Tag Archives: Teressa Raiford

City Council candidates weigh in on housing, homeless issues

Candidates for City Commissioner (left to right) incumbent Amanda Fritz, State Rep. Mary Nolan, Teressa Raiford, Jeri Sundvall-Williams and Steve Novick. Photo by Israel Bayer.

By Joanne Zuhl
Staff writer

New and familiar faces among the candidates for City Council addressed an invested audience on issues of affordable housing and homelessness this afternoon.

The City Commissioner Candidates’ Forum on Housing brought together the leading contenders for the two council seats on the ballot next Spring. Candidates Amanda Fritz, Mary Nolan and Teressa Raiford are contending for the Commissioner 1 position, currently held by Fritz. And candidates Jeri Sundvall-Williams and Steve Novick were there for the Commissioner 4 position, which is being vacated by Randy Leonard.

The panel fielded questions prepared by the event sponsors on issues of gentrification, job creation, funding for affordable housing, civil rights for the poor and streamlining bureaucracy. Oregon Opportunity Network, JOIN, 211info and Street Roots sponsored the event, which was held at the First Unitarian Church in Downtown Portland.

One underlying theme through several of the queries had to deal with preserving what we have, and finding new resources for what we need.

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Candidate interview: Teressa Raiford

By Jake Thomas, Staff Writer

In 1996, 26-year-old Teressa Raiford left Portland with two children in tow for Dallas, Texas after her cousin died in a shooting. “I didn’t want my children to think that that was normal,” she recalls. Reiford went on to pursue a career in business and in 2006 started her own company, Intrinsic Group, which helps businesses operate more efficiently.

In August 2010, Raiford moved back to Portland, the city she was born and raised in, and has delved into the city’s civic life, revealing what she characterizes as a deep disconnect between City Hall and the citizenry. She hopes that by getting elected to City Council, she can apply her business acumen to city government and improve communications with the public. If elected, she would be only the third black person to hold a seat on City Council.

Jake Thomas: What made you want to run for City Council?

Teressa Raiford: Having a business consulting company, my job is to build solutions. So when I came home and saw that our community was changing and our attitudes were changing, even toward each other, I thought what is the problem? It looks beautiful here, and there seems to be a lot of opportunity, so why isn’t everybody happy and taking advantage of what’s here? And what I realized is that there is a lack of communication. I was like, OK, the haves are not promoting the information to the have-nots. Continue reading