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 kicking off campaigns for a pivotal 2024 election.

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: March 5

Originally published: November 21, 2023

Under Portland's revised city charter, the mayor will serve in a largely administrative role, overseeing day-to-day operations alongside a city administrator. The mayor will be voted on by all city voters, while the council will be elected by district.

The charter change is a shift from the current form of government, which sees the mayor and four commissioners acting in legislative and administrative roles, overseeing the city's bureaus while also enacting policy.

Come 2025, elected city commissioners will no longer oversee city bureaus, and the mayor won't vote with the city council, unless needed to break a tie. Portland's new mayor may still propose legislation for the council to vote on and will be instrumental in bringing forward annual budgets for council's approval.

Rene Gonzalez

Rene Gonzalez  campaign photo

Rene Gonzalez, who was elected to council in 2022, announced his bid for mayor in early December.

Since taking office, he's won over a swath of conservative voters with a hard-line stance on homelessness and drug use, while alienating progressives who claim his policies have harmed vulnerable Portlanders.

Gonzalez oversees the city’s 911 system and Portland Fire & Rescue, which houses the Portland Street Response program.

Shortly after taking office, Gonzalez announced he would ban Portland Street Response workers from distributing tarps or tents to unhoused people, amid a historic winter freeze. The directive was disavowed by a majority of the program's employees. He’s also held back resources for the program, enacting a hiring freeze and failing to expand the program to 24-hour service, as promised.

Earlier this year, he led the charge to ban public drug use, after the mayor backed off previous efforts to do so.

Gonzalez led the council in voting to amend city code, pending a change in state law that would allow the city to criminalize the use of drugs in public. It’s unclear whether the political will exists for state leaders to make the change. Currently, it’s illegal to possess hard drugs beyond an amount for personal use, but local cities can’t enact their own rules regarding using controlled substances in public.

Gonzalez has also been adamant about the need to reduce resources and “enablement” of those living on Portland’s streets with drug addiction. 

In his campaign announcement, Gonzalez touted the need to “stabilize the city,” “restore the city’s image,” and address the humanitarian crisis on Portland’s streets.

“I am running for Mayor to ensure the work we have begun on crime, homelessness, the drug crisis, and economic revitalization continue stronger than ever,” Gonzalez said.

The city commissioner claimed Portland is “experiencing loss of population and small business in ways that were unthinkable only a short time ago."

The latest population data from Portland State University indicates the city experienced a temporary, but notable dip in population between 2021 and 2022, but both Multnomah County and the city of Portland have gained residents since last year. Preliminary population estimates for 2023 show the city’s population increased by .34 percent, while the county saw a .56 percent increase over last year.

Durrell Kinsey Bey

Durrell Kinsey Bey  campaign photo

Durrell Kinsey Bey, 29, lives in Portland's Centennial Neighborhood with his wife and children. Kinsey Bey works with the David Douglas School District as a youth essentials coordinator for REAP- a multicultural youth leadership and development program.

He says he became interested in a political run in 2015, when he discovered the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) Advocacy Foundation and started watching YouTube videos and learning about the importance of politics.

Kinsey Bey has no prior political experience. He briefly considered a campaign for a Congressional seat in Washington against incumbent Congressman Dan Newhouse, but says he ended his campaign before he filed for election, when he met his future wife in Portland. Since moving to the Rose City, Kinsey Bey said he's learned about the "good, bad and indifferent waves of its history." He said Portland's moral compass has been lost and insists radical change is needed to "take back the dignity of this city!"

"It isn't about the seat itself, it is about what can be done within the seat," Kinsey Bey said of his decision to run for mayor, rather than a city commissioner seat. The candidate emphasized the power of the mayor, but under Portland's new form of government, the mayor will only vote on City Council decisions when needed to break a tie. Instead, the next mayor's role will largely be administrative, working in tandem with a new city manager. 

Mingus Mapps

Mingus Mapps  taylor griggs

Mingus Mapps is a current city commissioner. He oversees Portland's Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services. Mapps studied political science at Reed College, and has a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

In an interview with the Mercury, Mapps underscored the need to shore up funding for PBOT and demand more accountability and transparency from Multnomah County—which the city partners with on the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

He's maintained a largely centrist platform, noting the need to provide shelter to every unhoused Portlander, while also voting to support the city's prohibition on homeless tents and sleeping bags in public spaces during daytime hours. 

Liv Osthus

Liv Osthus

Liv Osthus might be the biggest outlier so far in the Portland mayor’s race. She filed election paperwork in late February.

Osthus, 49, lives in the Mount Tabor neighborhood with her 8-year-old daughter. 

She’s the only candidate to prioritize artists and the arts in the conversation about revitalizing downtown.

Osthus is a bartender, writer, and dancer who performs under the name Viva Las Vegas. She’s worked downtown for more than 25 years.

“I am an artist. A writer, musician, stripper,” Osthus tells the Mercury. “I'm a single parent. I'm a preacher's daughter, steeped in social justice and community building from the womb on.”

Back in the ‘90s, Osthus recalls teaming up with a group of sex worker activists who fought a measure that “seriously imperiled sex workers' safety.”

