City Council Race 2024

Here's Who's Running for Portland City Council in 2024

As the city gears up for a new government structure and a 12-person council, candidates are in the thick of campaign season for a pivotal November election.

Meet Your Portland 2024 Mayoral Candidates

Here's who wants to be Portland's next mayor.

Dan Ryan Will Run for City Council in District 2

While his colleagues run for mayor, Ryan is aiming to continue serving as a city council member.

Meet the Portland City Council Candidates: District 3

These candidates are running in the district located mostly in inner Southeast Portland.

Former City Commissioner Steve Novick Eyes Return to City Hall

Novick is running to represent District 3, after a former stint on Portland City Council.

Meet the Portland City Council Candidates: District 1

These candidates are running in the district encompassing East Portland.

Dan Ryan Rules Out Running for Portland Mayor

The city commissioner will decide whether to run for a council district by late January, as speculation swirls over who might challenge Mingus Mapps in 2024 race.

Rene Gonzalez Holds Sizable Fundraising Lead in Portland Mayor’s Race

With the city's Small Donor Elections program facing a budget shortfall, campaigns may have to adjust their strategy ahead of a pivotal election.

Meet the Portland City Council Candidates: District 4

These candidates are running in the district composed of Portland's west side and some Southeast neighborhoods.

Carmen Rubio Enters 2024 Portland Mayor's Race

The city commissioner is the third person on council to launch a campaign for mayor under Portland's new form of government.

Meet the Portland City Council Candidates: District 2

These candidates are running in the district located in North and Northeast Portland.

Rene Gonzalez Announces Bid For Portland Mayor

Known for his conservative policies, Gonzalez is the second on council to announce a 2024 mayoral campaign.

Updated: July 18

This page will be updated as new candidates file for election.

Thanks to a charter reform measure passed by voters in 2022, Portland is getting a new form of government, and it will come with a brand new districting system. In November 2024, Portlanders will vote for city council members in one of four districts across the city, with three councilors per district.

Here's who's running in District 1, located in the easternmost part of the city. (Find the list of candidates in District 2 here, District 3 here, and District 4 here.) 

District 1 Candidates:

Candace Avalos

Candace Avalos

Candace Avalos, 35, is one of the most recognizable names to enter the 2024 City Council race. Avalos served on Portland's Charter Review Commission and the Citizen Review Committee for police oversight and accountability. Avalos lives in the Mill Park neighborhood. She's currently the executive director of nonprofit environmental justice group Verde, and comes with a background in education and community outreach, previously working at Portland State University. 

She previously ran for Portland City Council in 2020, but lost to Carmen Rubio. 

Avalos says she aims to be "a champion for East Portland."

“East Portland is a growing and evolving community, and we have been waiting a long time for promises made in City Hall to be realized,” Avalos said in a news release announcing her candidacy. “The only way Portland has ever made progress has been people coming together to make change. For years I have shown my love for this city by being a part of creating real solutions. And now I’m inspired to run for City Council to take it to the next level.”

Avalos told the Mercury her identity as a first-generation "Blacktina"—her mother and her family immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala and her father is a Black American from Virginia—has had a major impact on her political life. 

"The experiences of my multiracial family and their unique history in our society has shaped my justice-centered values and political identity...After gaining their U.S. citizenship, I watched my mom and grandparents cast their ballots religiously in every election cycle, seeking leaders who were honorable, and could work to create a society that allowed families to succeed and access economic mobility," Avalos said. "These roots are what sparked my interest in government and politics at an early age."

Avalos said she has "the heart of an advocate, the skills of an executive leader, and the vision for a city that truly works for all Portlanders." 

"I have a track record of convening and collaborating with folks with different perspectives to create real solutions on tough issues," she wrote to the Mercury. "I don’t shy away from difficult conversations, nuanced decisions, or complex challenges because I truly believe that is the only way we can make progress." 

Jamie Dunphy 

Jamie Dunphy

Jamie Dunphy, 39, is a self-proclaimed "Portland-raised policy wonk, former semi-professional musician, and dad & husband" who lives in the Parkrose neighborhood. He is the Oregon government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, focusing on tobacco control policies. Prior to his current role, Dunphy spent five years as senior policy director for former Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. 

Dunphy is on the board of MusicPortland, chairing the Music Policy Council to advocate for pro-music industry policies. He is also a member of the Parkrose School Board Budget Committee. In 2016, he was elected as a precinct committee person for the Multnomah County Democrats. 

Dunphy told the Mercury he sees Portland's transition to a new form of government as a challenge he's willing to meet. 

