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 17

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 2, located in Portland's north and northeast quadrants. (Find the list of candidates in District 1 here, District 3 here, and District 4 here.) 

District 2 Candidates

James Armstrong

James Armstrong

 

Armstrong, 39, lives in Northeast Portland's Woodlawn neighborhood. Though he has a background in accounting and financial consulting, he now co-owns several eye care facilities in North and Northeast Portland with his wife. He also continues to work part-time in forensic accounting, investigating and managing cases of Ponzi schemes and corporate fraud. 

Armstrong is an advocate for small businesses in North and Northeast Portland. He has served on the board of Alberta Main Street, participated in Prosper Portland's Neighborhood Economic Development Leadership Group, and helped organize the Safety and Livability Committee for the St. Johns Boosters organization. 

"As a representative of District #2, I believe my proximity to the small business community will be a much-needed voice in the council’s decision making," Armstrong told the Mercury. "I have helped provide an outlet for businesses that are struggling to keep up with the increases in crime by making sure that their voices are heard by local elected officials." 

This will be Armstrong's first time running for political office, though he has been involved in local politics in the past, serving a stint on the board of the Washington County Democrats. He said he's optimistic that with the  "transition to districted representation, Portland will be guided by local leaders with better proximity and perspective on the scope of our problems." 

"I love Portland, and like most Portlanders, I’m especially drawn to our local neighborhoods. The issues that face our city are all out in the open," Armstrong wrote to the Mercury. "I believe our city can maintain our progressive ideals, while also working to improve livability in our community." 

Reuben Berlin 

Reuben Berlin

Reuben Berlin, 46, lives in Northeast Portland’s Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood with his wife and children. Berlin, who said he has lived in Northeast Portland for nearly his entire life, told the Mercury he has “always been interested in the opportunity to serve my community.”

“With the new form of city government, I realize that now is the best time to put my skills and desire for public service to use,” Berlin said in an email statement. “I believe our city is facing some great challenges and this next election cycle will have a defining opportunity to address the questions before us and perhaps solve some of these issues we have been wrestling with for so long.” 

Among the issues Berlin said he wants to address: Crime, drug use, the general appearance of the city, apathy for and distrust of city government. 

“My focus is on re-establishing the livability of our city,” Berlin said. “The campaign will be centered on reinvesting in public safety and finding solutions that provide for the economic vitality of Portland while building collaborations between local government, businesses, community organizations, and neighborhoods.”

Berlin currently works as a mortgage loan officer at U.S. Bank. He said the experience has allowed him to help “hundreds of individuals and families navigate the purchase and financing of their homes, often finding opportunities for first-time home buyers in Portland’s difficult housing market.” Prior to entering the financial sector, Berlin worked in the nonprofit industry, where he said he “provided direct assistance to individuals and families facing houselessness, mental health, addiction, and domestic violence.”

This is Berlin’s first time running for office. He said his career experience will make him a valuable member of Portland City Council, as he has a "broad perspective on those struggling to participate in our community and those who are actively working to provide for themselves and the community." 

"Working both with non-profits and through the bank, I have developed my ability to define individual needs, recognize available resources or programs, and bring together partners to answer questions before us," Berlin wrote to the Mercury. "No one person has the ability or knowledge to answer every question, only by building a team and enabling collaboration can efforts succeed…My compassion to help people within our city is met with my desire to find practical solutions to the issues of today. I look forward to finding out how we create ongoing prosperity for all.” 

Alan Blake 

Alan Blake declined to answer the Mercury's candidate questionnaire. However, he described himself as an "outraged citizen who wants good government," whether he wins or loses. This is Blake's first time running for public office. Campaign documents indicate he residents in Northeast Portland's Lloyd District.

"We all have a part to play as a Community and this is where I feel I can be Effective by pushing politicians to give us Government that is accountable to the People," Blake wrote to the Mercury. "Experience is the Best Teacher and I have 7 Decades of Life experiences which allows me to know what will work but more Importantly what doesn't Work. No one has endorsed me but that doesn't matter to me I chose Myself." 

David Burnell

David Burnell

Burnell, 43, is a North Portland resident who has lived in the city on and off for 20 years. Burnell works in mental health and substance abuse treatment: He is currently a certified alcohol and drug substance abuse counselor for clients in the Portland metro area, and he was the co-chair of Oregon's 988 Suicide Hotline initiative. He also contributed policy writing to the Oregon Health Authority's Adult Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan. 

