Candidates for Portland Mayor

A questionnaire was sent out in May 2012 to each candidate for Portland Mayor and below are the answers by question grouped by issue submitted by each candidate. To skip to a specific issue area, use the links below.

- Value of Jobs
- Community Attitudes on Economic Growth
- Business License Tax
- Urban Renewal
- Transportation
- Central City
- Education
- Higher Education
- Land Use
- Small Business
- Communities of Color
- Cost and Efficiency of City Government
- International Trade
- Economic Development
The Alliance's 2010 Checkup on the Portland-Region's Economic Health found that metro Portland per capita wages and incomes were lagging relative to the national average and peer metropolitan areas.
1. Do you agree that Portland wages and incomes are lagging relative to the national metropolitan average?
Eileen Brady Yes. Portland needs a mayor who takes this problem seriously. There is a myth here that we can't have a thriving economy and maintain our progressive values. I have a long history of creating jobs with companies and with non profits that reflect the values of our community. As Mayor, I will put this experience to work to build our local economy.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes.
2. What in the report disturbs you the most?
Eileen Brady I am most disturbed that Multnomah County has lost over 25,000 private-sector jobs since 1997. As Mayor, it will be my number one priority to slow and reverse this trend.
Charlie Hales What disturbs me most is the impact our low wages are having and will continue to have on our housing market.
Jefferson Smith 29th & 26th. Oregon's rank in the U.S. News ranking of college undergraduate and graduate programs respectively, out of 50 states. (Note: I am also curious about how Clark County commuting wage earners are measured in the report.)
3. What would you do as a member of Portland City Council to improve wages and incomes?
Eileen Brady I will establish economic development liaisons to collaborate with and help to accelerate the growth plans of existing entities that provide family wage jobs and benefits, including OHSU, PSU and the Port of Portland. I will strongly support Greater Portland Inc.'s efforts to recruit high quality companies to the region. I will create an Entrepreneurial Help Center that will advocate for small business.
Charlie Hales As Mayor, I will continue the partnership with Greater Portland, Inc and end the self-destructive feud with manufacturing owners in North Reach so we can grow more of them.
Jefferson Smith The best social program is a job. Let's strengthen the working relationship between city hall, small businesses, and good corporate citizens. Let's grow local startups, with a focus on smart access to capital and helping small and mid-size businesses find new markets and new customers. We can address the dropout rate and job preparedness with stronger summer youth programs and better job training. We need to be a city that makes things. Let's have working rivers, with good jobs in manufacturing and on our Port terminals.
The Alliance and its partners contracted with Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall Inc. on a survey of Portland residents in 2011, which found the following results: When asked what issue elected officials should be most focused on, 71 percent of Portland residents picked jobs and the economy over the environment and sustainability.
4. Are jobs and the economy your top priority as you develop public policy?
Eileen Brady Yes. As Mayor, job creation will be my top priority.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes.
5. How will you balance jobs and the economy with the environment and sustainability?
Eileen Brady We must always strive for balance and "win wins" relative to protecting the environment and job creation. I have proven that we can promote sustainability and create jobs. For instance, New Seasons Market, one of Portland's landmark sustainable companies, has created 2,000 jobs with benefits. As Mayor I will support preserving most of West Hayden Island as a protected natural area, while setting aside a smaller portion for industrial development.
Charlie Hales I don't necessarily look at creating a balance between jobs and the environment; I believe that the environment and sustainability are part of our job-creation advantage we have in Portland. I intend to carry that further by continuing to support our clean technology and sustainable infrastructure economy which expands beyond the current PDC-identified clusters. A wide spectrum of design and manufacturing, food processing, and traded sector professional services such as engineers, architects, lawyers and business development specialists all contribute to our resurging economy. Additionally, I believe in using our existing taxes not simply to raise revenue but to give incentives to businesses that further the City's ethos. That's why under my administration, Portland would be the first city in the country to recognize B-Corp classified businesses, aka Public Benefit Corporations, and give them a lower tax classification under the Business License Tax. When I was a City Commissioner, I was often asked how I could favor development and still be an environmental champion. My answer was, and is, "Go look at the Pearl District." I'm a big believer in Oregon's land use system: outside the Urban Growth Boundary is for farming and forestry, inside is for industry and urban life. I believe in that social contract.