"When the new system of government comes into effect in 2025, it could either be an opportunity for transformational leadership and true improvements to community representation, or it could be a total disaster," he said. "Portland needs proven leadership from City Council members who know how to do the job on day one, and I believe my experience will help Portland stick the landing." 

With an extensive career in the public sector, Dunphy said he thinks it's time to turn his sights on city leadership in Portland. 

"I have spent the last twenty years working in public service, fighting to make these systems to actually serve the people," Dunphy said. "I love Portland, and I want to fight to make this city work better in order to build the community we deserve." 

Timur Ender 

Timur Ender

Ender, 33, is a resident of East Portland's Hazelwood neighborhood. The son of Turkish immigrants, Ender grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, before relocating to Portland to complete a law degree at Lewis & Clark College. This will be his first time running for political office. 

Ender is known in Portland's transportation advocacy community for his work as a transportation policy advisor for former Commissioner Steve Novick, as well as for his time as a planner at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Ender is also on the board of transportation safety non-profit Oregon Walks. 

Ender said he thinks our current City Council is "spending a lot of time and money chasing the downstream effects of issues" facing Portland, such as gun violence, climate change, traffic safety, health inequities, and economic development. 

"We need to pay greater attention to how the built environment shapes health outcomes and do more to provide people with upward economic mobility," Ender told the Mercury. 

A longtime City of Portland employee, Ender said he "understands East Portland and knows how city government works." 

"As we transition to a new form of government, one skill I bring is knowing the funding sources the city deals with, how project delivery occurs, where the pinch points are, and how contracting can accomplish some of our shared goals," Ender told the Mercury.

But, he said, community comes first.

"The things that have brought me the greatest joy have been working on the ground in East Portland with community members," Ender said. "I love talking to people, hearing great ideas, and working together to make things happen." 

Noah Ernst 

Noah Ernst

 

Noah Ernst, 51, lives in East Portland’s Hazelwood neighborhood. Ernst is an attorney who currently works as a superintendent/in-house counsel for the Portland taxi company Radio Cab. Ernst describes himself as a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, having grown up in small towns in western Oregon and Washington, but has lived in Portland for more than 20 years. 

Ernst told the Mercury he decided to run for Portland City Council  because he’s eager to be part of the new city government, which will enable East Portland residents to be fairly represented amongst their elected officials. 

“Historically, the neighborhoods in what is now District 1 have been left out of important conversations at City Hall. This new system of government gives us a chance to right some of the wrongs East Portland has had to endure,” Ernst said. “I was motivated to run because the direction Portland is going now clearly is not working. The ongoing homeless crisis, increasing crime rates, lack of affordable housing, and diminishing quality of life in our city demonstrate that the policies of the last several years have failed. I want to provide rational, outcome-driven leadership to Portland’s City Council.” 

Ernst said through his diverse career background as an “attorney, small business owner, and former taxi driver,” he will “bring a broad base of life experience to City Council.”

“As part of my current job, I have spent the last decade working with city staff, city advisory committees, city commissioners, and testifying in front of City Council to change city code and affect city policy.  I understand the frustration of feeling that you are not being heard at City Hall and how policy can have an immediate and sometimes devastating impact on the livelihoods of Portlanders. I am committed to listening to all Portlanders because the “City That Works” needs to work for the east side, and for everyone.” 

Joe Furi 

Joe Furi is a supervisor at boutique property management company Thrive Communities, according to state records. He also co-founded a nonprofit, Portal PDX, with his wife. Portal PDX is an organization that aims to "further leadership abilities, team building skills, and positive social skills through live action role-playing in a good and lawful medieval fantasy setting." 

The Mercury will update Furi's profile upon receiving more information from the candidate. 

Terrence Hayes 

Terrence Hayes, 40, lives near outer SE Division St in east Portland’s Hazelwood neighborhood. Hayes owns Restore Nuisance Abatement, a company “dedicated to restoring and revitalizing communities in Portland” that offers services like pressure-washing, graffiti removal, and more. This will be his first time running for political office. 

Hayes is a vocal proponent of criminal justice reform and restorative justice, and he said he prioritizes hiring formerly incarcerated people at his business. His advocacy in this field was inspired by his own experiences interacting with the criminal justice system. At age 20, shortly after he moved to Portland, Hayes went to prison for his involvement in a gang-related shooting, and spent the next 12 years of his life behind bars. Soon after he got out of prison in 2016, Hayes’ nephew Quanice was shot and killed by a member of the Portland Police Bureau. 

