Candidates for Mayor / Teressa Raiford

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?

We need to invest more heavily in infrastructure and social services in East Portland. We need to expand service and increase transportation efficiency from East Portland into the City Center. We need to improve and expand our community centers and affordable housing opportunities for lower-income families in East Portland. We need to invest in black, latinx, LGBTQ, and immigrant owned businesses and work to improve our communities in ways that don't result in gentrification and continuing to push the vulnerable people out of our communities.


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?

We need to invest in black, latinx, and LGBTQ owned businesses and work to improve our communities in ways that don't result in gentrification and continuing to push vulnerable people to the periphery of our community. We need to repeal the law that prevents cities and counties in Oregon from raising their own minimum wage so we can increase local wages directly through a citywide minimum wage of at least $18/hr. In the mean time, we need to raise wages for all city workers to at least $18/hr, expand opportunities for city jobs into East Portland, and increases taxes on any private businesses that use tax payer money and don't pay a living wage of at least $18 per hour. We also need to expand public transportation in East Portland to help create more jobs in that part of our city.


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?

Portland's housing crisis is massive and is not new. Our current Mayor and city council have passed some important and helpful measures, but have not gone nearly far enough to provide relief and protection to renters and other vulnerable communities. We need a Housing First policy that gets houseless people in our city into stable housing and we need to do a better job of providing services to those who are experiencing houselessness, especially in East Portland. We need to look at and model the work being done in places like Seattle where they just passed a law prevent evictions during winter months when freezing cold weather makes houseless people particularly vulnerable. And we need to do everything we can to end the restrictions that are placed on us at the state level so we can implement local rent control measures and other policies to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing in our city.


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

We have to prioritize investment in East Portland including investment in public transportation and roads including better and covered bus stops and platforms. We have to investment in local businesses in East Portland, especially those that are owned by people from marginalized communities and that treat employees with dignity and respect, that pay a living wage and provide good benefits. We need to our healthcare system and ensure that everyone in our city and especially the most vulnerable communities have access to quality healthcare that doesn't cause a financial burden. We need to make sure that development is done responsibly and with the respect to the people who live in affected areas. And we need to increase taxes on big corporations and the wealthy to make sure that we have the funding needed to seriously and adequately invest in East Portland


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 see an East Portland where all residents, businesses, and the community live and thrive together. Where people feel safe and empowered to engage, participate, and improve their neighborhoods and community. I see an East Portland where everyone is welcome and supported and valued regardless of where they come from or what challenges they face. I envision an East Portland that is adequately represented in the halls of local government and power, and I see a system of participatory democracy where the people of East Portland have the tools and resources they need to be a large and vital part of that democracy. 

To get there, I will champion changes to the way our city is governed to ensure that equal representation for East Portland in our city government. I also believe that City Hall should be a community organizing space where people can come to engage and participate in our democracy and be leaders in spearheading organizing and policy initiatives to create a better and more just and equitable city.


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