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.  

Keith Wilson, running for City Commissioner, Position 4

Campsites will slowly disappear as we house, heal and humanely treat our most vulnerable.

What’s the most pressing problem facing Portland and what are you going to do about it? 

Last year 80 people died living on the Portland streets. Allowing people to camp on  streets is misguided compassion. Allowing people to die on our streets is not compassionate at all.

Our City Has Normalized Homeless Encampments:

In Portland, by law, unsanctioned camping is not permitted. However, when camps are cleaned up, our rules require campers to be provided at least 48 hours advance notice so they can pack up and vacate the area. However, this is not managed and encampments remain, sometimes for months on end. Our police, who are on the front lines caring for our city, are ordered by their superiors at the direction of our City Council to stand down. All the while the quality of life for both the homed and homeless suffers, in the case of the homeless, sometimes with loss of life.

Now let’s focus on SOLUTIONS:

How would you define a successful term in office? 

A sense of optimism and pride is back in our city. On our walks or rides we will see a city regaining its beauty. Campsites will slowly disappear as we house, heal and humanely treat our most vulnerable. Deeply affordable housing will ensure that a high school kid graduating or a person on social security can live in the city they grew up in. Our air will be cleaner because we will be transitioning our entire municipal fleet to electric vehicles.

These changes will be a reality because I will have spent each week visiting all parts of the city. I will sweat the small stuff. If I see a pothole in your neighborhood, I want it filled. If I see trash on the side of the road, I want it picked up. If I see an abandoned car on your street, I want it removed. Don’t you?

What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you? 

I have climbed to the very top of the Brooklyn Bridge and halfway up one of The Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Oh, to be in your 20’s.