Jefferson Smith I will not pit the environment against the economy. We can maintain a tight urban growth boundary, while respecting the key role of industrial lands within the UGB, and focus on the health of our neighborhood businesses and the special role played by the central city. We can find plenty of room for both to flourish, especially if we have the right relationships and the right talent working through the details.
In the poll, 68 percent of respondents held the position that our region needs to change its priorities, and that it is time we focus more on creating family-wage jobs and less on issues like bike lanes and other sustainability issues that have gotten so much attention in recent years. Only 12 percent strongly disagreed with this position.
6. Do you agree that elected leaders need to focus more on supporting the creation of family-wage jobs and less on issues like bike lanes, sustainability and other issues that are not directly related to economic growth?
Eileen Brady I agree that we have not focused enough on creating jobs. That will be my top priority as Mayor. However, I don't believe that this is an "either or" choice. Sustainable businesses are a key part of our future and are vital to job creation and recruiting/retaining large and small employers. I see a Portland where our progressive entrepreneurs work directly with established Oregon industries to build a new vibrant economy.
Charlie Hales I am focused on creating more family-wage jobs. Having a multi-modal transportation system supports family-wage jobs.
Jefferson Smith As a resident and representative of East Portland, I see the need to focus on our economy and on essentials that impact everyone, like safe communities and our 59 miles of unpaved roads. Our economic future depends on playing to our strengths and avoiding false choices. Done right, global leadership in sustainability can promote family wage jobs. Any efforts towards sustainability must drive multiple values -- including prosperity and equity. Certainly more energy should focus on essentials that help all our employers, workers, and people thrive.
The City of Portland and Multnomah County are two of only a small number of communities nationally that have a local business income tax. The Alliance has been working for years to reduce the burden of this tax on small, owner-operated businesses that are particularly hard hit. While some progress has been made, the conversation has stalled during the recession.
7. Do you support reducing the impact of the business license tax on small businesses by increasing the Owners Compensation Deduction to $125,000?
Eileen Brady Yes. I believe Portland should be the best city in the country to start a small business. I support the plan adopted by the City in 2007 to increase the Owners Compensation Deduction to $125,000.
Charlie Hales I support reducing the impact of the business license tax on small businesses, and if increasing the Owners Compensation Deduction is the best way to do so, then let's discuss the right dollar amount to arrive at the impact that we want.
Jefferson Smith I am open to a conversation about relaxing the BLF to accomplish targeted goals. Though the business license fee is an important part of the city's general fund, I recognize it can impact competitiveness, especially when combined with a state tax structure that relies so heavily upon the personal income tax. If you'll work with me, I promise a good-faith effort to look at this.
8. If so, over what time period would you like to see this happen? If not, please explain your position.
Eileen Brady The original plan set a goal of increasing the deduction to $125,000 by 2012. Once elected, I will work to get this increase phased in as quickly as resources and budget constraints allow.
Charlie Hales I'd like discussions on the right amount to increase the Deduction to begin shortly after taking office.
Jefferson Smith  
The Alliance believes that the central city faces unique challenges because of the cost of construction, seismic standards and small block sizes and that urban renewal is a critical tool in ensuring the ongoing vitality of the central city core. At the same time, Portland State University's expansion, which has included three-year increases of 61 percent in research funding and 14 percent in enrollment, offers a unique opportunity to build private sector partnerships and foster investment and growth in the central city.
9. Do you support the creation of a new urban renewal district in the central city that encompasses Portland State University and the retail core of downtown?
Eileen Brady I'm in favor of the use of urban renewal and the creation of a district to support the revitalization of our downtown core and PSU. However, using tax increment financing for support of education and not for profit institutions provides unreliable and limited funds, unless we can collectively identify TIF revenue generating components to support the district. Done properly the revitalization will be a significant job creator.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Building national or world-class higher education in the city is one of the most important things we can do. In the big picture, retiring an urban renewal district or two would help to improve the overall health of our public sector finances, and I want to look at urban renewal in that context. Furthermore, we need to be judicious and collaborative with the County and schools in any new urban renewal zones. Still, we shouldn't remove urban renewal as a planning tool, and I am open to prudent expansion to help us achieve our top priorities.
