Jan 12, 2024 - News

A way-too-early guide for Portland mayor

An image of three people smiling.

From left: Carmen Rubio, Mingus Mapps, Rene Gonzalez. Photos: Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

While we're still months away from knowing who will be Portland's next mayor (the election is Nov. 5), several people have already begun campaigning for the city's top job.

Why it matters: With Mayor Ted Wheeler leaving the seat he's held since 2017, Portlanders have the task of electing someone new to usher in not only a new form of government but a new era for the city as it continues to tackle compounding crises related to affordability, homelessness and crime.

  • The next mayor will be mostly administrative — overseeing day-to-day operations alongside the first city manager and will hold no veto power on the city council, only casting a vote if needed to break a tie.

The intrigue: Three of the four candidates who've filed an intent to run already hold office as city commissioners — meaning city council meetings from now on may act as a de facto campaign stage for those in the race.

Get to know the candidates running for mayor (so far):

Mingus Mapps

The first person to announce a run, Mapps has been a vocal critic of changing the city charter but noted his main priorities as mayor would be to sustain Portland Street Response indefinitely and expand behavioral health services.

  • However, he's come under fire for policy stumbles in the past — under his watch overseeing the Bureau of Emergency Communication, 911 response times soared, he voted to increase the police budget and donated to defeat a measure that would provide legal support for tenants facing eviction.

Carmen Rubio

Elected to Portland's city council in 2020, Rubio oversees the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, where she's been able to allocate dollars from the tax-funded Clean Energy Fund to cash-strapped departments working on climate solution projects.

Rene Gonzalez

A fifth-generation Portlander, Gonzalez told The Oregonian in December that he believes "a centrist can win" the mayor's race and intends to take an aggressive stance on public drug use, homelessness and crime if elected.

  • The small business owner and lawyer beat out former commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty for his seat on the council just last year by appealing to donors and West Side voters through his strong support of police and vocal opposition to street camping.

Durrell Kinsey Bey

A youth coordinator at David Douglas School District, Kinsey Bey has never held political office but is interested in bringing "dignity" back to the city, per the Portland Mercury.

According to his campaign website, Kinsey Bey lists community-based public safety, socio-economic infrastructure and family-based public health as priorities.


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