“I realized that all our city’s ‘answers’ to gun violence reduction and reform were coming from people who really knew nothing about either,” Hayes wrote in an email to the Mercury. “I no longer accepted the narrative that ‘Black Problems’ needed to be answered by white people, but if we all as a community wanted to curve violence, restore our city, and take care of its residents we had to…hold people who chose violence accountable and if we wanted  change, we had to give at-risk people a view of life they normally would not have.” 

Hayes has served on several committees focused on racial justice and criminal justice reform, including the city of Portland’s Focused Intervention Team Community Oversight Group, which looks at ways to reduce gun violence in the city, and is the executive director of Liberation Literacy, an organization dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into society. He told the Mercury he wants to serve on City Council in order to use his lived experience to bring an “approach to public safety this city has never seen in prior commissioners.” 

“I know what it takes to survive gang, gun violence, and come out the other end a better person. I will champion policy that has been proven to reduce violence by supporting community-based organizations and support best practices in our police force,” Hayes said. “District 1 has been underrepresented for so long and will need a strong, uncompromising leader to make sure that they are not last to be considered in Portland politics.”

David Linn

David Linn

A lifelong Portlander, Linn has lived in various neighborhoods across the city, mostly in East Portland, and he currently resides in the Centennial neighborhood. He is currently serving in his third year as an elected school board member for the Centennial School District. Linn has also served as the chair of the Centennial Community Association, and was on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association when he lived in that neighborhood. "Community organizing is my passion in life," Linn told the Mercury

Linn holds a Master's of Public Administration from Portland State University with a specialty in local government. He works for the state of Oregon, currently serving as the executive assistant for the state Board of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology. 

He said his campaign was "spurred by the excitement about the new team of district representation." 

"East Portland has experienced years of community frustration about the lack of communication, lack of accountability, and lack of transparency from City Hall," Linn told the Mercury. "I plan on making my campaign about representing East Portland. That means showing up in all 13 neighborhoods and listening to the stories and opinions of the people living here. This is about getting Portland on a new positive path working along with 11 other city councilors." 

Kevin McKay 

Kevin McKay currently serves as a compliance analyst with the state of Oregon. According to McKay's LinkedIn profile, he has previously been employed in the banking industry and as a self-employed graphic designer. McKay previously ran for City Council in 2020, but was defeated in the primary election by former Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who now holds the seat. 

The Mercury will update McKay's profile upon receiving more information from the candidate. 

Sonja McKenzie

Sonja McKenzie

 

Sonja McKenzie, 55, is a resident of East Portland's Parkrose Heights neighborhood. McKenzie began her career as a special education teacher in Texas before moving to Oregon almost 25 years ago, when she began working in the nonprofit sector. She currently works as the community engagement coordinator at the Oregon Community Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to "improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy." 

McKenzie has been president of the Oregon School Boards Association since 2019. She also serves on the Parkrose School District board and the Multnomah County Library Foundation board, among other volunteer positions. 

"I have been a strong advocate for educational equity for students statewide, adequate funding during the legislative session, and supporting the needs for board members to have access to professional development," McKenzie wrote in an email to the Mercury. 

McKenzie said she was inspired to run for a seat on Portland City Council because of the upcoming change in city government. 

"I care deeply about Portland and want to be a part of the change in the way we make decisions for our community," McKenzie wrote. "I am ready to utilize my years of experience setting policy and engaging with community as an elected official and community engagement professional to bring needed change." 

Steph Routh

Steph Routh

Routh is a longtime community organizer and advocate for transportation and education reform who lives in East Portland's Lents neighborhood. Her past roles include leading nonprofit Oregon Walks as its first executive director, co-directing the Portland Underground Grad School, and heading the campaign for the Fixing Our Streets gas tax measure, which voters re-approved in 2020.

Routh is currently an adjunct instructor at Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and Planning, and she started her own consulting firm, Steph Routh and Team, to advise on community involvement, organizational development, and communications strategy. Routh is also a member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.

 

 

 

Deian Salazar 

Deian Salazar

Deian Salazar, 23, is a resident of the Hazelwood neighborhood and has lived in East Portland since he was 12. 

Salazar has autism, and he has been involved in advocacy to support other members of the autistic community in his position on the Oregon Commission on Autism. He told the Mercury he wants to improve outcomes for other autistic people, who are overrepresented among the unhoused population and often struggle with socioeconomic mobility. 

"Nobody should have to struggle to survive. I'm dedicated to creating a better world for all," Salazar said. "I will help unite Portland and think of the whole city, so everyone can participate and trust government."