The Alliance has long believed that a diversity of housing is needed in the central city and that urban renewal funds should be considered for workforce housing (80-100 percent of the Median Family Income) and low income student housing. Currently city policy for the use of the 30 percent set aside focuses heavily on housing for individuals below 30 percent of MFI (a maximum of 70-90 percent of set aside funds can be dedicated to 0-30 percent MFI in central city urban renewal districts), and prohibits the use of set aside funds for student housing, regardless of income.
10. Do you support broadening city policy to make low-income student and workforce housing eligible to compete for the 30 percent set aside funds?
Eileen Brady Portland State University is completing 900 units of student housing that was privately financed and will pay property taxes. Creating housing for PSU should be a priority. As of October 2011, I am still in the process of meeting with key stakeholders to hear their input on this issue.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith The set aside is an imperfect tool; it has limited power to address the displacement impacting our neighborhoods and schools. I support finding a permanent, meaningful source of funding for housing to take pressure off of the City and off of make urban renewal funding. Getting it -- which will require your thinking and help -- would allow for greater flexibility on the 30 percent set aside. As part of a strategy around a major PSU play, I would consider flexibility around student housing.
Urban renewal funds have been the primary source of funding for the city's economic development programs. While the Alliance recognizes that there are significant limitations on the use of these funds, it continues to believe that these programs are critical to the continued economic vitality of the city.
11. Do you support the continued use of urban renewal for economic development?
Eileen Brady Yes, but I think we need to be more measured in its use. URAs are a real estate development tool that Portland is currently trying to use in a convoluted way as a job development tool. Urban renewal should be used for its intended purpose. Using a 20th century tool to reduce blight for the goal of creating a 21st century economy will continue to be problematic.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. At the same time, we need to be more collaborative, more careful about displacement, and look as hard at retiring urban renewal zones as we do at starting new ones. Still, we should not remove urban renewal as a tool.
The Alliance is a strong supporter of investing in the city's multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including bicycle and transit investments. However, these investments should not be to the detriment of freight mobility and congestion reduction strategies which we believe are key to the city's future economic health and competitiveness. The Alliance believes the Columbia River Crossing is an important investment in achieving these goals. The Alliance supports accommodating multiple modes in the system while preserving and enhancing freight facilities. In the central city access, circulation and increasing trips is critically important to the success of the core as the region's major office center. Preserving the capacity of portals into downtown is a high priority.
12. Do you support policies that preserve portal capacity for autos and trucks into the central city?
Eileen Brady Yes.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. People need to get to work, and businesses need to deliver goods. These are critical elements of the the multi-modal plan that the PBA and I both strongly support. Our long-haul freight and local distribution are essential. We have unpaved roads spread from East Portland to Southwest. As Mayor, I will work hard for an effective and future-worthy transportation system to promote balance in where we spend our dollars.
13. Do you support the Columbia River Crossing project as proposed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and will you advocate for state and federal funding for its construction?
Eileen Brady Yes. I have fully explained my position on the CRC on my website. I support Governor Kitzhaber's plan to push for initial federal approval of the environmental impact statement, and once we have that, we must scale the project to a financially realistic option that gets Oregon a safe bridge now, increases multi-modal transit across the Columbia River and puts our tradespeople to work.
Charlie Hales No. I support a fundable, buildable project and I don't believe the current proposal meets those tests.
Jefferson Smith No. While this cuts my likelihood of earning your endorsement, my preference in three words would be "smaller, quicker, cheaper." Key funding streams are doubtful. If I'm wrong, it won't matter much -- the current City Council has voted on it, and the State and Feds have the conch. If I'm right, we'll need a Plan B -- something smaller, quicker, cheaper that prioritizes seismic safety and freight mobility. And we'll need to unite the various interests; as mayor I would work for that.
14. Do you support policies that prioritize freight movement and seek to reduce conflicts between freight and other modes?
Eileen Brady Yes, and of course this includes working closely with all stakeholders on Good Neighbor Agreements.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. Freight movement should be a top priority in transportation planning. With respect to the CRC, I think there may be a solution in uniting the interests of freight with the advocates for a robust multi-modal system. If Vancouver wants to boost its numbers of long-term commuters, then they need to pay their share. I think the critical need is to get the local Interstate commuters (including single-occupancy cars) out of the way of freight.
