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East-side forum to focus on specifics

TribTown • No evading allowed: Organizers want details at candidates fair tonight

Groups in east and outer Northeast Portland, feeling historically ignored by City Hall, will host what they're calling a new kind of political forum: one where candidates answer questions with specifics.

A candidates fair tonight will ask those running for mayor and City Council five questions, asking for the details of how they will allocate their office budget to pursue specific priorities.

The event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fir Ridge School, 11215 S.E. Market St.

The questions, which already have been shared with the candidates, focus on issues of particular concern to Northeast and east Portland.

They ask how the candidates would tackle development, lack of paving and parks, poverty, poor planning and quality of life for elderly residents.

Asked about the questions, Bonny McKnight of the Russell Neighborhood Association said, 'I think they capture the impatience of those of us in east Portland.'

She helped organize the forum along with Ross Monn of the Wilkes Community Group and Alison Stoll of Central Northeast Neighbors.

The event is co-sponsored by neighborhood associations for East and Central Northeast Portland.

McKnight noted that some candidate forums are short on specifics, since candidates often point out that they would need to line up three City Council votes to change policy, or need to learn which bureaus they would be assigned by Portland's next mayor.

She said the event's questions anticipate that problem by asking what candidates would do with their office budget regardless of what bureaus they take over upon election.

Organizers say Sam Adams and Sho Dozono have confirmed for the mayor's race.

For council position No. 2, Nick Fish, Ed Garren, Jim Middaugh and Fred Stewart have confirmed, and for council position No. 1, Jeff Bissonnette, Mike Fahey, Amanda Fritz, Charles Lewis and Chris Smith have confirmed.

Asked why the forum will not include John Branam, the sixth candidate in council seat No. 1, McKnight said the group did not invite him based on lack of space as well as her scan of Web sites and other information, to determine campaigns' sophistication.

She said Branam may be able to speak if one of the other candidates does not show up.

McKnight said the candidates confirmed their appearance before learning what specific questions they would be asked.

'They all committed,' she said. 'I don't know if they all know what they're coming to.'

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