In addition to his advocacy work for the autistic community, Salazar has served on the youth cohort of Participatory Budgeting Oregon and as the Multnomah County Democratic Party's youth committee chair. He ran for a seat on the David Douglas School Board earlier this year, and while he lost the election, he racked up endorsements from County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, Metro Councilor Ashton Simpson, State Representative Travis Nelson, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, and more. 

Salazar said his experience as a Latino youth in the foster system has also guided his personal and political ethos. 

"I have experienced far more than the small slights people in politics get used to while maintaining a strong sense of empathy, having tried to be a mediator and therapist for my loved ones when I was in high school," he said. "I can work effectively in collaborative fashion with all sorts of people, and I will do so with transparency, firmness, persistence, and holding myself as well as other leaders to high ethical and accountability standards."

Thomas Shervey

Thomas Shervey

Thomas Shervey, 35, is a resident of the Hazelwood neighborhood who said he has lived in outer east Portland his entire life. Shervey currently works for Multnomah County at the Department of Community Justice. This will be his first time running for political office. 

"I have seen this area ignored by and underrepresented in our city government," Shervey wrote to the Mercury. "Because of where I’ve lived, worked, and studied, and because I am a dad raising his kids in outer east Portland, I feel like I have a unique perspective...especially considering I'm not a political insider."

Shervey identified homelessness and substance abuse as the "biggest challenges we face," and he said he thinks he can "bring a fresh perspective to those...[without] sacrificing empathy along the way." One of the ways he wants to do that is by funding and expanding Portland Street Response.

"I’m also pretty excited that the outer east side has to represent itself now," Shervey said. "I really want to drive voter education and turnout for the election. The guiding principle of my campaign is: 'Even if you don’t vote for me, vote!'" 

Loretta Smith

Loretta Smith, 59, is a former Multnomah County Commissioner who served from 2010 to 2018. Prior to her time as a county commissioner, Smith spent more than 20 years working for Ron Wyden when he was a U.S. Representative in Oregon's 3rd District. Smith has run for office in every election year since 2018: Twice for Portland City Council (2018 and 2020) and once for U.S. House in Oregon's 6th District (2022). Now, she wants to represent East Portland on the new City Council. 

"East Portland deserves an experienced leader with a proven record of listening to the people she serves," Smith said in a statement published in Willamette Week

As a county commissioner, Smith advocated for youth employment programs and affordable healthcare, and raised awareness about racial disparities in law enforcement and incarceration. However, her time on the Multnomah County Board also came with some controversy. In 2017, several staffers alleged Smith harassed them and asked them to misuse county finances. She also had her paycheck garnished for tens of thousands in back taxes

This story will be updated upon receiving comment from Smith.

Cayle Tern 

Cayle Tern

Cayle Tern, 49, lives in outer Northeast Portland’s Wilkes neighborhood. Tern currently works as the civic engagement manager at Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), an Asian and Pacific Islander advocacy nonprofit in Portland. Tern and his family immigrated to Portland from Laos when he was a young child, after spending several years in a refugee camp during the Laotian Civil War. If elected to City Council, Tern would be the first Mien American person to hold an elected position in the city.

"This new charter inspired me to run because it promotes more diversity among candidates. As an ethnic minority, a refugee, I represent an Asian American community that has not had representation in Portland," Tern told the Mercury. “I am in this race because I want a better and safer Portland for my family, neighbors, and the different ethnic communities in Portland.” 

Tern said he and his family struggled with poverty when he was growing up, and he wants to advocate for families in similar positions. 

"I know what it feels like to struggle with having a place to live. I know what it feels like to have to be hungry because we couldn't afford to buy enough to eat," Tern said. "I think we as a society are as successful as the last struggling family. We need to create opportunities for upward mobility. From programs that expand emergency sheltering to programs that support middle-class families becoming homebuyers, from access to child care to ensuring our aging communities are supported, we need to do better for families in our communities." 

Tern has a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University, which he said provided him with an education in mental health needs and experience in helping unhoused community members. 

In 2021, Tern was elected to serve on the Reynolds School Board, where he now serves as director. Prior to his election to the school board, Tern ran for a state legislative seat in House District 45, but was defeated by current Representative Andrea Valderrama. In the past, Tern served as a member on the Portland Utility Board. He also currently serves as the president of the Iu Mien Association of Oregon. 

"If elected, I will bring along my network of Asian American and other BIPOC communities. I will also bring the experiences of communities that have been marginalized to the council," Tern told the Mercury. "Community is important to me and I think it should be important to us all...as a councilor, I will commit to ensuring that all policies revolve around support for building resilient families and communities."