The Alliance believes that an economically vibrant central city plays a key role in the success of the city and the region's transportation, land use and economic development strategies. The central city faces multiple challenges, from high construction costs, to perceptions regarding crime to a concentration of low income services. The businesses in the central city not only invest heavily in their own properties and stores, but they also contribute millions each year to public services through the Clean & Safe District and multiple overlapping local improvement districts, SDC overlay areas and special assessments. Maintaining a clean and inviting environment is critical to the health of the retail and office businesses.
15. Do you support regulation of the sidewalk environment as outlined in the Sidewalk Management Plan, including prohibiting sitting or lying on certain areas and sidewalks?
Eileen Brady I'm aware that sidewalk management is extremely important for people who work, live or visit downtown. I also know that many community leaders have deep concerns about the impacts any program may have on our homeless population. I have not yet had the opportunity to explore options with all the stakeholders. As Mayor, I will make developing and implementing a policy that is effective, constitutional and compassionate a top priority.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith The sidewalk management plan is a start not an end. The City can build on the work that's been done and find better solutions to balance civil rights with a desire to keep sidewalks free of obstruction and harassment. We don't want tourists and shoppers being harassed, and while courts have consistently ruled against outlawing homelessness, let's avoid conflating homelessness with aggressive panhandling. More eyes on the street can reduce crime and harassment. Portland Police, Street Roots vendors, street musicians, food sellers, Downtown Clean & Safe personnel, and others can help us set a safe and welcoming tone.
The Clean & Safe District pays for the services of four Portland Police Officers who work in coordination with Clean & Safe security and dispatch. This coordinated effort provides tremendous benefit to the residents, visitors and employees in downtown.
16. Do you support the continued partnership between Clean & Safe and the Portland Police?
Eileen Brady Yes. I will seek additional partnerships for Clean & Safe to improve its effectiveness. In addition to police officers, mental health workers and housing specialists should provide ongoing support for Clean & Safe ambassadors.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes, as part of an overall community policing compact with the community. We all need to work together to ensure that visitors to downtown are confident that they will enjoy their visit and be safe. We also need to make sure our creative public safety solutions preserve civil rights and safety outcomes.
The central city has long battled drug dealing and prostitution. When the city did not renew the drug and prostitution free zones, an important tool to address this persistent and corrosive problem was lost. Recently, the city adopted illegal drug impact areas and has worked with the Multnomah County District Attorney to impose post-conviction exclusions from high drug activity areas.
17. Do you support the illegal drug impact area approach of post-conviction exclusions?
Eileen Brady I support it in a limited fashion. I believe that any kind of exclusion should be conviction based and should be monitored in conjunction with court oversight. I also support it so long as we allow people I access to the exclusion zones if they live, work or are receiving services there.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Post-conviction is an improvement over pre-conviction, which courts have invalidated. We still should be wary about just shuffling drug dealers around or excluding addicts from the very services that might help reduce addictions. Drug dealing and youth violence are threats to our quality of life, so I am open a range of strategies. Let's also address underlying issues. We don't have an effective overall drug policy, and we should focus on violent offenders. I would work to get more eyes on the street and more positive presences on our sidewalks, as we are working on with MAX stop safety in my district.
The Alliance has taken a leadership role in advocating for effective K-12 education in the region, including supporting thoughtful additional funding measures and efforts to improve outcomes. While the Alliance supports strong schools, we do not support strategies that unduly impact business viability or stretch the credibility and legal bounds of important economic tools like urban renewal.
18. Do you support creating so-called "satellite" urban renewal districts to transfer tax increment generated in one area to schools in another area?
Eileen Brady No.
Charlie Hales No.
Jefferson Smith Non-contiguous urban renewal zones should not be the norm, or even an option unless a causal link is shown between districts. Even then, I prefer a displacement mitigation fund, tied to alternative sources of funding (ideally regional) and based on empirical evidence of displacement. That said, the City Council made a commitment to urban renewal funding for a new school and community center in East Portland. We should not foreclose options until an alternative funding source is found. I welcome partnering with the PBA for a better solution.
19. How would you respond to a request to increase or impose a temporary surcharge on the business license tax to fund Portland schools?
