YES, THEY'RE LONGSHOTS. And, no, they don't seem to mind. Undaunted by the big-name (and bigger-dollar) mayoral candidates polishing their spiels atop the campaign food chain—Charlie Hales, Eileen Brady, and Jefferson Smith—some 11 other small-potato candidates have also decided they, too, have what it takes to lead Portland.
Who are they? What do they want? Do they honestly think they have a shot? We spoke with a handful of these would-be mayors, or at least the ones who bothered to get back to us, to see where they stand.
Max Brumm, 19
Clackamas Community College student
Why are you doing this? As a former Lincoln High ballplayer, changing the baseball stadium known as PGE Park into the soccer stadium known as Jeld-Wen Field pushed him "over the edge." Brumm says sports are key in a healthy community.
Campaign strategy: Brumm took a public-speaking class early on in his campaign to boost his confidence. It worked. "Nothing's stopping me now."
Platform: Education is Brumm's top priority. Not only does he want to create 500 scholarships for local students, but he also would like students to earn credits for working in city bureaus.
Post-election plans: Brumm has no plans to leave Portland politics—but if he does, he's headed toward a career in teaching.
Fun fact: Brumm says he's the only mayoral candidate to stay overnight at the Occupy Portland camps. "I grew up with parents working for and with the 99 percent, so I'm behind the movement 100 percent," says Brumm.
Shonda Colleen Kelley, 29
Why are you doing this? When hunting for city jobs online, Kelley discovered that she technically qualified for the mayor's job and applied.
Political background: Kelley planned on running for mayor of Salem a few years back, but didn't live there.
Campaign strategy: "I am on a tighter-than-tight budget," says Kelley. "I can't really afford to campaign." However, she plans to make some T-shirts.
Platform: Kelley dreams of boosting low-income green housing and citywide literacy rates. She also wants school kids to eat less meat.
Fun fact: If elected, Kelley would create a citywide, televised book club, featuring a "good night" story each evening.
Loren Charles Brown, 48
Why are you doing this? The city's homelessness problem struck a nerve. "I've seen too many people on the streets and I'm fed up."
Campaign strategy: Compared to other candidates, Brown says, he walks the walk and talks the talk by speaking with folks on the bus, in the street, and at work.
Platform: As a father, Brown is committed to tackling the "sex offender issue" in Portland and requiring increased training for the police.
Post-election plans: Brown refuses to admit he might lose. "I really want this position. After this, it's presidency."
Fun fact: Brown promises to spend several nights out on the streets if he's elected and encourages all of us to do the same. "It's time [homeless people] stop being ignored."
Josh Nuttall, 29
Gas station attendant
Why are you doing this? Nuttall was tired of sitting around and bitching about the city's problems. "It was time to take some action."
Political background: "None whatsoever."
Campaign strategy: Nuttall works the graveyard shift at a West Burnside Chevron, so getting the word out about his campaign has been rough. But, he says, "I can't change anything about myself to run this campaign." Nuttall is also the only candidate not taking donations.
Platform: "I'm going to make sure no one freezes to death on the streets. Why spend money on one homeless shelter that takes forever to build [referring to the newly opened Bud Clark Commons] when you can buy a ton of tents and space heaters in minutes?"
Fun fact: If elected or not, Nuttall is determined to create a trade library where the public can use tools and space to develop a marketable trade on their own.
Steve Sung, 62
Why are you doing this? Sung wants to see major municipal decisions aimed at the entire population, rather than specific groups.
Political background: Served on Oregon's Korean Unification Council for 10 years.
Campaign strategy: Sung says he's sewn up relationships with big Korean companies to work with once he's elected. But a few more local volunteers would provide a much-needed boost for his campaign.
Platform: "My political philosophy is providing people more freedom and protection" and to "reduce taxes as much as possible." He also aims to make Portland the "hub of Asian business."
Fun fact: Sung has worked as both a janitor and as a top-tier businessman, adding to his sense of understanding when it comes to job equality.