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Portland City Council candidate Mingus Mapps wants to ‘reclaim our streets’

Posted by on April 27th, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Mingus Mapps
(Photo: Mapps campaign)

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:

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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David Hampsten
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I have a general question about Portland city council elections: If someone beats an incumbent for a seat in the May primaries and receives an outright majority, do they start their term soon afterwards? Or do they still have to wait until after November 3rd to start?

I see these various proposals by different candidates, but what practical impact will they have between now and November 3rd if they are not yet assigned by the mayor to run PBOT? Or even afterwards, if the mayor assigns them instead to run Parks and Fire instead?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

They wait. The best-case scenario I see is that Eudaly gets eliminated in the first round (with or without a runoff between Mapps and Adams), and then feels free to aggressively promote non-motorized transportation without feeling constrained by electoral politics. As if.

Momo
Guest
Momo

They take office in January the following year, just like normal. It’s a very long lag time, which is one of the many reasons why having a system where someone can win outright in the primary is stupid.

 
Guest
 

From what I’ve seen, Mapps seems to be easily the best candidate out of the field. Better at reaching out to a wide range of communities than Eudaly and with better policies, without the baggage that Adams comes with from his term as mayor.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Got two interesting yard signs in our neighborhood.

Mingus has his name big and bold up top, down below a rose with lightning bolts bursting out. Not sure what that signifies!

Sam has “Effective Leadership Now” but not his name until the small-type disclaimer at the bottom. So much for name recognition!

Nothing for Chloe yet, but I am working on a campaign song to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda.” Try it–it really swings!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Mapps has the coolest political signs I’ve seen in a long time.

https://www.mingusmapps.com/yard-sign

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

It’s easy to say people could apply for a block party permit, but they can do that right now.

Someone who sits on city council needs to be making bigger changes to our streets, particularly the big car-oriented streets. Whether Eudaly will oversee PBOT under a new mayor (hopefully Iannarone) remains to be seen. I highly doubt that Mapps or Adams would be given the bureau or that safe streets would be advanced by either of them having it. Both men seem most inclined to court the NIMBY vote against Eudaly’s progress on housing.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> Both men seem most inclined to court the NIMBY vote against Eudaly’s progress on housing. <<<

I'm not sure I see the connection… No restrictions on large rent Increases In My Back Yard?

Scott Glazer
Guest
Scott Glazer

I want to like Mapps, but this proposal seems poorly thought out on a lot of different levels:
1. It’ll only happen one disconnected block at a time, if I understand it right, which is next-to-useless for the many bikers and runners struggling for some some safe exercise.
2. It’ll happen where there’s some resident with the free time to navigate some grumpy city bureaucracy to apply for it. Which also goes to equability: such residents are more likely in richer neighborhoods with fewer other problems to suck up all their time and energy.
3. The optics of doing this as a “block party” are insanely bad. Anybody looking to call this a bad idea just has to say “the city is encouraging block parties now!” and wham it’s DOA.
4. Same criticism as with Sam Adam’s proposal: Doing it in a few places is exactly what we don’t need. People will flock to these few unique places. It needs to be broad, to give everybody in the city some space.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I agree with you, but these policies are as likely to be enacted as-is as Bernie’s health care plan was. It’s just a way for candidates to say “I’ve got a plan for that.” It’s a [dog whistle | virtue signal]*, nothing more.

What it might do is increase pressure on Eudaly to take action. If she does, it will be something different, so she doesn’t just look like she’s late to the party, copying her opponent’s ideas.

*Please pick the cliche that best aligns with your political orientation

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Mapps also complained that 20th and E Burnside was too dense because he couldn’t reliably get a spot in the public parking in front of his house.

Let’s also remember the Oregonian endored Knute Buehler for governor just last year. Anyone they endorse should be given a wide berth.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Can you share a source for these comments? I’d like to read the entire thing.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Totally

“[But] you can have too much density. Think about Burnside on the eastside up to at least 20th. I’ve lived in that neighborhood for a long time. Two or three years ago, you could just park in that neighborhood. I could park in front of my house. Some of our Portland neighborhoods are becoming a little dysfunctional because we’ve packed too much into too small of a space.”

https://www.wweek.com/news/city/2019/09/21/mingus-mapps-used-to-work-in-commissioner-chloe-eudalys-bureau-now-he-aims-to-unseat-her/

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

He claims to be in favor of density, but then calls 20th and Burnside too dense, which is baffling. I think he’s just very ignorant on the issue.

Glad to see he’s against rent control, and in favor of more infrastructure in outer-Portland, though.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

It actually makes a ton of sense to me. Cars fill an emotional need for humans. 100 years of propaganda have made Americans both physically and mentally reliant on cars. In the midwest where I grew, people wont walk more than a block or two, even relatively fit people. IThe convenience of a car is all consuming, especially when its so easy to push the negative externalities onto other people. I’m guessing Mapps isn’t renting.

You can objectively understand how bad low-density housing is and still want low-density housing.

I just wouldn’t vote for someone who can’t de-prioritize their emotional attachment to their car.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

“He claims to be in favor of density, but then calls 20th and Burnside too dense, which is baffling. I think he’s just very ignorant on the issue.”