Eileen Brady We obviously need to find a solution to our school-funding crisis but I would be reluctant to use city taxing authority to fill in for funding the voters had previously denied. Additionally, absent strong support from the business community, this is a strategy that would be destined to fail.
Charlie Hales While funding of Portland schools is a priority, adding surcharges or increasing the business license tax is not the mechanism for doing so. I'd vote no.
Jefferson Smith If we look to another local solution for schools, all options have to be on the table. Certainly not all of the burden should be put on businesses, but businesses should not necessarily be excluded. My current impression is that a surcharge on the business license tax would not be a measure of first or second resort.
20. Do you support the Cradle to Career effort, which aims to bring all education-related programs to the table on an overall coordinated approach to improve education outcomes in Multnomah County?
Eileen Brady Yes.
Charlie Hales Yes emphatically. A big platform issue in my campaign and a priority in my administration will be working with stakeholders to ensure that our entire education system once again takes its place as among the best in the country and a factor in attracting families to live in city neighborhoods. I will give particular focus to early childhood education, providing resources so that every Portland child enters kindergarten ready to learn. Community investment in early childhood education has a higher return on that investment than virtually any other investment that a city can make and I intend to be bold in making that investment.
Jefferson Smith Yes. Four additional thoughts going forward: 1) Let's underscore the laudable emphasis on community and family involvement. 2) Let's make sure we are also raising citizens, thinkers, and community participants. 3) Let's be driven by facts, education realities, and expertise on the ground. 4) Let's explore the linkages with amplified summer enrichment.
The Alliance believes that improving higher education is important to the long-term economic success of the region and the city. The Alliance has a goal of growing PSU, developing greater partnerships between PSU and OHSU, and expanding the partnerships between community colleges, universities and the K-12 system.
21. Beyond the possibility of a new urban renewal district, how would you use your position on city council to promote PSU, OHSU and other higher education institutions in Portland, and help leverage business development opportunities these institutions create?
Eileen Brady This will be one of my top priorities as Mayor. Once elected, I will immediately engage with our local higher education institutions to help develop their advanced manufacturing, applied research and incubator capacities. I will also assign a senior staff position dedicated to working directly with OHSU and PSU to further their expansion, research and development, and commercialization opportunities.
Charlie Hales Past is prologue- as City Commissioner I insisted that the City work with ALL Portland school districts- not just Portland Public Schools - and as Mayor, I will ensure that we do so again. As Commissioner I worked with Portland State University, the University of Portland and Concordia University on their University District Plans. As Commissioner, I championed the building of a community center on David Douglas-owned property, allowing this much-needed facility to be built with no land cost. It's easy for people to say they want to partner, but I've actually done it and will do it again. No one running for any city office has done as much partnering with educational institutions than I have, and that's a standard I intend to continue.
Jefferson Smith I strongly support this and will help in any way possible. A focus on tech transfer, partnered with venture capital, can generate vibrant spin-off businesses. I like the idea of strengthening relationships between PSU and OHSU. I will invest time and energy to help with funding--at the state, federal and private levels. Working to build or build on a world- or national-class higher education infrastructure is perhaps the most important thing the region can do to compete in the global knowledge economy.
The Alliance believes that land use decisions must balance the goals of environmental preservation and economic development and growth. Historically, economic development has taken a secondary position in these policy discussions. The Alliance believes that the success of the regional land use and transportation strategies require that land within the urban core be intensively developed in order to minimize the outward pressure on the urban growth boundary. That intensity of use can not be achieved if land use regulations are inflexible, unworkable or result in costs that discourage investment.
22. Do you support amending the city's adopted River Plan to allow for a fee in lieu of or off site mitigation option at the discretion of the developer?
Eileen Brady Yes. I support updating the City's adopted River Plan to reflect current environmental and economic development needs. The fee in lieu of or off site mitigation options provide needed flexibility in providing environmental enhancements for our community, but still allow development of important riverfront sites.
Charlie Hales Yes. I support significantly amending the River Plan and as Mayor I will revisit it.
