Though there are certainly many factors to take into account when deciding whom to support for mayor of Portland in this week's election, if you read this column, one of the issues that likely figures into your vote is the candidates' positions on local arts and culture policy. With this in mind, I asked the two leading contenders for mayor—Sho Dozono and Sam Adams—to answer a question about their plans for our city's music community. I have printed my question and their answers below. Remember to cast your ballot by Tuesday, May 20!
As mayor, what would you do to support local music and musicians? Inversely, how would you partner with Portland's many musicians and music educators to improve the quality of life in our city?
SAM ADAMS: I'd work to ensure both the change in OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] rules allowing minors to enjoy music in local venues, and a reversal in the Oregon Employment Department's [OED] outdated rules on how musicians are classified when they perform locally are implemented. This means lobbying the 2009 state legislature for OED changes and working with venues to ensure any city barriers to implementation of the new OLCC rules are removed.
I don't know that the OLCC rule changes will be enough to expand access for underage citizens to our incredible music scene. While groups like PDX Pop Now! and Exit Only are emerging to serve this gap, we need a citywide discussion about how to create, adapt, or expand a venue for people of all ages to enjoy Portland's music scene. We'll have that discussion when I'm mayor.
I have spent the last three years trying to strengthen the ties between the arts and music community with city hall. We have featured local musicians at our community First Thursdays and twice held PDX Pop Now! showcases on the steps of city hall. As mayor, we will expand Arts Partners, to equitably integrate arts and music education into our classrooms. We will look for opportunities for increased rehearsal spaces, expanding local/national exposure, and simplifying assembly code.
SHO DOZONO: Music is an important part of our community. As a private citizen and as a business owner, I have been involved with funding and supporting musicians. I believe that music is not only a source of entertainment but can also be a link to one's heritage—that is why I continue to support groups like the Portland Taiko that bring cultural awareness.
When I led a "Flight of Friendship" trip to New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, I reached out to local artists. I was able to inspire jazz musicians to share their talents with Portland—the most well known being Devin Phillips, who now lives here.
In the fall of 2007, I also sponsored Marv Ross' musical production of The Ghosts of Celilo with the Artists Repertory Theatre at the Newmark Theatre in the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.
As mayor, I would continue to support local musicians and music educators. I believe in Charles Lewis' Ethos Music Center and programs that bring music back into schools. I would continue to find ways to get the private and public sector involved to fund these programs to improve the quality of life in our city.