Locked in a heated race against incumbent City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and former Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Mingus Mapps has jumped into the Covid-19 open streets discussion.
Eudaly, who’s in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, doubled down on her decision to not adapt our streets to realities of the virus outbreak last week. Eudaly’s position thus far hasn’t changed for nearly a month now and puts Portland further and further outside the mainstream as big and small cities nationwide seize this moment to create healthier streets (see our Monday Roundup for the latest updates).
Mapps’ campaign announced this morning that he wants to “reclaim our streets” and has a “constructive compromise” to offer.
“Mingus Mapps calls on the City of Portland to publicly encourage neighborhoods to apply for block party permits to close down streets in their own neighborhoods,” the announcement reads. “Mingus supports this ‘bottom up’ approach that empowers Portlanders to build social capital and bring neighbors and children outside while also maintaining social distancing. He encourages the City to allow permits to last for up to one week.”
Mapps’ suggestion of block parties is similar to what Sam Adams proposed last week. Mapps favors the block party permit route because it will have “minimal stress on City resources.” Here’s more from Mapps’ announcement:
Today, Mingus Mapps, who is running against Commissioner Eudaly, contrasted his position with the incumbent’s: “Unlike Commissioner Eudaly, I believe now is exactly the time for the City to reinvent government and reimagine infrastructure. The needs of Portlanders have changed. Our elected leaders need to respond to that… I understand why Portlanders want more space and time outdoors. For more than a month now, I have been sheltering in place with two boys, ages 9 and 11. We are doing fine, but the isolation is tough on the kids. One of our coping strategies is to get outside every day… I think we can reclaim our streets, while maintaining the appropriate levels of social distancing. In fact, we must. The world is not going back to the ‘old normal.’ We are heading toward a ;’new normal’ and that is going to require Portland to rethink how it organizes its public spaces.”
Mapps, a former political science professor who attended Reed College, picked up a big endorsement from The Oregonian yesterday. They said a vote for Mapps would be a way toward calmer waters at City Hall. “[Mapps is a] moderate, thoughtful alternative to Eudaly,” The Oregonian said, “voters tired of polarizing politics would be smart to vote for Mapps.”
Learn more about Mapps at his campaign website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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