City Council: Position 4
With the primary election happening, Street Roots asked the leading mayoral and city council candidates one question: If elected what three things will you do to improve the state of homelessness and affordable housing in Portland?
I will support efforts by homeless Portlanders to help themselves, like Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too. Communities of homeless people who are prepared to build their own shelters on private property and adopt and enforce their own rules against crime and drug abuse should be supported, not discouraged.
I will lobby the legislature to allow inclusionary zoning in Oregon municipalities. The 30 percent set-aside in urban renewal areas and tax abatements are useful tools, but with public resources diminishing, the city needs to be able to require, rather than just subsidize, affordable housing in new development. Continue reading →
by Jake Thomas, Staff Writer
Mark White isn’t quite sure how many city boards, committees and commissions he’s served on over the years (he estimates that it’s a couple dozen), but is hoping to add one more to his resume: City Council.
For the past seven years, White has been a full-time volunteer, working on a number of community projects, as well as serving on city boards set up to get input from the public on issues that span housing, urban renewal and many others. Most notably, White serves as the co-chair of the Charter Commission, which recommends changes to what is essentially the city’s constitution.
White, 52, moved to Portland 20 years ago from California and eventually made East Portland home. He has served as president of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association for the last three and a half years. He is challenging Steve Novick, a well-connected and popular candidate, for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Randy Leonard.
Jake Thomas: You’ve served on a lot of city boards and commissions. What lessons have you learned from serving on them that you would bring to City Hall?
Mark White: Well for one, I bring an understanding of how City Hall works and what the real deal is behind how decisions are made. I’m not deluded to think that what happens in a committee is something that City Hall is going to take seriously. I’ve had numerous times when the city folks hear what they don’t want to hear, and their usual refrain is, you’re just an advisory committee. I have a true respect for folks who serve on committees and commissions and boards because I’ve done so many of them, and the folks who sit on them are incredibly, incredibly, incredibly passionate about what they do. Continue reading →