Jefferson Smith If there is a way to create a mitigation regime in which true costs are internalized, and still maintain economic viability, then yes, I am open to this kind of approach. If the fee merely masks externalized costs and fails to compensate for damages done to river habitat, then we should be skeptical. We need adequate industrial land within the urban growth boundary, but we also want to find balance between harbor and habitat.
In July 2009, the Portland City Council passed a resolution directing staff to plan for 300 acres of West Hayden Island for marine industrial use.
23. Do you support annexation and zoning of sufficient land on West Hayden Island to provide for a viable marine industrial operation?
Eileen Brady Yes. I support setting aside a portion of land designated as industrial lands and a portion designated as a nature preserve. This is a classic example where we can find a "win win" solution for the economy and the environment.
Charlie Hales Yes. As Mayor I will lead discussions on what the specifics of that industrial use are. If we're going to use some of that land for industry, we need to ensure that we maximize that portion of the land for job creation rather than using that incredibly valuable port industrial land to create only a few new jobs.
Jefferson Smith Yes. We need sufficient industrial lands to maintain a robust regional economy, which was part of the bargain struck when we created the urban growth boundary. We have unique opportunities afforded to us along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. A strong Port of Portland is essential to our city's economy. We can have a plan for Hayden Island that promotes industry and restores open space. The 300 acre proposal marks a step in that direction.
The Alliance's 2010 Checkup on the Portland-Region's Economic Health found that 46 percent of net job creation between 1977 and 2005 came from firms with fewer than 50 employees. Small firms typically have very low margins and few financial reserves. Additional taxes, fees and regulations impact them significantly. The city has initiated some programs that assist small businesses and allocated modest funding toward these efforts in recent years.
24. How will you work to reduce the fees, taxes and regulatory burdens of small businesses? Would you support a city business income tax credit for small businesses that create jobs?
Eileen Brady Yes, I support a city business income tax credit for small businesses that create jobs.
Charlie Hales The city's permit process has once again become cumbersome. While many of the reforms that we established for residential permits are still in place, the complexity and inconsistency of commercial development review has become severe. I will initiate a full review of codes, fees and processes. I would support a city business income tax credit for job-creation.
Jefferson Smith I'm committed to developing and growing small businesses to drive economic growth. The findings of Oregon's Stage 2 Economic Development ("Economic Gardening") Task Force were illustrative. We'll need multiple tools in our toolbox. Targeted tax credits for projects that deliver real results should be one, but we should not break the bank. Other ideas: 1) Working with universities and support enterprises to boost access to business intelligence and market research. 2) Better access to, and circulation of, local capital. 3) Installing a small business permit specialist or organization to facilitate compliance with codes.
25. Do you support changes to the city's system development charges and development fees to reduce the burden on small businesses?
Eileen Brady Yes. As Mayor, I will propose reductions of SDC charges for targeted new and expanding businesses. This simple change can catalyze the creation of hundreds of new small businesses, and by reducing their start up costs will significantly increase their chances for success.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. I appreciate the difficulties of getting a new enterprise off of the ground. I would like to work with PBA and others on a new proposal to establish zero or low interest loans on SDCs and development fees for small business projects that create real results. This program might include potential clawback provisions, clear requirements for new job development, and loan guarantees. We can be fiscally responsible and make Portland a better place to start and grow businesses.
26. Do you support creation of an Office of Small Business to advocate within the city for the needs of small businesses?
Eileen Brady Yes. I have proposed the creation of an Entrepreneurial Help Center that will advocate for small business and coordinate with OAME, SCORE, PCC Small Business Center, PSU small business activities, the minority chambers of commerce and community banks.
Charlie Hales No. We have to stop creating new Offices and instead have the Board of Directors of City Government- the City Council- be the Office of Small Business.
Jefferson Smith Yes. I'm open to ideas on structuring such an effort. My instincts are to pull talented people from City staff and the private sector into small teams to solve problems. That team should focus first on helping small businesses navigate processes like contracting and permitting and then on advocacy and lobbying. As Bill Simmons has suggested, the Mayor's office ought to have something akin to a V.P. of Common Sense, to reduce odd results from dutifully following rules.
The economic status of communities of color in Portland is below the average for all residents. A recent analysis suggests that communities of color earn as little as half the community average. School performance, high school graduation and college participation and completion rates for communities of color are all below that for the white community. These disparities reduce workforce competitiveness and the attractiveness of Portland as a location of choice for entrepreneurs and also strain the community's social fabric.