Burnell has also been involved in the Multnomah County Democratic Party. He told the Mercury from that political vantage point, he decided he wanted to get more directly involved in local politics. 

"Our city deserves to see leaders that will make policies and changes that will let our city thrive, while listening to the people and not just have politicians try to solve problems for political gain or pull moves to stay in power," Burnell said. 

Burnell co-chairs the Government Transition Advisory Committee, an appointed group overseeing the Portland government's transition to a new charter. 

"The voice of the voters has not been heard in City Hall, and it is time for everyday Portlanders to get involved in our city’s management," Burnell said. "I believe it is fundamentally important for everyday Portlanders to have a seat at the table, and not allow our city to be run only by big names and big money. I believe that Portland can prosper as a city with the right people in government." 

Michelle DePass 

Michelle DePass 

Michelle DePass, 63, lives in Northeast Portland's King neighborhood—just a few blocks from where she was born. DePass is a lifelong Portlander and resident of the area that now encompasses District 2. 

DePass has spent the last several decades working in local government, but she told the Mercury her history of community engagement work goes back to her childhood. At 12 years old, DePass worked at the Black Panther's free health clinic on North Williams, testing community members for the presence of sickle cell anemia, a gene disorder that disproportionately impacts African Americans. DePass currently works as the climate change analyst for the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), but she has held other roles at BPS, the Parks Bureau, and the Housing Bureau throughout her career. She received a bachelor's degree in community development from Portland State University, and studied sustainable business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. 

In addition, DePass is in her second term on the Portland Public Schools Board, currently serving as board president. DePass, who identifies as Afro-Latina, is the first Black woman to hold that position. DePass tells the Mercury her volunteer experience also includes working on local transportation projects, serving on the board of the Native American Chamber of Commerce, and helping children of color and low-income kids access the outdoors. She said all these experiences would be instructive for serving on Portland City Council. 

"We have the tools, the people, and the resources to create a city that works. We have the means in which to create a shared vision, and the know-how to operationalize that vision," DePass said. "I want to be a part of operationalizing the values we, as a community, envision and define. I want to do this through collaboration, and action with compassion." 

DePass says she would focus on increasing safety across the city, which would include creating more safe spaces for all people, including bike lanes and sidewalks. 

"I have seen the successes in other cities, the multi-culturalism, the use of public spaces that are activated with people," DePass said. "I am a lover of cities; how they operate, their design elements and how these elements contribute to who has access, and who doesn't, and where businesses can thrive, people can be, and importantly, what makes them successful. I am also interested in serving the people of Portland, the humans who live here." 

DePass says that while she isn't done gathering endorsements, she "feels she has the support of the community," having received support from former Governor Kate Brown, former City Commissioner Mike Lindberg, and Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio.

"One of the big questions I have is not whether we can create a vision that expresses our city's shared values, but how we do it," DePass said. "I love this place, and hope to work to represent Portlanders in being our best versions of ourselves, to create a city where humans and nature can co-exist."

Marnie Glickman 

Marnie Glickman

Marnie Glickman describes herself as an "experienced changemaker and local leader" who has spent her years in Portland dedicated to "protecting people, places, and the planet." Glickman currently works as a public interest advocate and organizer, and has worked on the campaigns of progressive candidates around the United States, including U.S. Representatives from Oregon. 

While Glickman says she has considered herself a Portlander for more than 30 years, she has spent stints in other cities in that time. In 2015, Glickman was elected to the formerly-named Dixie School District in Marin County, California. During that time, she became prominently known in the Bay Area and beyond for her campaign to rename the school district and remove its ties to the Confederacy. The campaign was successful—the district is now called the Miller Creek School District—but Glickman received a good deal of backlash and was subject to a recall campaign. Eventually, she resigned from the school district.

Glickman calls herself an "organizer at heart" and vows to offer "responsive leadership and top-notch constituent services, always making the people of North and Northeast Portland her highest priority."

Mariah Hudson 

Mariah Hudson 

Mariah Hudson, 45, lives in Northeast Portland's Alameda neighborhood. Hudson was born and raised in Oregon, but she called herself a “Portlander by choice” with a “deep-seated commitment to civic involvement— because our city will be what we make of it.” 

“I know collective action [will be] integral to clean up our city and achieve meaningful progress on affordability,” Hudson told the Mercury in an email. “This philosophy has guided my career and leadership in the community.” 

