.  Ten years from now, East Portland should be a great place to raise kids.  That means building complete, walkable neighborhoods and more parks and greenways.  East Portland should be health, connected, civically engaged.  Also, I want to erase the wealth gap between East Portland and the rest of the city.  That is why I will work to promote home ownership in East Portland, increase high school graduation rates, and reduce unemployment, while also fighting gentrification.

 

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