Candidates for Metro Council - District 5

A questionnaire was sent to candidates in the Portland-metro region, and below are the responses in regard to issues that are important to the Alliance and the business community.

* indicates Alliance endorsed candidate.

1. The Allianceís primary focus for the 2016 election cycle will be to support those candidates and ballot measure proponents who clearly and publicly join us in opposing IP 28, the gross receipts tax measure, which will be so detrimental to Oregonís economy. What is your position on IP28?
Sam Chase* I remain hopeful that whether the measure passes or not, a more acceptable approach for both sides is possible. Metro has no special authority or influence in this area. That is why I will remain steadfast in my efforts where I can be most effective--to create jobs in areas where Metro does have an ability to create jobs and improve long-term prospects for our economy.

Specifics of my jobs plan are listed below and include increasing our regionís industrial lands and work force housing supply, building the convention center hotel, and building transportation and infrastructure that will serve job creating business now and for future generations.
2. Portland State University (PSU), part of the stateís higher education system, is considering a tax on payroll within the Portland region that they project will raise between $30 and $70 million to support PSU. What is your view on a potential regional payroll tax on employers to fund PSU?
Sam Chase* I declined to refer this measure to voters as there is not enough of a nexus to the issues of regional significance in Metroís Charter. Because Metro declined to refer this measure, that triggered the requirement for signature collection that would require Metro to act.
3. The Value of Jobs Coalition's 2015 Middle-Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metro, like most of the nation, has seen low- and high-income jobs account for increasingly larger shares of the regionís overall employment base, while middle-income jobs, as a share of the regionís total employment, have dropped from 69 percent in 1980 to 57 percent in 2013. What would you do to increase the number of middle-income jobs in our region?
Sam Chase* My jobs plan includes:
  • Build a Convention Center Hotel that will bring out-of-state resources to our region and create jobs, while ensuring the project will pay all taxes and create much-needed funding for schools and human services.
  • Clean up brownfields and increase our supply of industrial lands.
  • Create workforce housing so that business have stable workers.
  • Improve the quality of life in Portland so that we attract and retain a creative, innovative and productive workforce for the Portland area.
  • Build transportation that supports freight movement throughout the region.
  • Enhance our infrastructure and increase our traded sector industries.
4. The same Middle Income Jobs Report found that Portlandís housing prices are becoming increasingly out of reach not only for low-income households, but also for middle-income households. What would you do to address housing affordability for middle-income residents in our region?
Sam Chase* I have championed Metroís Equitable Housing Initiative. For our region to succeed, we need affordable and workforce housing at every income level. Metroís jurisdiction includes 24 cities and counties each with different challenges. The Equitable Housing initiative will build awareness about the range of tools available to these local communities, tools such as property tax abatements, SDC waivers, code and permitting streamlining, and innovative financing strategies. We will provide education and technical assistance to assist cities and counties to implement the solutions that are best for their communities.
5. The 2015 Economic Impacts of Congestion report shows that the Portland-region and the state of Oregonís competitiveness is largely dependent on efficient transportation. Failure to adequately invest in the system could cost the Portland-metro region $822 million annually by 2040 and close to 6,000 jobs. Do you support investments in the transportation system to support freight movement and remove bottlenecks to the efficient movement of goods and people?
Sam Chase* Yes.
6. A 2013 report International Trade and the Portland Harborís Impact, found that Portland ranked 4th among the largest 100 metros in terms of export value as a share of metro output. Additionally, the report found that 90 percent of exports are small and medium sized businesses and that trade related jobs provide premium wages. What is your view on the role of trade to our economy and what can the city do to promote trade given international gateway facilities within the city?
Sam Chase* Trade is critical to our regionís success because it brings in outside dollars. Traded sector jobs depend on both our physical infrastructure and our international relations. My priorities in this area:
  • Increase the number of Tier one and Tier two industrial lands within the region including close to our regionís core and along the Willamette river. Strategies include pursuing federal resources, cleaning up the Willamette River and brownfields.
  • Complete the Convention Center Hotel. The project is further along than it has ever been, but many challenges remain. I will continue to champion this project until completion.
  • Improve our infrastructure in ways that make it easier to move freight around the region, including improving our regionís bridge infrastructure.
  • Continue Metroís high level of engagement in working with Greater Portland Inc, and regional leaders to identify new and enhance international trade relations.
7. The Alliance is committed to ensuring an adequate supply of shovel ready industrial lands in the Portland-metro region to support job retention and growth. Manufacturing, in particular, requires industrial land and provides higher wages and better benefits than non-manufacturing jobs, particularly for non-whites and non-English-speaking workers. What tools and strategies would you use to promote adequate employment industrial lands that are shovel ready for development?
Sam Chase* Our region has done many things right, creating a livable and highly sought after region and quality of life that attracts and retains small and medium business and innovators. Yet our efforts will not work if there is not land for business to grow here at home or land that is shovel ready when a business is ready to make their decision to move to Portland. Many of these businesses are NOT in the business of development and speculating on the success of zoning, permitting or brown field clean up. That is why it is so important we have shovel ready land. My plan at Metro includes:
  • Continue Metroís commitment to Construction Excise Tax funds (I am Council Liaison the CET) to master plan industrial lands.
  • Ensure transportation infrastructure supports industrial land transportation access.
  • Clean up brownfields and the Willamette river by committing Metro staff to foster collaborations across the region, build on our success in getting more flexibility to finance brownfield clean up through the legislature.
  • Protect Metroís authority to review industrial land needs outside the regular 6 year growth boundary review process.
8. The regionís prosperity depends on both a healthy central city and thriving suburban areas. How do you balance investments and policy decisions to ensure Portlandís downtown remains a hub for commerce and jobs while also promoting a housing/jobs balance throughout the region?
Sam Chase* The solutions for job, housing, suburban and urban balance are complex. Perhaps one of Metroís greatest roles is to convene decision makers and job creators from around the region to identify their greatest needs and facilitate solutions that address their needs. Here are some of my plans to address these complex issues:
  • Foster more jobs in East Multnomah and Clackamas Counties through funding industrial land development and more housing supply in Washington County.
  • Ensure that large volumes of people are able to commute daily to our urban core, and throughout the region, by planning and funding transportation corridors for Bus Rapid Transit including the SW and Powell/Division Corridors. And by improving our roadways with maintenance, technology that makes road use more efficient, and by enhancing our road capacity.
  • Work with our regional partners to review and improve metroís land use system to allow for more flexibility in meeting sub regional housing and job balance needs.
9. How would you work with other jurisdictional partners to achieve mutual interests? How would you participate in regional coalition building?
Sam Chase* During my three years at Metro, I have helped to secure unanimous support for such plans as: the Climate Smart Solutions Strategy to reduce our regionís carbon emissions by 20% by 2035; the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan, and the Equitable Housing Initiative. Unanimous support for these efforts was due to the creation of an environment of transparency, trust, inclusivity, and facilitating so that everyone has an opportunity for their voice to be heard. I look forward to engaging Metro with mayors and other electeds and stakeholders from around the region to participate in conversation to develop a collective path forward that will improve our regional land uses system and allow for needed flexibility to accommodate sub-regional needs throughout the Metro area.