Hudson works in Oregon Health and Science University’s (OHSU) communications department, where she says she played a “pivotal role” in the organization’s pandemic response, “working across agencies to stem Oregon’s biggest crisis.”

“This experience, coupled with serving as pioneering sustainability officer and legislative advocate, has honed my skills in strategic communication, crisis management and inter-agency collaboration, critical for addressing the safety and affordability challenges our community faces,” Hudson said. “When I witness unmet needs around housing on my daily runs and bike commute, I also see our city’s potential. I’m deeply optimistic of Portlanders' readiness to address our addiction crisis, work on community safety and accomplish projects... that will connect and revitalize our neighborhoods." 

In addition to her work at OHSU, Hudson— a first-time political candidate— said she has been “deeply involved in solving transportation, education and safety challenges in North and Northeast Portland with communities and government.” She chairs the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, and is the chair and co-chair on the budget advisory committees for the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Public Schools, respectively. 

“Budgets are where you can see priorities enacted. Portland has one of the highest tax rates in the nation and I’m passionate about making a measurable impact with public dollars: from safer streets to enforcing existing regulations on short term rentals that reduce permanent housing for residents,” Hudson said. “I also have the insight in public finance to believe we can make measurable change without raising taxes that make Portland less affordable.” 

Hudson said, as a "working parent raising two students in Portland Public Schools and a communications professional with Portland's largest employer," she's "invested in seeing Portland succeed." 

“That begins with folks feeling safe and heard," she said. "My goal is to ensure our city is clean, safe and well run, so that working people like me and the next generation can afford and will want to live here.” 

Sameer Kanal 

Sameer Kanal

Sameer Kanal, 38, lives in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood. Kanal, who was born and raised in Portland and has lived in the area most of his life, currently works in community engagement for the city of Portland’s Community Safety Division. While this is Kanal’s first time running for public office, he currently serves on the boards for Portland Parks and Recreation, the Northwest Association for Global Affairs, and Dodgeball PDX, a queer recreational dodgeball league. 

Kanal says while working for the city’s Community Safety Division, he has found that Portlanders— while perhaps divided on some issues— “have a lot of the same end goals for our city.” 

“We want an economy in which we can all thrive. We want to be safe in our daily lives. We want to leave a healthy environment for the next generation. City employees work really hard to figure out how to support and meet those goals,” Kanal wrote to the Mercury. “City [elected] leaders are responsible for listening and implementing.” 

Before transitioning into his current position, Kanal worked as the project manager for the Police Accountability Commission, helping craft the details of the community police oversight board after voters approved Ballot Measure 26-217 in 2020. He said during this experience, he demonstrated the same skills he would bring to City Council, including “the ability to work with diverse groups of people, to build group dynamics, to set goals and help pursue them, and to achieve consensus.”

Kanal says some of his top policy priorities include fully implementing Safe Routes to School programs, supporting Portland Street Response and helping it expand, and violence prevention through supporting safe, active public spaces. 

Kanal says he wants to help make Portland a “city that works” by ensuring it’s also a “city that listens.”

“A city that listens is safer and more prosperous for all of us,” Kanal says. “I want a seat on the Portland City Council so that my experience and values work in support of the city reaching the goals of all Portlanders, so nobody is left out and everyone feels heard.” 

Debbie Kitchin

Debbie Kitchin

Debbie Kitchin, 67, is a resident of Northeast Portland’s Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood. Kitchin is originally from rural Kansas, and moved to Portland to attend Reed College. Kitchin and her husband own InterWorks LLC, a business specializing in sustainable residential and commercial remodeling, which they founded in 1994. 

While this is Kitchin's first time running for political office, she served on the Portland Charter Review Commission, overseeing the development of the new city government system she is now vying for an elected position in. She is currently a member of the Greater Portland Economic Development District Board of Directors, has been on the board of the Portland Metro Chamber (formerly the Portland Business Alliance), and has served on advisory committees for the Port of Portland and Prosper Portland, among other committee involvements. 

Kitchin told the Mercury she is most concerned about houselessness, climate change, and public safety in Portland. 

Regarding the homelessness crisis, Kitchin said she pulls insight from her work in the housing sector.

"So many people are one paycheck or one health emergency away from losing their homes. Houselessness is the culmination of many different issues in our city," Kitchin wrote in a statement to the Mercury. "We need to work on all of them – not just on a single approach or answer." 

