Addressing the housing affordability crisis
Portland’s approach to housing has long been problematic – from redlining and gentrification to the current affordability crisis that impacts hardworking low and middle-income residents and families. We have to take a multipronged approach to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live comfortably in the City of Portland.
- We must build more affordable housing at a rate that is commensurate with the crisis we see playing out on our streets every day, and find ways to encourage existing housing in the community to offer affordable homes to working families.
- We must take every available option to protect renters in place and hold landlords accountable for subpar living conditions and discrimination.
- We must also create new and robust opportunities for affordable homeownership – especially for communities of color that have been denied the opportunity to build multigenerational wealth through homeownership.
Upgrading our Efforts to Help Get People Experiencing Homelessness Off the Streets
The affordability crunch has resulted in a significant increase in people experiencing homelessness in our community. Loretta know how hard this is on individuals, as she experienced homelessness shortly after she became a mother. It is a tragedy that 80 people died on our streets last year and we must do more to address it. Through Loretta’s work at the County, she’s been a partner in expanding permanent housing, better access to services, and more shelter beds in the community. But she has also pushed for us to be more ambitious in creating solutions – even if they are hard choices like using Wapato to provide shelter and services.
If elected, Loretta will take that same commitment to City Hall – working to improve the services we provide and challenging all public partners to do more in their work to help those experiencing homelessness. She believes that it is time for us to ensure there are enough shelter beds available at night and that no one is turned away because of lack of room. She will be an outspoken advocate for more supportive housing, which allows people get the services and help they need to stop living on the streets. And Loretta will push all partners – in both the public and private sectors – to approach the crisis of those experiencing homelessness as a moral crisis that demands we provide for all our neighbors as one connected community.
Extending Economic Opportunity to All Portlanders
Even as Portland experiences dramatic economic growth, far too many in this community are struggling. Loretta has fought throughout her career for the underserved and underrepresented in our community. And she will make it a central part of her work in office to ensure that the growing wealth of our community is shared by all of its residents. Through her work at the County, she has pioneered programs to offer workforce training and job skills so young people can find better jobs and to help women and people of color start and grow a business in the growing technology sector. And she has championed educational and economic equity for Portland’s historically underserved communities.
To make the City a stronger partner in creating opportunity, Loretta will fight to ensure all Portlanders are being represented at City Hall. That includes looking at how the City can better use contracting and public projects to expand workforce training and apprenticeships. It also means the City must be a partner with local schools and colleges to help students gain the skills that will help them find good jobs that pay a living wage. Loretta will push to reduce the bureaucratic red tape that hampers permitting and drives up construction costs on housing and other projects. And to ensure fairness, Loretta will bring an eye towards equity to the city’s business to ensure underserved communities are not overlooked.
Providing an Effective and Equitable Transportation System
As people have been moving to the area, we have not kept up our transportation system to meet the growing demand. Congestion has a serious drag on the local economy and our quality of life. The lack of adequate safety features on our streets, particularly in East Portland, is putting the public at risk. We must be doing more to support public transit, bicycling, walking, and other options to meet people’s transportation needs. We must also address the backlog of maintenance that, if unaddressed threatens to become a serious drain on resources.
Loretta supports moving forward with the Rose Quarter project to eliminate that major bottleneck, as well as the efforts to improve the Powell and Southwest Corridors. The City must also step up its work to find the funding to finally pave and complete other safety improvements in long neglected East Portland – we promised these neighborhoods they would receive these services when they joined the City and the work has never been completed. We need to recognize that not every Portlander can rely on a car for their personal transportation needs and they deserve effective ways to get around the city. And the city must get serious about finding the necessary funding to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance of our streets – looking at redirecting available city dollars and partnering with other governments in the region to up our investment in transportation infrastructure.
Loretta also supports efforts to reduce inequities facing low-income, communities of color, and transit-dependent Portlanders. That is why she fully supports efforts to create a TriMet low-income fare and supports a free student pass for all high school students in Portland.
Looking Out For The Next Generation of Portlanders
Too many kids, particularly kids of color, are growing up in our community without access to opportunities for a better life. We know that kids from low-income families, as well as those from underserved communities are reaching adulthood less prepared to find a job, enter college, or pursue a successful life.
We must expand apprenticeship and training programs like Summer Youth Connect and Community Benefits Agreements. The city plays a critical role in economic development, and workforce training is a central ingredient in that work. Loretta wants the city to consider how they can better work with our local school districts to support students – those outcomes have a direct impact on our entire community. And we must be intentional about creating equity for kids from underserved communities.
Advancing East Portland Priorities
As a resident of East Portland, Loretta knows firsthand the lack of quality services being provided by the city to east Portlanders. East Portland is the most culturally, racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse part of Portland. Loretta believes that the creativity of this diversity needs to be harnessed and that the city needs to assume the mantle of leadership and offer solutions to support east Portlanders. Opportunities for advancing East Portland priorities include, but are not limited to:
- increasing investment and access to green spaces and parks,
- improving sidewalks and pedestrian access and safety, and
- supporting afterschool and summer job opportunities for youth in East Portland, many of whom have been gentrified from North and Northeast Portland.
Loretta is committed to creating an ‘East Portland’ caucus with other members of the council and regional governments to develop a collaborative system of accountability.