27. How will you address the education and income disparities of communities of color in the Portland area?
Eileen Brady The most important thing we can do is to help our underserved communities find good paying jobs with benefits. I will prioritize recruiting and retaining employers who provide jobs for people who already live here. I will also continue the use of community benefit agreements, which outline clear goals for diversity in contracting in public projects. I will work with the school district to set high expectations of achievement.
Charlie Hales Fundamentally, closing the education and income gap among communities of color is about getting the best out of Portlanders. To reduce disparities, we need to acknowledge and address the challenges within and outside the classrooms that affect communities of color. As I mentioned, a key platform issue of mine is providing access to early childhood education for all Portland children. All major studies show that brain development and behavior patterns are most ready to be shaped before the age of 5. Not only will early childhood education allow our children to start their educational careers ready to learn, but will limit behavior problems in our grossly overcrowded classrooms. Additionally, we must encourage and support school districts to work closely with culturally competent organizations that can help specific populations such as NAYA, the Latino Network, and the Black Parent Initiative. Outside the classroom, we must align our economic development strategies with a complete Cradle-to-Career education strategy. As mayor, I will take full advantage of tools at the City's disposal to support the business development in ethnic communities and communities of color. From small business loans thru PDC and other lenders that can help start a family business to developing business districts that celebrate cultural heritage; I will work closely with all chambers of commerce and community leaders to develop and link business and education strategies that can help marginalized communities succeed. I will push the City to incorporate an economic development focus into all bureaus. The City can support business development in ethnic communities and communities of color through outreach and review of public contracting, urban renewal, microenterprise loans and business regulation. Further, the City can partner with culturally competent organizations, like those mentioned above to help students develop an educational plan, including higher education and community college, that will lead to jobs envisioned in the business strategy. Most importantly, we need to stop viewing income and education disparities strictly as problems in ethnic communities and communities of color. We are all Portlanders. Solving the achievement gap requires all Portlanders to be engaged regardless of race and ethnic heritage. As Mayor, I will provide the leadership that can bring Portland together. For Portland to be economically successful and livable, we need to ensure that all residents have access to opportunity.
Jefferson Smith This is a top priority. In the David Douglas district I represent, 73 languages are spoken and 78% of the students are on free or reduced priced lunch. 1) Gaps in summers drive achievement gaps. Let's build an expanded and innovative summer youth program. 2) I will focus on hiring and contracting. 3) We should mitigate displacement caused by housing prices. 4) Let's work with stakeholders to enhance neighborhood and parent involvement. 5) Let's not ridicule an Office of Equity; let's make it work.
The City of Portland has weathered the recent economic downturn better than many cities due to prudent and conservative budgeting and segregation of one-time only versus ongoing funds. At the same time, the city has a significant "shadow budget" and a great deal of the city budget (inter-agency charges) are never examined in the budget process. Finally, city tax and rate payers are concerned with the city's propensity to stretch the scope and mission of bureaus to fund pet projects that an objective analysis would say are outside the core mission of the bureau or the city.
28. Do you support third party oversight and ratemaking for the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services storm water rates?
Eileen Brady Yes, I support a Citizen Rate Review Board.
Charlie Hales I support third party oversight, but I do not support third party ratemaking. That is a core responsibility of the City Council.
Jefferson Smith I support third party oversight. I'm open but uncertain about third party rate-making. A third party rate-making body could curb waste or inappropriate spending, but it could also give us higher rates over time. City commissioners have put great effort into shrinking bureau rate requests. City commissioners, who have the authority to replace bureau managers and directors, may have a greater ability to demand results from bureaus than an independent body.
29. Do you support a zero-based or outcomes-based budget process or similar approach that moves beyond the current services budget model?
Eileen Brady Yes. We must find a way to change the current budget process which too often leads to the development of small pet projects while we continue to fall behind in the maintenance of public assets such as buildings, roads and sidewalks. We must have an outcomes based budget that focuses on basic city services, infrastructure maintenance and strategic goals such as job creation.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. As a State Representative, I championed outcomes-based budgeting by preserving some semblance of the Progress Board benchmarks. I championed budget transparency and put the whole state budget online. I carried the bill to reduce middle management in state government, and I was on the performance-based budgeting work group. We also must partner with government workers on these efforts. We are not going to get great government by attacking them more than we listen to them. The scandal over parking meter contracts might well have been avoided with better listening.