“We won. I learned in that room how important it is for leaders to accord basic respect to citizens; for the most part, the council was dismissive of us and our efforts. It was gross,” she recalls. “Still, we won.”

Portland’s service industry and cultural attractions play a key role in the city’s character, but rarely do candidates from those sectors emerge in local politics. Osthus says the city needs to focus more on its creatives.

“I'm tired of seeing my artist friends and peers get pushed out of Portland,” Osthus says. “I'm aghast that this city doesn't put more value on arts and its artists. I believe art and artists can revive downtown, and I want to be sure that message is heard loud and clear throughout the city.”

This marks Osthus’s first run for office. 

She says she’s not a politician, and never will be, but contends “the city needs other voices and other leaders.” 

“I am adept at shining a light in darkness,” Osthus says. “My hope for Portland is that we can have a mayor who listens, connects, and inspires. Who reflects the best parts of our city, and projects that to the world.”

Carmen Rubio

Carmen Rubio   city of portland

Carmen Rubio currently serves on Portland City Council, after winning election in 2020. She oversees the city’s housing bureau, development services, planning, and Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency.

In a campaign announcement, Rubio said Portland deserves a mayor “who will take us into our future without drama.”

“I made my decision with the full recognition of where we are as a city,” Rubio stated. “And we need a mayor who will take responsibility for the way forward. One with a track record of building bridges, focusing our city’s energy into a force for change, and getting results. Portlanders deserve a mayor who will take us into our future without drama – just hard, collaborative work, especially on community safety, homelessness and housing. That’s how I’ve led as a Commissioner, and how I will do so as Portland’s next mayor. This is our opportunity to do so much more.”

Since taking office in 2021, Rubio has championed climate policy and reformed the city’s housing and permitting processes to encourage more affordable housing production.

But shortly after being assigned to oversee the city’s Bureau of Development Services, she disappointed climate activists after not yanking permits for Zenith Energy. Zenith transports crude oil by pipeline, and most visibly, by rail throughout Portland. Rubio cited the city’s previous policy to halt expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. 

Rubio’s most prominent work on the climate front rests in her oversight of the Portland Clean Energy Fund, which has raked in more money over the past year than city leaders initially planned for, or knew what to do with. Now, the fund is focused on planting more trees across the city, reducing carbon emissions, particularly from transportation, and helping spur energy efficiency projects.

Like just about everyone running for office in Portland this year, Rubio cites homelessness and housing among the city’s most pressing issues. Last summer, the commissioner was the lone “no” vote on a council decision to pass time, place, and manner restrictions on homeless camping, effectively banning unhoused residents from resting in public during daytime hours. At the time, Rubio said she opposed policy that penalized homelessness while the city lacked enough shelter beds.

In a campaign fundraising email, Rubio touted her ability to unite Portlanders to get policy passed, “especially when our communities are hurting.”

“As a City Commissioner, I’ve seen up close where bureaucracy holds us back from addressing the housing shortage, fighting the climate crisis, and setting the stage to revitalize downtown,” Rubio said in a campaign message and fundraising appeal. “I’ve brought people together and made decisive decisions to get us moving toward solutions.”

Rubio is one of four current city commissioners who's pushed back on a quick timeline for implementing charter reform measures. Last year, she voted with Commissioners Dan Ryan, Rene Gonzalez and Mingus Mapps to stall plans for transitioning oversight of city bureaus away from elected commissioners. The charter transition plan calls for hiring professional city administrators to start managing city operations, with elected council members acting in a purely legislative function. 

Keith Wilson

Keith Wilson is one of two candidates not currently on Portland City Council who is vying to be the next mayor. 

Wilson, 60, says he grew up in Portland and now finds the city “unrecognizable.”

Keith Wilson

“I have seen my high school classmates and neighbors living on the streets,” Wilson tells the Mercury. “This must stop. I am motivated  to solve Portland’s problems because I deeply love our community.”

Wilson says his priority, if elected, will be ending unsheltered homelessness within his first year in office. The current mayor also aimed to end unsheltered homelessness, unsuccessfully. 

The mayoral candidate lives in Portland’s Alameda neighborhood with his wife and two children. After graduating Roosevelt High School, he studied business at Oregon State University, then earned a masters degree in business administration from the University of Portland, with an emphasis in transportation and technology.

He now runs a trucking company- Titan Freight Systems, which he says was able to “eliminate 94 percent of fossil fuels” in its Oregon operations, while adopting a fleet of electric trucks and modernizing in other ways to become an-award winning company recognized for its innovation.

“My skill set is in operations, process, and systems improvement,” Wilson says.

Aside from being a CEO, Wilson founded the nonprofit Shelter Portland and says he was the architect of the Multnomah County Homeless Court program. Currently, he serves on the board of Word is Bond, a nonprofit geared toward empowering young Black men. Wilson also serves on Oregon State University Business School’s Dean’s Council of Excellence Advisory Committee. 

Wilson previously ran for Portland City Council in 2020.

He’s now running again to lead the city under a brand new form of government that will see the next mayor in a largely administrative role.

“Portland’s new system of government requires more than just a career politician,” Wilson says. “The new city  government structure requires an innovative and experienced leader who is equipped with the  leadership and management skills to tackle Portland’s biggest challenges and deliver the quality service  that all Portland residents deserve.”