Eileen Brady
  • Eileen Brady
Hall Monitor in this week's Mercury focuses on mayoral candidate Eileen Brady's prodigious start to fundraising—she's collected some $59,000 in contributions as of Tuesday—and how that fundraising meshes with her husband's impassioned defense last election cycle of (eventually doomed) voter-owned elections.

But Brady and I, when we spoke last week, had a pretty wide-ranging discussion about a host of other issues on the table this election.

And I figured y'all might want to see some highlights from my talk with the New Seasons co-founder (and nonprofit leader and health policy adviser). So here goes.

On why she thinks she's the best person to take over for (presumed candidate) Sam Adams:

The fire in my belly is that we can be a progressive town and have a vibrant economy, and have well-managed, essential city services. The concept that we can only have one or the other is a myth to me. I've raised a family here. I've started a business here. I think of myself as part businessperson, part community/civic-minded person.

On her lack of elected government experience, which some insiders see as a flaw:

I haven't been in city hall for the past 20 years. I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm not focused on building a career in politics. I come with a set of experiences that are real life Portland, someone who's interacted with the city and the neighborhood associations. I know what it's like to live in Portland.... The voters are going to have real choice, and democracy is alive and well in Portland.

On how the city can better grow its economy:

We have an extraordinary entrepreneurial culture in Portland, an amazing DIY culture, a tremendous artisan community. We have not done what we can do to home-grow our own talents. You can spend all sorts of time recruiting businesses, but you're missing opportunities here.... It's certainly not a bad idea, but if we're gonna bring businesses to Portland, we should bring businesses that use the talent we already have.

On her campaign promise to visit all 95 of Portland's named neighborhoods:

We'll be putting 'em up [on her website] and checking 'em off. I'm thinking about having a contest for anybody who can do a rap song with all 95 neighborhoods in it.

On helping East Portland:

Here's one of the things we miss in this conversation: Diversity is a huge asset, and it's not something to manage or deal with. I have been excited about really using the diversity of the neighborhoods, and doing that throughout East Portland..... And we're going to start paving those roads. We're going to put it in the transportation budget and we're going to do it.

On managing the Portland Police Bureau:

The mayor's office has to have to police bureau. That's the mayor's responsibility. [Brady then told a story about the death of her grandfather before she was born, a 36-year-old Chicago cop.] I bring to this a really personal commitment to making sure the force itself is safe but also saying we can have a respected force and an accountable force. Both of those things can be true. [Pressed for specifics, she said she didn't have any... yet.] There's any number of methods for being more transparent, more accountable, and we need to look at all of them.

On what she would have done differently with Mayor Adams' $26 million budget surplus:

We'll see what the surplus really ends up being. There's a lot of questions built into that question. There's plenty of resources that the city should be channeling to East Portland before you even get to the surplus. I'll be following that up in a couple of months.

On the much-maligned salmon cakes at New Seasons, a dig aimed by rumored interested rival Steve Novick:

He's right about those cakes. I got an immediate text from the CEO at New Seasons: "What's Steve's contact info."