As a non-profit newspaper, Street Roots can’t endorse candidates. What we can say, however, is how those candidates, if elected, should govern our great city.
Street Roots has been around the block now for more than a decade. In that time, the organization has been active in helping contribute to and challenge a number of important policies related to poverty and social justice.
We understand the many voices, lobbying efforts and insider politics that will influence and guide individuals who maintain our city government. We understand what it’s like to be used for political gains and completely ignored when speaking critically of laws or office holders. We also understand that what candidates’ promise on the campaign will not always be achievable once in office.
It’s easy to say if elected that one will curb homelessness and uphold people’s civil rights. It’s another thing to become a real housing champion and to not engage in horse-trading the rights of people experiencing homelessness and poverty away for a divergent strategy with powerful interest groups. The rates of unemployment and incarceration for minority communities are staggering. Yet we still have gentrification and displacement and a growing concentration of wealth and disparity in our city.
Nonetheless, Portland remains a great city. It doesn’t take one long to venture out from the liberal and progressive environment that we’ve created in Portland to realize that we are special. From the cycling movement to technology and the arts, to food production to creating new and innovative ways of doing business, we are an example of how a city can get it right.
We are optimists at Street Roots. We believe in the power of the human spirit and creativity. We also believe in the positive influence of government and the importance it plays in all of our lives. We need government and government needs the people in order to be successful. We need an atmosphere that allows for people to be critical of the work government does while also working side by side to tackle the problems we collectively face as a community.
We’re looking to our leaders to lead by example, to rise above the noise and to work toward a Portland that is a thriving and diverse community. A city that allows for all social-economic classes to live in peace with one another, and not accept the status quo. It’s easy to say, or write, but it’s another thing all together to actually accomplish.
We commend and thank the outgoing office holders that continue to serve our city. While we have not always agreed with every policy and at times strongly disagreed, we have found a way to work together as a city to do great things. Do we wish they had done more, of course we do. We wouldn’t be Street Roots unless we expected more of ourselves, and our elected officials. And whoever is elected in November to lead Portland, the community is expecting the same of you.