Kitchin said she wants to encourage "workforce development and support for entrepreneurs in new industries" as a part of the solution to the climate crisis. She also advocated for supporting Portland Street Response and integrating it into Portland's first responder network. 

"I listen, I am constantly learning and I am focused on pragmatic steps – leveraging our resources and relationships to build a better Portland. Collaboration is key to success in our new city government and beyond," Kitchin wrote. "I have the skills to work with all sides of the table to move our city forward. We need coordinated effective responses to the multiple crises we are facing. I am excited about how we are changing local government to be more responsive to and representative of all parts of our city." 

Mike Marshall

Mike Marshall

 

Mike Marshall, 62, lives in Northeast Portland’s Irvington neighborhood. Marshall is a co-founder and executive director at the Oregon Recovers, a nonprofit that advocates for increased support for people struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Marshall himself has been in recovery for 16 years. Marshall is also a longtime, well-known gay rights activist and advocate for people with HIV/AIDS. He told the Mercury he has been HIV positive for 20 years. 

Marshall said he wants a seat on Portland City Council because he loves Portland, but is “incredibly frustrated by City Hall’s inability to actually fix the city’s problems.”

“I was raised to believe that when you see something, don’t just say something, actually DO something,” Marshall said. “As an expert in addiction recovery—and an experienced coalition builder—I want to bring a relentless focus on safety, prosperity and inclusivity to the new City Council.” 

To Marshall, untreated drug addiction is one of the main problems facing Portland right now. He was a leading voice against Measure 110 in 2020, preferring a different approach to addiction recovery than drug decriminalization. But he served on the legislative committee to implement the measure once it was approved by voters. 

This is Marshall’s first time running for elected office, but he has been involved with many state, county, and city organizations, including the Multnomah County Specialty Courts Community Advisory Board, the Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Metrics Committee, and the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter Advisory Board. 

Marshall told the Mercury he is excited about the opportunity to serve on a reconfigured City Council.

“I love, love, love that we are reinventing our local democracy! For many years I was part of democratic development programs overseas and feel I have a unique perspective on the level of attention new democratic systems need and how to make them work,” Marshall said. “The new city council will have the ability and the mandate to bring a new level of constituent services and legislative oversight to their work–the two key components to rebuilding public trust in our democratic institutions.”

Will Mespelt 

Will Mespelt

Will Mespelt, 30, lives in North Portland's Piedmont neighborhood. Mespelt has worked in local property management since 2017—experience he believes will help him lead Portland through the current housing crisis.

"I have the unique experience of being both a renter and a landlord. My expertise is in housing regulations and best practice, plus I hold a license in property management to back that up," Mespelt tells the Mercury. "I understand how housing actually works in Portland, how owners/landlords think, what renters need, and the key ways Portland could improve housing affordability." 

Mespelt says while he doesn't have prior political experience, he thinks now is the "ideal time to bring a new perspective to City Hall." 

"I see nothing holding me back from stepping up to the plate to bring the change we so desperately need in Portland," he says. "I share the same deep concerns that regular Portlanders have about our unaccountable government and want to see their ideas and solutions presented at the table on a regular basis." 

Mespelt says some of his personal values include "having a positive attitude, following through, and accomplishing goals." On his campaign website, he cites affordable housing, government accountability, revitalizing public transportation and supporting small businesses among the challenges he wants to take on as a City Council member. 

John Middleton

John Middleton, 50, lives in Northeast Portland’s Concordia neighborhood. Middleton, who formerly served as vice president of operations at logistics company Direct Transport for more than two years, told the Mercury he is taking a break from working and was interested in the changes coming to Portland’s government under charter reform. 

Middleton, who described himself as a “collaborative problem solver” and “willing listener” with the “resolve to create actionable policy,” has not run for public office in the past. His community involvement includes serving as the vice president of the board of directors for nonprofit Community Warehouse, an organization that “provides donated furniture and household items to neighbors seeking the comfort and dignity of a furnished home while overcoming adversity.” Middleton is also a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest. 

“A desire to give back to my wider community made me decide to run [for City Council]. I want to help create an equitable policy foundation for the future of Portland. I want to bring compassion, collaboration, and integrity to City Hall,” Middleton wrote. “I believe we have the talent and resources in our community to solve the issues Portland faces and create a Portland we all deserve.” 

