What City Council members should offer Portlanders

The following letter was written by League of Women Voters of Portland member Elsa Porter. This letter to the editor was published by the Oregonian on October 22, 2023.

I will vote for three Portland City Council representatives for District 3 next fall. I will rank my choices by their knowledge and experience; commitment to equity and climate action; and familiarity with the issues facing our community. This is a new role, pathbreaking in our government, and I want them to succeed.

First, they should be civil and congenial and able to forge a partnership that’s productive for the district and the city. They should get to know the elected representatives from other jurisdictions and learn how to work well together.

Their priority must be public safety and well-being. That means establishing constructive relationships with the police and fire departments and the nonprofits serving the homeless, poor and mentally ill. I will expect them to delve into the intergovernmental conflicts that have paralyzed the city’s response to homelessness and reevaluate the division of responsibility for health and human services.

I expect my representatives to develop a comprehensive map of our needs and a list of priorities while supporting changes that remove interdepartmental barriers impeding progress. They should understand and appreciate the generators of economic and cultural vitality in our district—the businesses, restaurants, parks and art centers that attract people citywide. And they should work together with – not replace – the neighborhood associations that have long elevated local concerns for citywide consideration.

Finally, I expect my representatives to be men and women of good character who will set a high bar. The ground rules for public service have remained the same from the beginning of our republic. They call for the utmost integrity.