That would be granting benefit of doubt. It’s demagogue. He is appealing to popular misconceptions to secure votes. City Council Seat 2 deserves someone better than Mapps.

Alex Mahan
Guest
Alex Mahan

Mapps’ comments in that interview about parking and his hesitance to support RIP also make me reluctant to support him. Not to mention his website mentions very little about transportation.

I don’t really want to vote for any of these three (Mapps, Eudaly, or Adams). Seth Woolley’s policy section on his website is pretty thin, plus he worked for Uber which is pretty barf-worthy in terms of progressive transportation policy.

Bummer.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

What a horrible man – He wants to park his car close to his home.

Kana O.
Guest
Kana O.

Not a horrible man—but if always being able to park outside one’s house is your standard for a properly dense and oriented neighborhood, I don’t want you anywhere near the city’s transportation and land use levers.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Did you read the part about how he thought too much attention went to the downtown area and not enough to to east side?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Strawman.

dan
Guest
dan

I don’t want to be that single-issue commenter, but seriously, look into Keith Wilson, who’s running for the same commissioner seat: http://www.keithforportland.com/climate_emergency_subpage

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

I would love to see a BP profile of Keith Wilson.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Ugh… Knute Buehler, giving me cold sweats. The Oregonian is best suited to the bottom of a bird cage.

But he also said, “The city hasn’t built basic infrastructure east of 82nd. I think if we built sidewalks, if we paved roads, if we created more parks and provided adequate police protection, we could shift the center of the city away from downtown out to the borders. We’re building downtown up so that it’s a jewel box. Meanwhile we’re neglecting most of the people who live on the periphery.”

And that is a very compelling statement. Sure, he complains about density close in SE, but he also highlights the reason why it’s bad. He’s not just complaining that parking is bad, he’s showing that this is a symptom of the bigger issue.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Just reading my voters’ pamphlet.

Never seen so many errors of fact as in MM’s screed.

Anybody really know who this guy is?

casual observer
Guest
casual observer

This idea is super safe and really no different than what Commissioner Eudaly is saying. Maybe <50 blocks across the entire city sign up for this for longer than one week. Basically no lasting change. Man, that gets me excited. Can’t wait for the Pedalpalooza ride called “find the blocked off blocks”. Ride distance = 50 miles, maybe we hit 10, bring a GPS.

The current candidates are not close enough to utilizing our streets outside of a vehicle to put out a semi-decent solution. Either that, or they are calculating more people are against street closures.

Momo
Guest
Momo

Not strictly bike-related per se, but if you care about good housing policy to support dense, affordable, bikeable neighborhoods, you might be interested in this. Mingus Mapps got the lowest score out of everyone who answered the survey running for this seat on City Council:
https://portlandneighborswelcome.org/candidate-scorecard/#position4

I also remember an interview he had with Willamette Week complaining that he couldn’t find parking in front of his (presumably expensive and fancy) house in Buckman anymore because there were too many new apartment buildings.

Miles Sisk
Guest
Miles Sisk

You will also notice that that group has like… barely any real following and does absolutely zero real grassroots organizing, no field or general community outreach beyond calling people they don’t like “NIMBYs” on Facebook and Twitter. The main reason why they gave Mingus a “C” is because Portland: Neighbors Welcome was frothing at the mouth over Chloe’s goal of neutering the influence of neighborhood associations and regional representation in the city so that they (effectively a small group of lobbyists) had less competition in the city for their voices on housing issues to be heard. Mingus killed that entire proposal the moment he came out to run. The letter grade is directly reflective of the group’s larger goals of buying influence in the city.

If they want to make real change in the city, Portland: Neighbors Welcome needs to do a better job of actually talking to their neighbors, listening to their concerns, and having engaging conversations to get Portlanders all on one page rather than continuing to use divisive rhetoric around housing and zoning issues in the city, it would also allow the group to expand beyond their very small group of activist’lobbyists that they have been struggling to grow for years now.

I only know because I associated with them quite heavily for years.

Jason
Guest
Jason

MM: Think about Burnside on the eastside up to at least 20th. I’ve lived in that neighborhood for a long time. Two or three years ago, you could just park in that neighborhood. I could park in front of my house. Some of our Portland neighborhoods are becoming a little dysfunctional because we’ve packed too much into too small of a space.

RM: How would you address the housing crisis?

MM: Chloe talks a lot about inequity. And I think one of the most painful inequities in this city is the difference between the services that are provided in East Portland and the services that are provided in other parts of the city.

The city hasn’t built basic infrastructure east of 82nd. I think if we built sidewalks, if we paved roads, if we created more parks and provided adequate police protection, we could shift the center of the city away from downtown out to the borders. We’re building downtown up so that it’s a jewel box. Meanwhile we’re neglecting most of the people who live on the periphery.

https://www.wweek.com/news/city/2019/09/21/mingus-mapps-used-to-work-in-commissioner-chloe-eudalys-bureau-now-he-aims-to-unseat-her/

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Thanks for providing some context; in that light, his position almost sounds logical and equitable.

Jason
Guest
Jason

The article was not hard to find. Since it was already linked by cmh89 above. Even still, I could have searched it out with minimal effort. So, if you think I achieved some Herculean task, I have this to say to you. Baseless opinions are just self indulgent ignorance.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Go Sam. Bye bye Chloe!