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson

 

Christopher Olson, 32, is a resident of the Sullivan's Gulch neighborhood in Northeast Portland. Olson has lived in Portland for about three years, and he told the Mercury he "fell in love with this place" immediately upon moving.

"Though our city has fallen on challenging times, I see a lot of good in it and its people," Olson said. "As a newcomer, I want to bring fresh energy and an outside perspective to our city council." 

Olson currently works as an internal communications specialist for the Neighborhood Health Center, a nonprofit health facility serving low-income and at-risk patients in the Portland area. He said his experience in nonprofit work showed him that "local government has the most significant impact on our daily lives."

"I bring the ability to lead, listen, and empathize with the residents of District 2," Olson wrote to the Mercury. "Our new form of city government will allow councilors to spend more time with constituents and that's what I intend to do." 

This will be Olson's first time running for political office. 

Jennifer Park 

Jennifer Park

 

Jennifer Park, 42, lives in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood in North Portland, and is a longtime District 2 resident. Park is program director at The Shadow Project, a nonprofit that works to help children with learning and attention challenges thrive in school. She tells the Mercury her career has been “dedicated to making systems work better for underserved communities.” 

“I embed pillars of social justice into all of my work, including the trainings I facilitate; as an example, leading activities that expand service providers' understanding of trauma informed practices,” Park says. She tells the Mercury she’s currently working toward an executive masters degree in public administration at Portland State University, a program that has “given [her] an incredibly valuable foundation of enacting public policy.”

“In addition to a deeper immersion in the background of government, it allows me to glean insight into how I can disrupt systems that allow injustice to perpetuate in our systems,” Park tells the Mercury.

Park said that she decided to run for City Council because believes that, through her work in the nonprofit sector, she has “been putting bandaids on gashes.”

“I am ready to make system changes to heal those wounds,” Park says. “I truly believe I have a lot to offer my neighbors as a leader in laying a foundation for a really strong, trustworthy, effective, inclusive local government structure.”

This is Park’s first time running for public office. 

Tiffani Penson

Tiffani Penson

Tiffani Penson, 54, lives in Northeast Portland's Concordia neighborhood. Penson has worked within the city of Portland's government for 18 years in various roles. As Portland's Supplier Diversity Officer, a role Penson created, she "spearheaded a city-wide effort to direct business technical assistance and access to city contracts to minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses."

Since 2020, she has served as the city's people & culture manager, leading culture programs from an anti-racist, equity lens. In this position, Penson says she "works with bureaus to create a culture that focuses on people and redefines how the city responds to, and delivers services to the public." 

In 2019, Penson was elected to the Portland Community College Board of Directors. She was named PCC Board Chair in July 2022 and re-elected to the seat last year. 

Penson said as someone who grew up in Portland and who knows the city's operations so well, she has the "values, experience, and track record to help make Portland work for all of us."

"As Portland has grown from a big town to the 26th largest city in the United States, we have also seen our city’s challenges grow," Penson tells the Mercury. "I know that Portland can be better. But for that to happen, Portland’s city government must do better. As Portland begins a new chapter and institutes the voter-approved charter reforms, I’m running because I am committed to seeing that we successfully implement the new system of government and focus on creating policy and budgets that are aligned with the needs of the constituents."

Elana Pirtle-Guiney 

Elana Pirtle-Guiney

 

Elana Pirtle-Guiney, 39, lives in Northeast Portland’s Vernon neighborhood. Pirtle-Guiney has spent most of her career in advocacy and policy development, working for the Oregon AFL-CIO for more than eight years, as well as in the Oregon governor’s office. This will be her first time running for public office.

At the state, Pirtle-Guiney says she “led negotiations to raise Oregon’s minimum wage,” as well as working on other issues where she was “tasked with pulling together opposing sides to find a solution that achieved the goals and worked for everyone at the table.” 

This is what Pirtle-Guiney says she will bring to Portland City Council: The ability to serve as a “coalition builder” who “brings people together [to] work toward the best possible policy solution.

“I am a values-driven realist. I know that compromise builds lasting policy but grounding that policy in values is critical,” Pirtle-Guiney tells the Mercury. She says this experience would be valuable on City Council, especially as the city transitions to a new form of government. 

“There are a lot of decisions this first Council will have to make to set us up to better take on Portland’s challenges.  This Council’s decisions will also determine whether we fulfill many of the promises that were made when we voted for charter reform,” she says.

