Policy Positions


Addiction is a complex issue with complex causes, so there is no simple solution.  A good starting place is to acknowledge what doesn’t work - criminalization and stigma.  This leads us to use jail as a detox center and prison as treatment, and these are the most expensive and overcrowded interventions we could use.  We cannot punish people into recovery. We need to focus on the root causes of addiction like poverty and trauma and we need to invest in interventions that work.

Connection is the best tool we have in addressing substance abuse, which is why I support harm reduction programs like needle exchange and safe use sites that give the opportunity for connection and referrals. We need to increase recovery support services to ease the pressure on our emergency rooms and jails being used as detox centers.  Peer support programs can provide non-judgmental assistance and access to the recovery community. Staffing can be a huge issue for behavioral health and chemical dependency service programs, and I support developing apprenticeship programs and would push for living wages in city contracts to help attract and keep skilled workers. 

Climate change and pollution

The biggest challenge we face on climate change is inaction.  We know that climate change is real and we still treat it as an afterthought to other priorities. We can act locally and advocate for more environmental protections in our policy and procedures. In terms of Portland shade equity we are failing our communities, and I want to see us do better. Trees are such an important element of the ecosystem and can serve in other capacities as well - traffic calming/pedestrian protecting measures, food system support, anti-erosion interventions, etc. I would focus not just on preventing further damage but also on community resiliency. I would encourage community involvement in planting more trees, restoring native plant species to offset the impact of warming temperatures, and encouraging urban farming programs and community garden spaces. I also want to pilot small scale energy hubs, trialing mini local solar, hydro and wind power options. These could serve our community in the aftermath of an earthquake or other disaster, and be further expanded into a public utility. I would lean into programs like Portland NET to assist blocks, neighborhoods, and districts in creating response plans to our current environment and climate emergencies. It’s time to take the climate crisis seriously and invest wisely in our response.

Housing affordability

At the heart of the housing crisis is that housing is treated as an investment vehicle, leading to market manipulation and skyrocketing prices. In the past few years the money needed to own a home has doubled. We need to put restrictions in place about what kind of entity can buy a single family home so that Portlanders who want to purchase a home aren’t competing with giant equity firms. The City should explore offering low or no interest loan program for first time home buyers. All of these solutions mean keeping more money in the pockets of Portlanders, who will reinvest back into their communities and help Portland thrive. In addition to the affordability issue, we need more housing units. We are already putting a lot of money towards attracting outside developers and it’s working, but not as quickly or in the volume we need and I think we can do better. One of the issues for developers is that Portlanders don’t make enough money for them to charge the rents they need to make their projects worth their investment. This is why living wages are essential - they would not only benefit Portlanders, but could tip the scales on housing development.

Mental and behavioral health

Public safety

People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods or workplaces. One of the best ways of increasing a sense of safety is being together in community and spending time in public spaces. This allows us to get to know our neighbors, to have community elders to turn to, for kids to play together and build friendships, and to be present with each other.  We can choose to invest in programs that facilitate connection.  For example, Friendship Benches have been used in Zimbabwe and later in NYC, where volunteer grandmothers are given basic mental health training and sit on designated benches, available to listen and provide support to their community.  Block parties, street fairs, and other programs can bring together neighbors and build a sense of connection and community pride.

There are also concrete changes we can make in the physical landscape to promote safety.  Increasing lighting in public spaces and wider sidewalks can impact behaviors and increase safety.  Let’s expand successful programs like Portland Street Response to offer support to people in crisis. Let’s invest in more restorative justice and mediation services as an alternative to prosecution and to increase understanding. Let’s bring people in, not push them out.

Reproductive freedom

Abortion is healthcare, and I support healthcare for all. Laws abridging our right to privacy and reproductive freedom will be challenged and overturned all over the country, in time. Oregon enshrined the right to an abortion in the state constitution in 1983, with the overturning of Roe V Wade we have passed further legislation to protect reproductive freedom and trans health care. I would fight any attempt at restriction, including pushing back against those who would advocate for a lesser quality or scope of care for vulnerable populations. 


The core issue with our transportation is that Portland was developed around a car-centric philosophy that doesn’t meet our current needs as a city.  Our neighborhoods offer great amenities, but there are limited ways of getting there without a car.  Our interstates cut through the city, often cutting through historically black communities and leaving a legacy of disenfranchisement and disinvestment. Our city streets have become more dangerous as faster, heavier vehicles are killing more people. 

Walkable neighborhoods and multi-modal transportation options are our way forward. Even folks who continue to drive will benefit. We have some great ideas in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, but we have not properly funded it.  I would push for traffic-calming interventions at the deadliest intersections, and look at redesigning our road and parking use to create safe areas to walk and bike.  I would explore potential alternative uses of street space like the outdoor dining project or street fairs, but on a more permanent basis to create gathering spaces for communities.  

Unsheltered homelessness

There are two key parts of this issue - people falling into homelessness and helping people who are already houseless. Last year we helped thousands of people off the streets and into housing, but thousands more became houseless. Our social safety net is a fractured system that is chronically understaffed, and minor mistakes can mean the end of your benefits. This is a place where the right thing to do will also save us money, as it costs far less to provide interventions like rental assistance than it does to successfully address the needs of people who are chronically unhoused. It also costs less to provide housing to unhoused people than it does to leave them on the streets and relying on crisis services or winding up in jail after a sweep.  I want to treat unhoused Portlanders like the people they are.  I would propose to scale up the joint office of homeless services and charge them with the task of creating enough beds, services, staffing, and accessibility to help those who need it and bring them inside safely.  We have programs that work that we need to properly fund.  It is time to invest in the people of Portland and proactively meet this challenge.

Workplace safety