Mayor's race kicks off

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 26, 2011

Part in parcel with this is ultimately the budget: the statewide recession is going to continue putting a huge fiscal strain on the city over the next four years, and so we need to be more creative in how we fund and execute city services. There are all sorts of city/regional agencies and governments...that City Hall has traditionally ignored or had little to do with, because they have their own systems of governance. As mayor I will be a proactive leader to those other governing bodies and work to find efficiencies in consolidating administrative costs.

Finally, we must streamline our business and development process at the city level. Our governor is making this a dirty word nowadays, but there is a lot of truth to it.

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH ONE OF THOSE ISSUES? We can’t rely on bureaucrats to get it done. City Hall just unveiled the lamest high-tech office park out by the highway that is going to be a perfect replica of Boston’s Route 128 tech-corridor. Hardly savvy development for a city that knows better. Groups like the Creative Portland Corp. just launched a campaign called 2 Degrees — their mission is to attract innovators to Portland that can contribute to the economy by bringing skills, energy, and capital (social and otherwise). If Portland’s economic development department really had a clue about who they’re marketing to they wouldn’t be building a cube-farm off a highway spur. As mayor I would foster the conversation locally, regionally, and nationally to make sure our priorities match our values.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PORTLAND? It’s unique for our generation that there is still a city left in the country where creative people can live and work, raise a family, start a business, and contribute to a vibrant community. The urban dream is still alive and well in Portland, and it is only getting better.

DO YOU HAVE ANY BIG-NAME SUPPORTERS ON BOARD YET? Yes and no. While I am a Democrat I’m a political newcomer to this side of politics. I haven’t put in enough time as a party stalwart to win the hearts and minds of the insiders yet. However, I do have a considerable amount of support from those focusing on the creative economy, smart growth, and sustainable economic development — which suits me, it’s where the future of the city lies anyway.

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