Portland Commissioner, Position 4: Keith Wilson

This is a big one. If you do one thing with your ballot this year, vote against Chloe Eudaly, the incumbent in this race. She’s been a disaster for the city.

She rammed through rent and eviction rules under the guise of “tenants’ rights” that only serve to make being a landlord less attractive and thereby taking rental properties off the market. She’s run roughshod over the First Amendment by forbidding landlords from screening out criminals and people with horrible tenants. One of Stabtown’s founders has a vacant ADU that will never go on the rental market because of Eudaly’s policies.

Eudaly went out of her way to bully neighborhoods over homelessness and then tried to write neighborhood association out of city code entirely. She’s been rude and dismissive of residents who speak at council meetings. She lied about how her father died to try to play on people’s sympathies. She’s threatened other commissioners. She’s proven completely incompetent at leading city bureaus. And worst of all, she’s supports stabby campsites in neighborhoods regardless of the harm they cause.

Do not vote for Eudaly. So. Much. Incompetence.

Not voting for Eudaly is the easy part. Choosing from her opponents is tough. The two big dogs in the race are former Mayor Sam Adams and Mingus Mapps. But the best candidate in the race is Keith Wilson.

Wilson understands that allowing campers to overrun Stabtown is not a sustainable strategy. This isn’t normal, and this isn’t healthy for anyone, especially the people on the streets. His full response to The Oregonian’s question about homelessness merits a read for anyone who wants Stabtown to be less stabby:

Our city has normalized homeless encampments. Nearly 80 people died living on Portland-area streets in 2017. Allowing people to camp on our streets is misguided compassion. Allowing people to die on our streets is not compassionate at all.

In Portland, by law, unsanctioned camping is not permitted. However, our rules require campers to be provided advance notice so they can pack up and vacate. This is not well managed, and encampments remain sometimes for months on end.

Our police, who are on the front lines caring for our city, have gone by these camps dozens of times but are ordered by their superiors at the direction of our City Council to stand down. All the while, the quality of life for both the homed and homeless suffers, and in the case of the homeless, sometimes with loss of life.

Boise has a fraction of unsheltered residents per night compared to Portland. The difference: The mayor, city council, police, fire, justice system and homeless service agencies all work together to communicate to homeless encampments that illegal camping is not allowed and follow up immediately and as needed.

Amen, brother. That’s a perspective the council desperately needs. Wilson also has the makings of a strong, experienced manager for whatever bureaus he lands on. Elect this guy.

Adams and Mapps, meanwhile, are both better than Eudaly but have some shortcomings.

Adams is the former mayor who left office embroiled in a sex scandal eight years ago. Now he’s trying for a comeback. He has a history of working well with the private sector, which could be beneficial in the current crisis. He’d at least be a move in the right direction on homelessness if he can avoid hooking up with any more interns.

Mapps briefly worked for Eudaly in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement – now the OCCL. He is a political scientist and was a popular choice in the early goings but faded a bit once Adams entered the race. Back in the day, he was a homeless enabler as director of the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative. He seems to have come around somewhat. One of Stabtown’s founders had a long chat with him, and his views have clearly evolved. He now wants supportive housing and seems cognizant of the immediate concerns neighborhoods have about camping, but he hasn’t put forward much in the way of serious proposals about addressing it. Nevertheless, he’d probably be our second choice behind Wilson.

Also of note in the race is Seth Alan Wooley. Kudos to him for his work on good government reforms. If homelessness and stabbings weren’t such pressing issues, we’d be tempted to back him. But they are, so we won’t.

Vote for Keith Wilson in a race that will probably go to a runoff in November. Then vote for him again.

Keith Wilson