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Bailey launches camapign, promises to cut homelessness in half

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PORTLAND TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jules Bailey hugs a supporter at his campaign kickoff Saturday.Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey kicked off his campaign for Portland mayor before more than 160 enthusiastic supporters at a Northeast Portland center for nonprofit organizations Saturday morning.

Bailey, who served three terms representing Southeast Portland in the Oregon House before being elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in 2013, said he was running because the city is threatened with such problems as gentrification and the lack of affordable housing.

"This is a city where we still believe in the American Dream," said Bailey. "Yet there's a sense of what we love about Portland is slipping away."

Bailey did not mention the other major candidate, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, by name during his 15-minute remarks. But he did repeatedly stress his working class family background, which contrasts with Wheeler growing up in a wealthy family. Bailey also said his campaign would focus on "race and privilege."

But campaign consultant Stacey Dycus said the event was intended to highlight differences with Wheeler, who announced at a press conference on top of the renovated former Washington High School with the downtown in the background. Bailey's event was at Hatch, which houses nonprofits in the former Timberline Dodge dealership at 2420 N.E. Sandy Blvd.

"Jules is more down to earth," said Dycus, noting that Bailey was collecting 100 signatures from Portland voters at the event to qualify for the May Primary Election ballot while Wheeler paid a $50 registration fee.

Other elected officials at the event included Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton and Multnomah Education Service District Vice Chair Stephen Marc Beaudoin.

Before Bailey began speaking, Dycus distributed a three-page list of over 40 of Bailey's priorities, broken down in seven categories that included "Creating Jobs and Making Portland Work for Everyone" and "Leading on the Environment and Sustainability." Bullet points include raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, increasing police staffing, prioritizing access to community gardens, and enacting a 10-cent-a-gallon city gas tax, a proposal endorsed by Wheeler months ago and coming before the City Council on Jan. 27.

Bailey only mentioned a few of the priorities during his remarks, promising to increase the minimum wage and create a new economic development agency for small businesses.

Perhaps Bailey's biggest promise was to cut homelessness in half by the end of his first term, which would be in 2020 if he wins the election. That is actually the goal of A Home for Everyone, a collaborative effort between Portland and Multnomah County. Bailey serves on its Executive Committee, which recommended spending $30 million in city and county funds to reduce homelessness by 50 percent sometime in 2019 on Friday. Bailey contrasted the promise with one made by Wheeler — without mentioning his name — to create enough shelter space to house everyone living on the street by the end of his second year in office.

Despite the efforts to draw contrasts between Bailey and Wheeler, they have more in common than not. Both were born and raised in Portland and graduated from Portland schools before leaving town for higher education and then returning. Both have experience in local and state government, with Wheeler serving as Multnomah County Chair before becoming State Treasurer. And both are easily classified as liberals, although each is running as progressive.

Bailey has limited his contributions to $250 and has reported receiving $2,900 since letting it be known he would run for mayor. His campaign account had already received over $60,000 in previous contributions in 2015, however, leaving him with a current balance of around $44,000 after some expenses.

Wheeler has not limited his contributions and raised over $161,000 last year, most of it after incumbent Mayor Charlie Hales dropped out of the race.

Also running are David "The Ack" Ackerman, Steven J. Entwisle Sr., Lew Humble, and David Schor. The race will be won by any candidate who receives over 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Otherwise the two candidates who receive the most votes will face off at the November General Election.