Pirtle-Guiney currently serves as the vice chair of the Portland Parks & Recreation Board as well as on the Parks & Recreation Bureau’s Budget Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Oregon Workforce Investment Board, Youth Development Commission, and Workers’ Compensation Management Labor Advisory Commission. 

“I’ve always looked for opportunities to serve my community in whatever way I can, wherever I can do the most good,” Pirtle-Guiney says. “Running for City Council is the best way for me to serve my community right now.”

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan suzette smith

Dan Ryan, 61, is a current Portland commissioner and a resident of North Portland's Arbor Lodge neighborhood. 

Ryan's time on City Council began in August 2020, when he secured the seat in a special election held to fill the seat left vacant after the late Commissioner Nick Fish died earlier that year. During his first term in office, Ryan focused on homelessness and housing issues, becoming well-known for his work on Safe Rest Villages (tiny home sites intended to transition people off the streets into long-term housing.) 

Despite facing some criticism about the time it took to get the Safe Rest Village program off the ground, Ryan was easily re-elected in 2022. Ryan is currently in charge of Portland Parks & Recreation bureau and runs the Portland Children's Levy, among other assignments. 

"Commissioner Ryan will build his campaign on the foundation of courage, commitment, and dedication to doing what's right for the people of Portland," his campaign announcement states. "With a track record of tangible results, Commissioner Ryan presents a vision for a vibrant and resilient city that works for everyone." 

Sam Sachs 

Sam Sachs

Sam Sachs, 56, lives in Northeast Portland’s Irvington neighborhood. Sachs founded the racial justice advocacy organization the No Hate Zone and formerly worked as a park ranger for the city of Portland. Sachs, a lifelong Portlander, says he wants to serve on Portland City Council because he believes people in city government should “have the ability to build relationships with all Portlanders, listen to and hear their concerns and create unified solutions to build a better Portland together.” 

“I have a proven track record of work in Portland over the past [20+ years] that shows I am ready for this responsibility. Portlanders need leaders that are willing and open to diverse thoughts and ideas, willing to be engaged in the community and show up…willing to stay at the table even when there may be challenging and uncomfortable conversations and willing to grow and learn as we serve our community,” Sachs wrote in an email to the Mercury. “My passion and love for this city and the people is unmatched and unwavering.” 

This is Sachs’s first time running for political office. However, he served on the city’s Human Rights Commission from 2013 to 2015, and has worked with the state legislature in various capacities. Sachs says he was part of the lobbying effort to encourage the legislature to pass the “Rooney Rule” in 2009, requiring Oregon public universities to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion when interviewing coaches and athletic directors. 

Sachs’s experience also includes leading the unionization effort for Portland park rangers, and served on the union’s first bargaining team. He was also one of the original members of the city’s Committee on Community Engaged Policing, advocating for body cameras and for a city-funded Office of Violence Prevention. All of this experience, Sachs says, will enable him to find a “balanced approach” to the city’s public safety issues. 

“My time working in public safety has shown me that the best approach to keeping everyone safe is making sure that people have access to the treatment and prevention they need while also ensuring accountability and consequences for those who prey on our community,” Sachs says. “My strongest skills and qualifications are Building relationships with many different stakeholders, bringing people together to address issues in our beloved community, find solutions and implement those solutions to have successful outcomes… I believe Portland is on the verge of great things and I’ll use my journey to make Portland a city we can all be proud of again.” 

Bob Simril 

Bob Simril

 

Bob Simril, 65, lives in Northeast Portland’s Grant Park neighborhood. Simril, who identifies as a biracial Black man, grew up in Compton, California in the 1960s. He and his family moved to Portland during his youth, and he attended Grant High School and then Lewis and Clark College, where his father worked as a janitor. 

“I bring a unique set of life skills that represent the broadest range of folks in our community, whether it be racial, economic, or family addiction,” Simril tells the Mercury. “I have access to approach and interact with anyone from houseless folks to business leaders.”

Simril, who called himself a a semi-retired business advisor, spent his career working in sales and marketing. He tells the Mercury his experience “delivering at large scale” makes him “uniquely qualified to bring ‘enterprise’ skills and solutions to the table.” 

