There are a record four open seats on city council this year, including for mayor, and we interviewed almost every candidate running to fill them. This is one in a series.
NOTE: all of these interviews were conducted before the Covid-10 outbreak.
Jack Kerfoot, running for City Commissioner, Position 2
“I will champion an initiative to bring nonprofits, businesses and faith-based groups together to create coordinated, collaborative solutions to our homeless crisis.“
What’s the most pressing problem facing Portland and what are you going to do about it?
Homelessness. The causes of homelessness are diverse, but broadly speaking, there are two halves to the problem, an economic half and a services half. On the economic side, we need to ensure housing is available and affordable, and we need to keep Portland’s economy bustling and creating opportunity for Portlanders.
On the subject of services, Portland has over 300 nonprofits working independently to provide services to residents experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The absence of coordination between the city and these nonprofits is a major opportunity for improvement.
As Commissioner, I will champion an initiative to bring nonprofits, businesses and faith-based groups together to create coordinated, collaborative solutions to our homeless crisis.
Collaborative, integrated programs like Haven for Hope have achieved nationwide renown for helping people rebuild their lives and find permanent housing. Integrated programs offer housing, medical and mental health care, addiction treatment, support groups and job training.
How would you define a successful term in office?
Homelessness – Champion an initiative for the Portland City Council working with the businesses, nonprofits and faith-based groups to develop a strategic and tactical plan to address our homeless crisis. The plan will lead to the development of comprehensive addiction, mental health and job training programs comparable to nationally recognized programs like Haven for Hope in San Antonio, TX.
Environment – Closing of the Zenith Oil Terminal, an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. Development of a viable, measurable program to achieve the city’s 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral goals before 2035 and 2050, respectively.
Responsible Government – Stay connected to the issues facing our city by holding regular town hall meetings in all sectors of our city (NW, N, NE, SE & SW). Ensure that the people’s voice is heard, and our city government responds accordingly.
Safe Streets – Implement effective programs which will reduce traffic-related fatalities.
What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
Years ago, I went to a Halloween costume party in Calgary, Canada, I went to the party dressed as Count Dracula and I met a fascinating woman dressed as a black cat. Four weeks later we were married, and we began our journey together traveling the world. This year, the black cat that crossed my path and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary.