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.
Carmen Rubio, running for City Commissioner, Position 1
“housing is personal to me.“
What’s the most pressing problem facing Portland and what are you going to do about it?
Most pressing are housing affordability and the homelessness crisis: every Portlander should be able to live affordably, safely, and with access to our city’s schools and public transit. This includes directing more resources to the homeless crisis for supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless, and to prevent more families and children from falling into homelessness.
Housing instability impacts children’s ability to learn, be nourished physically, and emotionally feel safe. Great work is happening through the Joint Office of Homeless Services and many community-based organizations, but it is still not enough. The City has a role in leading a collaborative and regional response. As a City Commissioner I will bring urgency to these issues because we have no time to lose. I’ll make sure our City is doing our part in a regional effort to create paths to stable, affordable homes to meet the needs of our diverse communities.
How would you define a successful term in office?
My hope for a successful term in office would be that our City Council has earned the full trust and engagement of Portland residents, and that Portland is on a strong path to become a city leading the way in renewable energy use, that it is affordable for all people to live, where all Portlanders have access to clean air, water, and parks, with walkable neighborhoods and multiple transit, cycling, and pedestrian options.
We will have a thriving and innovative business community and social sector that work hand in hand with local government and the region to ensure everyone has a place to call home, access to good jobs, and safe, inclusive, and carbon-neutral neighborhoods
What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
My immigrant grandparents and parents migrated through the Southwest and Northern California and Oregon picking vegetables and fruit before settling permanently in Oregon. Growing up both of my parents had to work a lot to keep a roof over our heads. Before I turned 14 years old, we had moved more than 10 times.
This is why housing is personal to me. It’s why I’ve dedicated the last ten years to running a community organization that supports low-income families and youth to achieve their American Dream. My experiences mean I will bring an urgency and focus to this work.