“In business, you are accountable to deliver results or you’re out.  This requires skilled collaboration abilities, problem solving and creative efficiency to the role,” Simril says. “Large scale solutions require understanding stakeholders, influencers, decision making process, designing plans that deliver results.  Every year in the private sector you reorganize, always asked to do more with less.  I’m hardwired to think differently, focusing on the outcomes ([as opposed to] mastering process and checking boxes).” 

Simril says he sees Portland’s government reform as an opportunity to “diversify the personal background and representation and bring new professional skill sets, problem solving, collaboration and efficiency to our 7,000-person city government.” 

In addition to his business experience, Simril tells the Mercury he is engaged with local issues, including policing and homelessness. He says he has a close family member who has experienced homelessness in Portland on and off for nearly 50 years, which has informed his personal opinions about how to address the issue. 

“I believe we have the resources to bring compassionate and much desired results for our houseless neighbors,” Simril says. “We can remove open drug use and deliver creative solutions that bring change and safety for all.” 

He also believes in “community policing” as a way to “return trust to communities of color,” particularly in the diverse Northeast and North Portland neighborhoods. 

“I believe the police force should look like the community they serve,” Simril says. “I will engage with the police department to drive measurable and meaningful change (metrics, goals, results) to our communities.” 

This is Simril’s first time running for public office, which he says he thinks is an advantage. 

“I believe I can bring a new voice, new accountability, new results,” Simril says. “I’m not suggesting replacing more traditional folks who are in city government, my approach is ‘additive’…No one else brings this unique life and enterprise-level skills to the council.  I feel a personal calling at this life stage to move our city forward, persistently, intelligently and together.” 

Laura Streib

Laura Streib

Laura Streib, 45, is a resident of the St Johns neighborhood in North Portland. Streib told the Mercury "several things culminated into deciding now was the time to run for City Council."

“I see people within the community working so hard for their families, schools, neighborhoods, and at the same time I also see them not being heard or validated by the decision makers in our city,” Streib wrote in a statement to the Mercury. “I’ve spoken with elected officials on multiple occasions through my work with arts & culture and arts education. I have also felt unseen, unheard, my voice minimized, and bullied by people working within City Hall if I am not fitting their agenda.” 


Streib is deeply involved in the local music community: An orchestral musician by training, she founded art and music education nonprofit Vibe in 2007. In addition to other musical, arts, and teaching pursuits, Streib previously chaired the Portland Arts Education and Access Citizen Oversight Committee— an experience she said taught her a lot about city mechanisms. 

“I understand the importance of civic engagement and support participatory budgeting as a way to bridge city government and the power of community engagement and getting our youth activated through social justice and climate justice,” Streib said. “We need creative problem solvers that want to push Portland to be what we all want it to be. I am a person that says yes to figuring out a problem and then comes up with solutions and systems with others to get things accomplished.”

This is Streib’s first time running for public office, but she said she has been long been invested and involved in city politics, particularly regarding Portlanders’ access to art. She worked with several city commissioners to pass and renew the Arts Education and Access Fund (Portland’s $35 annual arts tax) starting in 2012. Streib is also the vice president of her students’ school’s Parent Teacher Association, and she serves on the board of the St. Johns Boosters Business Association— an organization whose methods she said could be emulated throughout the city. 

“We support, listen, encourage, and activate our neighborhood downtown and all business spaces within St Johns to support the economic growth of our businesses, our community, and advocate for services for the betterment of the entire St Johns area,” Streib said. “This model can work for all of District 2 and in turn all of Portland. We just have to take that vision and turn it into action, together.”

Streib told the Mercury she thinks Portland needs people with entrepreneurial spirits on City Council. 

“I want to be on council at this moment because we in Portland have an opportunity to hit the refresh button, we have the chance to build a city government to actually include the people who are working hard to make our city the one we all want and know Portland can be,” she said. “We all know we need to address the current trifecta of housing, mental health, and substance abuse- but what we need to do is all of them in unison. We cannot attempt to solve one problem and leave the others on the floor…I am invested in making Portland a Portland for all of us.” 

Jonathan Tasini 

Jonathan Tasini

 

Jonathan Tasini, 67, lives in North Portland’s Boise-Eliot neighborhood. Tasini is a well-known figure in the labor activist community, having served as the president of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) from 1990 to 2003. During that time, he was the lead plaintiff in a Supreme Court case (New York Times v. Tasini), and won, helping set a precedent for freelance writer rights. 

