Reason: As a renter who organizes for housing justice with vulnerable low-income renters, I am intimately familiar with the catastrophic impact of housing-status based discrimination, the brunt of which is felt by houseless folks. To assert a right to eat and share food, and rest or move freely in public spaces, and to occupy a legally parked vehicle, is a demand for basic dignity and humanity. If we, as a society, aren’t willing to find a way to provide decent, zero-barrier, permanent housing—for free—to anyone who needs and wants it (ie invest in massive expansion of public housing), then we must accept our civic and social responsibility for the adverse outcomes of housing as a moralistic pay-to-play system, as well as for generations of housing and economic policy baked in racism and a systematic disinvestment in the social safety net at every level. We have lots of people who need homes, and lots of empty homes that those people aren’t allowed to live in; and once you are homeless, it’s not even about not having enough money for housing anymore. If you’re lucky enough to avoid run-ins with the police while trying to attend to your basic needs for survival, houselessness itself, as a status, becomes its own scarlet letter, on the psyche especially. This is on all of us for tolerating this form of dehumanization, so much that it is status quo. We need a complete hegemonic shift in how we think about land and housing, and the social contract of being in a thriving community with one another. To get there we need to listen to and take seriously the voices and demands of those living the struggle, and follow their lead as they forge the path forward. That means championing the initiatives driven by grassroots groups such as Right2Survive, Sisters of The Road, Hygiene4All. I absolutely support all the planks of right to rest, as well as the additional planks of the more comprehensive Homeless Bill of Rights campaign. I fully support an end to sweeps, and a comprehensive and retroactive decriminalization of houselessness, including expungement and amnesty. In service of this I will always follow the the lead and guidance of the houseless community. I commit to incorporating housing-status into my equity lens when evaluating policy and its impacts, and I commit to having a dedicated liaison to the houseless community in my office -- ideally someone with lived experience with houselessness. I am committed to being responsive and accountable to the houseless community.. As an extension to decriminalizing houselessness, I seek to prevent it as well. Evictions are a primary driver of houselessness. Policies and programs that prevent eviction, ideally well before the papers are filed, are powerful tools at reducing homelessness. These programs would include reactive measures such as a massive expansion of eviction defense resources and easily accessible short term rent assistance, but should also include more proactive resources and policies to ensure sustainable housing stability. With houselessness prevention in mind, I helped write and pass Portland’s historic Relocation assistance ordinance (relo). It abruptly ended the practice of no-cause evictions in the city of Portland, a practice that was becoming epidemic and resulting in dramatic increases in houselessness among families, seniors, people with disabilities, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve shown up in eviction court dozens of times, as an ad hoc volunteer advocate, to be a knowledgeable support person for folks frozen with fear over losing their housing. I've helped organize several tenant unions and have seen first hand how organizing in low-income complexes creates community and solidarity that prevents homelessness. The solution to houselessness is housing people. I am committed to continue working to house the houseless and implement solutions to keep people housed. Relocation assistance, SB 608, and the FAIR ordinance are important first steps, but there is much more work to be done. We must continue to implement bold solutions and hold our local and state governments accountable for their failures. We cannot continue to criminalize the people most impacted by our systematic neglect, and instead fill the cracks so many are slipping through.
FOR A FAIR POLICE CONTRACT THAT SERVES THE PUBLIC
Reason: I support the four proposals of the Portland Police Reform Network as reasonable steps toward police accountability. I plan to attend public meetings in support of these demands during the city’s ongoing bargaining with the police union. The PPB is one of Portland’s most powerful institutions in the city, and as such, it has a responsibility to the public to prove itself trustworthy and accountable. The PPB itself released a series of surveys in which residents were asked their perceptions of the police. These responses showed that communities of color distrust the police, while a broader section of the population feels their concerns are not listened to. The surveys also indicated that the public dislikes the militarized appearance of the police, especially the riot police. Other data released showed that police continue to pull over people of color at much higher rates. This is unacceptable. There have been several high-profile police shootings, including the tragedy of the shooting of seventeen-year-old Quanice Hayes, who died unarmed. This is unacceptable. And the problems that have allowed these injustices to persist must be remedied. The proposals laid by the PMPC are good first steps in this direction, though there is much more to do, such as addressing a culture of racism that expresses itself in the above-mentioned disproportionate policing. The mis-allocation of police resources must also be corrected, most notably that 50% of arrests last year were homeless people, and expensive and largely-unnecessary police presence at peaceful demonstrations.
OREGON DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE PEOPLE
Reason: Yes, I support the Oregon District Attorney for the People campaign. The platform offers common-sense demands that will appeal to the broader public, and they are long overdue. As a housing activist, I am particularly interested in demands 1, 3, 4, and 6 because I have witnessed how all those points interweave with our city's abysmal track record of housing and keeping all of its residents housed. Demand 2 is of interest to me because positively affecting and involving youth now is what will help us make lasting change. One of my plans is to fight for a youth-held voting seat on the city council. Of course youth offenders should be offered programs and incentives—especially jobs programs—instead of punitive measures that have proven not to work and to have ruined many lives. The DA has a powerful role in curtailing the disproportionate stops, arrests, and convictions of people of color, and police should be aware that when they submit a report to the DA, there will be high expectations around the explanation of why the individual was stopped, as well as why an arrest was made, especially if such arrests aren’t equally common among the broader population.