30. Do you support using the budget process to determine the true costs of inter-agency cross charges and promote efficiencies and if so, how?
Eileen Brady Yes. I will be aggressive in making sure that all aspects of city government are efficient including how we handle internal services. I am aware that often due to federal requirements for accounting for federal dollars used by the city, different departments account for internal charges in different ways. I would like to find a uniform way for departments to charge one another.
Charlie Hales Yes. There are many opportunities to use the budget process to improve the efficiency of city government and to revisit current practices. I have emphasized the need for a comprehensive review of overhead versus direct services functions and positions throughout the city structure. I will rely heavily on the PBA and on key advisors like recently-retired Ken Rust to incisively review and reform the budget.
Jefferson Smith Yes. The centralization of administrative functions is an experiment about 10 years old, and it's not clear we have better results. A projected $15 million enterprise business system that was promised to save money has come in at $60 million, with little evidence of ongoing cost savings. I support fresh looks at our administrative structures. Technology in particular has changed drastically, and we may find far less expensive and more effective administrative solutions.
According to a 2009 Brookings Institution study, Portland ranks second nationally in U.S. metro areas in terms of export value growth between 2003 and 2008. One quarter of Oregon's manufacturing jobs and income comes from international trade. Trade supports some 44,300 jobs in Oregon, with 88 percent of Oregon's exporters being small- and medium-sized businesses as of 2008.
31. How will you promote international trade as a member of city council?
Eileen Brady I will work with the State economic development department and Greater Portland Inc. to identify likely prospects for promoting and increasing international trade, and then aggressively implement our plan.
Charlie Hales As Mayor I will be part of Portland's marketing effort, both domestically and internationally, and I will take that responsibility as seriously as my other duties. As a businessperson in the private sector I saw firsthand how many other cities lost most of their manufacturing base and their products for export. Now, only 1% of American businesses are doing any exporting at all (and 50% of those exporting to only one country). Portland need not be afraid of international competition, and to assist that effort I support PDC's transition from an urban development agency to an economic development agency. I will work with them to stock the innovation pipeline for new markets around the world, and work to make Portland a national export model. I also will continue the City's pilot project with the Brookings Institution.
Jefferson Smith I learned a bit more as an early member of the legislature's fledgling Export Caucus, and as Mayor I would absolutely work to support our export economy. I want the Willamette and the Columbia to be working rivers. I want to help Portland businesses find new markets and new customers. I will work hard to build an effective international trade strategy in concert with industry leaders, the Port, the Governor's office, and efforts like the Best Practices trips.
32. Will you publicly support local, state and federal policies that promote international trade and send the message to the international trading community that Portland is a welcoming community for international investors?
Eileen Brady Yes.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes. I will work very hard to build an international trade strategy focused on improving our exports. It's a matter of balance, and I recognize that imports are a big part of our economy. I won't support a race to the bottom. We want our exporters and our workers to be on competitive ground.
The Alliance supports city efforts to retain and grow existing businesses and recruit new firms to the city. Broad regional consensus has been reached that the public-private partnership, Greater Portland, Inc., should play a central role in the city and regional strategies. At the same time, the city's Economic Development Strategy noted the overdependence of the city's economic development programs on urban renewal and urged greater general fund support.
33. Do you support city financial participation in Greater Portland, Inc.?
Eileen Brady Yes, and the city must work with Greater Portland Inc. to make certain we are aligned as to outcome when measuring success. We need to focus on recruiting large west coast employers such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google to the Portland region.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Yes.
34. Do you support allocating additional general fund resources to economic development programs?
Eileen Brady Yes, Absolutely. As Mayor, my number one focus will be job creation and the further development of a sustainable and vibrant economy.
Charlie Hales Yes.
Jefferson Smith Two thoughts as guideposts: 1) We should be disciplined about results. 2) We should be careful about committing general fund dollars until we have a sense of the budgetary position we face. That said, there are opportunities for economic development that can't well be seized by the imperfect tools of urban renewal dollars or tax breaks.