Police accountability, housing top concerns for hundreds at hall

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JONATHAN HOUSE - Portland mayoral candidates raise their hands in response to a question about whether they support creating a local version of the DEQ.The show went on in the Portland mayor's race Monday night.

After The Oregonian newspaper canceled a planned public debate between Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey because of security concerns, Wheeler announced he would show up anyway and invited the 11 other candidates to join him at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland.

Bailey agreed and they were joined by Sarah Iannarone, Deborah Harris, Sean Davis, Bim Ditson, Jessie Sponberg and David Schor. Hundreds of people showed up and topics were chosen by the intensity of the audience’s applause. Questions regarding police accountability and housing received roaring responses.

“It’s imperative that the community have a police force that the community can trust,” Wheeler said. “Let's get the police out of their patrol cars and back on the streets.”

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JONATHAN HOUSE - Members of the audience held up signs in support of rent control in Portland.Some questions were taken from Twitter.

“Wealth building through homeownership,” said Iannarone, the first woman to enter the mayoral race. “I would like to see that happen here in Portland more.”

Homelessness, arguably the biggest issue Portland’s next mayor will have to tackle, wasn’t brought up by the audience, but some candidates addressed it anyway.

“We need a community that reaches out to its neighbors, whether they’re in a home or on the streets, and says ‘this is a place for everybody,'” Bailey said.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JONATHAN HOUSE - Mayoral candidate Jessie Sponberg finishes a point by throwing up his hands at a forum on Monday night.Many more campaign forums are scheduled in coming weeks. All of the candidates have been invited to some of them, while only a few are invited to some of the others.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote at the May 17 primary election, the top two vote-getters will face off at the Nov. 8 general election.

Jim Redden contributed to this story.

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