Tasini is also a longtime labor and economics journalist, writing from a progressive angle— though he told the Mercury the word “progressive…is a term that has almost lost meaning.” 

“Voters want and deserve more than rhetoric,” he said. “We need competent people who know how to read a budget, have managed people, have actually worked to pass legislation, understand taxation so they can effectively oversee policy implementation, and won’t get snowed by powerful economic interests.” 

In addition to successfully running for union office, Tasini ran for political office against then-New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the 2006 Democratic primary, citing her vote for the Iraq War as the motivation behind his campaign. He cited active involvement in his Neighborhood Emergency Team as another example of his civic involvement. 

“There’s a great opportunity, with a clean slate, to create a fantastic, working city,” Tasini said.  “I am deeply-versed in key worker-focused economic issues (wages, pensions, labor rights), climate change and civil rights that would come before the City Council, as well as having a strong background in the broader political, legal and administrative issues in public policy.” 

Nat West 

Nat West

 

Nat West, 46, lives in Northeast Portland’s Woodlawn neighborhood. West is best known for his hard cider company, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, a fixture in the local craft brewing scene until it closed permanently last September. In addition to his hard cider, West became known through his small business as a friend to progressive grassroots organizations seeking support, such as Albina Vision Trust, Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and the survivors of the 2022 shooting at Normandale Park. 

“I always respected the platform that my customers and fans had granted to me and used it to help create a better Portland,” West tells the Mercury

West said he was prompted by the change in City Council structure— and the benefits he thinks the new government structure will bring— to decide to run for a seat representing District 2. 

“In the old system, you could basically buy yourself a commissioner if you had enough money. Then you could get preferential treatment on your development project, or your plans for pollution, or whatever. Combined with the Small Donor Elections program, we can now elect councilors who are truly representative of the electorate, not just who has the money,” West says. “I think it's critical that the new councilors include a strong voice for small businesses. Not just the owners, but the managers, the staff, and the customers who make Portland's small business culture one of the strongest in the US.” 

Though this is West’s first time running for political office, he says his experience as a small business owner gives him a leg up. 

“My experience as the founder, owner and operator of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider for 12 years has put me in contact with dozens and small businesses across the city,” West says. “My ability to rally the entire retail community - food carts and restaurants and small manufacturers and boutiques and cafes and stores will allow me to represent all those people who make up the special identity of Portland, and who ultimately reflect who we are as a greater community.” 

West also says he has the experience that will be needed to “bootstrap a brand new government” at the beginning of next year— which he also cites as “the most important issue facing Portland.” 

“As a small business owner, I spent almost all of my time getting the resources my staff needed to do their job, being the "glue" between departments and clearing roadblocks in front of my team before they even knew they were there,” West says. “My primary goal when elected to council, and in fact I'm already starting now, is to create a collaborative, communicative and efficient system for the new councilors to operate within. We need to make sure that the new council, in conjunction with a new mayor and new city administrators, can respond quickly to challenges and get results.” 

Nabil Zaghloul 

Nabil Zaghloul

Nabil Zaghloul, 58, lives in Northeast Portland’s Beaumont Wilshire neighborhood. While his 2024 run for Portland City Council marks his first time seeking elected office, Zaghloul says his “commitment to civic engagement and community service runs deep.” 

For nearly 30 years, Zaghloul has worked in various positions within the Multnomah County government, including holding leadership roles in the juvenile justice, Department of Community Justice and Health Department divisions. He currently leads a program in the Department of County Human Services to provide direct case management, behavioral health, and substance abuse assistance services to people in the Cully neighborhood. 

Zaghloul tells the Mercury his City Council campaign is “motivated by a deep-seated commitment to address the challenges facing our community and to contribute to the positive transformation of our city.”

“We must seize the opportunity to enact meaningful change and steer Portland towards a path of progress and inclusivity,” Zaghloul says. “The recent restructuring of our government presents a unique opening for fresh perspectives and collaborative action, and I am eager to leverage this opportunity to enact policies that prioritize the well-being and prosperity of all Portlanders."

Zaghloul was raised in Morocco and lived in Spain before moving to Portland more than 30 years ago. He says this journey, in addition to his career and volunteer experience, “imbued [him] with a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and community engagement.” 

“My extensive civic involvement has equipped me with a deep understanding of the issues facing our city and the necessary leadership skills to effect positive change,” Zaghloul says. “I am eager to leverage this experience and serve our community in a new capacity as a city councilor.”