Candidates for Council Position 2 / Sam Chase

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?

The city must lead a transparent and inclusive process that supports and empowers neighborhoods and culturally specific communities, and involves business and community leaders east of 82nd Avenue. When we support communities where disparities are greatest, our entire economy and community benefits. I’m proud to have the endorsement of APANO in recognition of my support for culturally specific communities and communities east of 82nd.  

Our current form of government has greatly contributed to the inequitable distribution of resources in Portland. I support and will champion a major system change to one with a centralized city manager, where commissioners are elected by district, and aren’t in charge of bureaus directly. I’ll bring my deep experience with different government forms to ensure we understand all the benefits and challenges of potential new systems.

I have worked closely with the city of Portland’s commission form of government, as Nick Fish’s chief of staff, as Gretchen Kafoury’s Housing Policy Advisor, and as an affordable housing advocate winning policy change at Prosper Portland and within the city bureaus. I will be able to act quickly to address inequities in support of East Portland and culturally specific communities.  I’ll bring my record of winning resources and support for underserved communities to rebuild our economy and small business opportunities, affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, community centers, pools, and parks.


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?

Jobs provide the long-term solution we need to truly address poverty. As a life-long champion for affordable housing, healthcare, and homeless services, I recognize that these critical tools only act as a safety-net for people who are unable to access living wages or are unable to work. I will bring my success winning major living wage jobs at Metro and in the nonprofit sector to the city. Prior to the current pandemic, our economy was thriving and quality of life was exceptional--for many in our city. Yet for many others, jobs, services, and amenities like parks and more have been out of reach. We must support small business and living wage jobs to get our economy back on track as quickly as possible--that will support our tax-base and ability to pay for city services. I will expand Portland programs and identify state and federal resources for displaced service industry workers and others impacted by the pandemic.

Even when we re-build, many jobs in the health sector and construction will remain unfilled, our opportunity is significant. Building the supply of workers for health and construction helps everyone. Investing in culturally specific communities and services to create jobs, train apprentices, and secure contracts is one component that I’ll advance. I’ve been a champion for the Career Construction Pathways Project, and will work toward its success at the city. I championed the Convention Center Hotel which will pay its full share of property taxes that fund human services in schools. Now in place, it will help bring back our tourism and convention economy more quickly.


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?

My plan to address this issue will match the scale of our crisis with comprehensive, big solutions, and structural change that will apply accountability and research to invest in solutions that work. I will implement my Fair Share Housing and Homlessness Plan, which will require the region's cities and counties to build shelter and affordable housing in EVERY community throughout our region. I’ll let culturally specific communities take the lead--communities of color are disproportionately affected by homlessness. I will set aside resources to invest in service providers to identify and implement programs that specifically lead with race as a determining factor on how to deliver services.

Additionally my plan will:

Create 2,000 Permanent Supportive Housing Units.

Add 5,000 shelter beds. Smaller shelters throughout Portland that include services to ensure residents are successful in transitioning to long-term housing.

Prioritize Access for those with the greatest need.

Increase the supply of affordable housing. I will champion well-planned housing along transportation corridors and in commercial areas where infrastructure already exists, and other areas where impacts to existing neighborhoods will be modest.

Homeless services--I will champion investments in services such as case management, mental health support, addiction treatment, and job training.

Safe camping --like Dignity Village and R2D2 that create safe, self-regulated environments.


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

I have been endorsed by APANO much in part for my work with culturally specific communities around transportation. Together, we planned the Division Transit Project, and approached regional efforts to fund transportation by leading with race.

I championed and won an initiative to secure discounts for low-income transit riders. I’ll make free youth pass a priority, so that all children--regardless of their school--are able to access transit.

Additionally, I will continue to be a champion for safe routes to school, rapid bus lanes, safer streets, sidewalks and bike lanes. Portland is failing at Vision Zero because our infrastructure does not support our efforts. We need to add miles of new sidewalks and improved bikeways, we need to add hundreds of marked pedestrian crossings and thousands of new street lights, particularly in East Portland. We must also create more bus lanes and transit-priority signals to keep pedestrians and commuters safe.


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

As a city commissioner, I’ll make sure East Portland is empowered as part of our long-term decision-making, that it will have representation in a new council form of government, and that it provides the highest quality of life for Portland residents including parks facilities, safe and available transportation, affordable housing and living wage jobs.


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