TENANT PROTECTION ORDINANCE
Reason: This is a policy that I have assisted in developing, strongly support, and will be a leader and champion for. The recent passage of significant local and statewide tenant protections means that renters in Portland are sleeping a bit easier now that it’s harder for landlords to retaliate and discriminate against them with no cause evictions or very large rent increases. But other jurisdictions with similarly strong protections such as rent control, have had to create additional protections against bullying, harassment, and constructive eviction -- when a tenant is essentially forced to move out (i.e. evict themselves) due to a hostile, dangerous, or otherwise untenable living environment. As a tenant organizer I have seen a few landlords who should be in jail, not aggressively intimidating disabled senior citizens so they can raise the rent when their tenant “voluntarily” moves out. We cannot waste time in passing this policy, our most vulnerable renters are living in fear. The Tenant Protection Ordinance is an attempt to end this behavior and to empower tenants who are in difficult situations. People have a basic right not to live in fear, and their homes should be a place of sanctuary. Landlords or property managers who disturb this sanctuary need to be held accountable, which the Tenant Protection Ordinance aims to do. I will also be championing a Right to Organize ordinance for tenants who want to organize tenant unions in their communities. As an appointed commissioner on Portland's Rental Services Commission, I am an engaged participant in all conversations related to rental registry, data collection, and other goals of the Tenant Protection Ordinance. All five goals are critical to its success and a healthier housing ecosystem. There is an established precedent for these tools and policies in other jurisdictions around the country. Portland should take the lead, and do so with an organizing strategy to ensure that Oregon follows suit.
UP NOW! UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL IN MULTNOMAH COUNTY
Reason: I am a mother of three and raised my first child as a teen mother who struggled with poverty. Even with generous subsidies and discounts through various programs and scholarships for students, or while working full time at a few dollars over minimum wage, paying for childcare and preschool was a struggle that I had to confront every single month. I still tense up when thinking about the many payment plans I had to make at PSU's Helen Gordon, a fantastic preschool that my daughter loved, but I lost my subsidy to when I transferred schools. It didn’t get much better ten years later when I had my boys. Even with a partner and being dual income professionals, and even with a modest family discount from a beloved child care provider, the costs and limited options for childcare and preschool were a constant source of emotional and financial stress for my family. When my youngest finally aged out of needing childcare I didn’t notice having more money in the budget (because there was never enough), but I did notice feeling like my financial situation was much more stable and predictable; I noticed feeling less stressed, overall. And when I’m less stressed, I’m a better mother. When you factor in low wages and high rent, the financial burden of childcare is crushing, and unacceptable for any society. I hope that the UP Now! campaign is a first step toward universal public childcare in Portland (and beyond). I’m especially glad that the campaign focuses on taxing the rich, which is a centerpiece of my campaign for city council. I fully support this policy and will do whatever I can to help get it passed.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Reason: I absolutely support this policy and will be a vocal and active public supporter of SJR18. This kind of meaningful campaign finance reform will help root out the type of corruption that we’ve been accepting as “normal” in Oregon; re-create broad trust in government, allowing elected officials to do the good work they were elected to do; and rebuild our state's tarnished reputation in this regard. It takes a deliberate effort to fight the moneyed interests who benefit from the status quo. My campaign supports progressive actions such as the Open & Accountable Elections Program and pledged to not accept corporate donations, and to limit contributions to $250. Not only does this program make it possible for candidates like me to run a competitive campaign with fairly compensated staff, but it compels the participation of other candidates who could easily outspend me by accepting large corporate donations. This does more than level the playing field, it actually makes it materially harder for moneyed interests to buy elections and influence. I believe in the power of the people, and we can’t have a good democracy if you can win elections without connecting with the people, or talking to them. I will continue to support all meaningful campaign finance reform that empowers the people and limits the influence of market driven industry groups.
Reason: Yes, I support a Municipal Bank and think that Portland is overdue for such an experiment. The community would benefit from having a public, transparent banking institution allowing the public to be aware of where money is coming from and where it’s going, as opposed to the current, opaque system of city revenue and expenditure. We should be expanding public services, not cutting them, and a public bank can help us generate revenue and transparently distribute it to areas that are most in need of investment. Such a bank easily could be started by a city-funded initial investment plus ongoing funding via progressive taxation, while some revenue generated by loans would also assist with funding.
Reason: Yes, I support municipal broadband. The lack of internet service is yet another example of structural inequality. For a short time, Portland had a free broadband service, and while the program did not extend to the whole city, many people benefitted from the service. We can use the lessons learned from that program to provide free, high-quality internet service. Many cities and countries around the world have recognized internet access as a basic right, and if Portland wants to maintain our progressive reputation, we should as well. Considering home access to the internet a “luxury” is simply inexcusable. Any plan that seeks to provide a truly equitable solution needs to be more than “affordable”. It needs to be free at the point of service so that no one is left behind.
COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT (CBA) FOR THE SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP OF THE WILLAMETTE RIVER
Reason: I’m a strong supporter of Community Benefits Agreements, especially in the case of the Superfund Clean-up. Using a CBA for environmental projects has been common practice in cities across the country, which makes sense--the communities disproportionately negatively impacted by environmental issues are also too often left out of the clean-up conversation, but CBAs greatly help promote and amplify their ownership of that process. If I'm elected, this is one area in which I'd like to follow in Nick Fish’s footsteps. A CBA for the clean-up is part of the environmental justice he often spoke of. I also like CBAs for the work opportunities they provide. When they are created by a coalition of labor and community groups seeking to bolster wages and benefits and attract workers who represent the local community and the historically disenfranchised within the community, they can provide quality jobs.