Both major candidates for Portland mayor support raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour but differ in their approach.
Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey has announced his support for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's plan to increase the minimum wage in Portland to $15.52 and $13.50 in the rest of the state. It will be considered by the 2017 Oregon Legislature.
"Too many people cant earn enough to afford to live in Portland. Its not right this city is for everyone," Bailey said in a Jan. 20 email. "Thats why Im applauding Governor Kate Browns proposal to increase the minimum wage – its a direct response to the crunch Portlands lowest wage workers are feeling. Her plan ensures Portland minimum-wage workers the biggest 2017 pay raise of any proposal out there."
Bailey announced his support despite the fact Brown's proposal is opposed by those behind an initiative measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The group 15NowPDX has criticized the proposal for taking six years to phase in, for capping the wage outside Portland at $13.50, and for not repealing the state law that prevents cities from setting their own minimum wages.
"While we applaud Governor Brown for recognizing that the Portland area needs at least $15, we are compelled to state that this plan is not good enough. It phases in too slowly, and it doesnt create a statewide minimum wage that ensures working families can be self-sufficient," the group posted on its website.
In response to a question from the Portland Tribune, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler's campaign manager said Wheeler supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Michael Cox also said wheeler supports allowing Portland to set its own minimum wage.
Cox did not say Wheeler supports a specific proposal, but said he is encouraged that things are moving in that direction.
"Ted is committed to a $15 minimum wage in the city of Portland, and has been since he launched his campaign. He is encouraged that a path is developing to get us there," says Cox.
Sarah Innarone, the newest candidate for mayor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.