A Functional Government is Possible
Accountability & Accessibility
Portland is the last US city with over 100,000 residents to still have a commission form of government, where commissioners are not only responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functions of our bureaus, but are assigned arbitrarily by the Mayor. This archaic system rooted in Jim Crow-era segregation has created a lack of consistency and long term strategic planning to address the most pressing problems facing our communities. In addition, with a population of over 600,000 all of our commissioners are elected at-large, which means the leaders who most often succeed running for office come from wealthy families from the west side of town and do not reflect all of our unique communities.
It’s time we end this archaic form of government and bring district representation to Portlanders. We deserve to elect members of our own unique community that understand the lived experiences of our neighbors, and can bring new diverse voices to the table where crucial decisions are being made for our future. We must also improve access to our government by creating avenues for feedback to engage community members in the decision making process.
In 2021, Portland’s city charter is up for review, meaning this is our opportunity to address our structure of government through the formation of a commission comprised of community members that will recommend changes and put them up for a vote to Portlanders. However, the process by which we do this matters and will greatly affect the outcome. We must prioritize engaging community leaders and organizations to discuss the options, and ensure Portlanders have optimal opportunities to participate before a structure change is sent to the ballot.
Our bureaus are only as strong as the dedicated employees who work there. We need to ensure that our city is engaging in fair hiring practices for individuals of all races, sexes, gender, physical ability, and so forth. Furthermore, once hired, we need to make certain that city employees are working in environments that are accessible for everyone. This is not a one-and-done audit, but a continuing process to ensure that our city upholds the values our communities hold dear.
Let’s get real: the world has changed so much and is dependent on the internet. We use technology to collaborate and connect, and it’s time the government leverage this in ways that brings us into the 21st century. This means updating our website to be more user-friendly, leveraging the technology of the 21st century to create online opportunities to engage in discussion and decisions, and finding more creative ways to reach Portlanders beyond requiring them to come to us.
Not only are we severely underrepresented by a city council that doesn’t get elected by districts, but we also have seen a lack of engagement on the community level. It really is as simple as creating a space for conversation, making sure it’s well advertised and has accommodations, and bring in the community to talk about what they’re facing and what ideas they have to address it. This includes holding official city council sessions throughout the city during varied times, with childcare options, to engage (the majority) of Portlanders who cannot attend meetings as currently scheduled. We need to meet people where they’re at and engage the communities impacted by policy decisions. It’s not our job as leaders to have all the answers, but instead to bring together different voices to create the ideas that will lead to them.
Make a Donation
Candace is running a grassroots campaign fueled by the people of Portland, not corporations and special interest PACs. Therefore, we are only accepting donations under $250! By donating and supporting our movement, we can elect a candidate that will ensure all voices are heard and represented in city hall. Donate today and tell your friends!