In 2018, Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty became the first black woman on City Council by a landslide. Now that she’s announced a re-election bid, a group of respected transportation advocates have stepped up to help her stay there.
Calling her a, “True champion for healthier, greener, and more equitable streets,” six names that should be very well-known to BikePortland readers will host a virtual fundraiser for Hardesty on November 6th. It will be hosted by Steve Bozzone, Aaron Brown, Tony Jordan, Joan Petit, Steph Routh and Chris Smith.
Earlier this week, Hardesty’s campaign said they’ve already exceeded their fundraising goals with over 300 donors. The incumbent faces a challenge from Vadim Mozyrsky, a newcomer to Portland politics who’s active a number of high-profile boards and committees.
In a statement released Monday, Hardesty said Portland faces an “extremely challenging” future and that her vision will make our city stronger and more equitable. “We can’t allow our progress to be rolled back. I believe I am the right woman for the job, and that Portland City Council needs my voice as we take on serious challenges in the coming budgets and policy agendas.” Her campaign said she intends to focus on, “public safety, housing and homelessness, economic resilience, and bold action on climate change.”
That notable list of advocates who will host a “Zoom party” for Hardesty next month want to make transportation reform a key part of her agenda — and her success — going forward. In the event description they point to several recent measures of progress including her support for 82nd Avenue, carfree streets, and her continued fight against ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project.
Hardesty was named commissioner of Portland’s transportation bureau by Mayor Ted Wheeler in late December of 2020, despite showing no public inclination for the assignment. Hardesty’s main issue has long been police reform and she’s spent most of her political capital on that issue. Of course that was before she began to dabble in techniques to combat gun violence and reduce the need for police officers through street design and placemaking. If she continues to lean into that type of work, and embraces its direct connection to climate change, community economics and resilience, transportation could become an even larger part of her profile.
Learn more about the event on our calendar.
CORRECTION: This article originally listed Hami Ramani as one of the hosts of this event. He has since informed us that he is not a host. Sorry for any confusion.
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Jo Ann’s outspoken disdain for law enforcement has been pivotal in the down sizing of the police force and the City’s slide into lawlessness. Pedestrian deaths are up. Murder is up. Shootings are at a record high and every sidewalk is a homeless camp. Consider how much these issues have gotten worse in the 3 1/2 years of Jo Ann’s tenure. She wants to build on this, what she calls progress. It doesn’t feel like progress to me and my support will go elsewhere.
Cranky Grandpa. We all see you tryin’ to place blame on the homeless not being cared for, and murder rates being up placed on JoAnn. We all know that she didn’t cause any of that. We all know that the mayor is much more to blame (As is the failed systems that keep the rich rich, and the workers struggling to get by.)
We see right through you.
I think it is more fair to say that she is against White Supremist police officers carrying out racist police policies. There are active White Supremacists on the force. Something that I don’t see you calling out. Granpa. How do you feel about police reform?
I would stipulate that everyone here is against White Supremist police officers carrying out racist police policies (unless you are playing “The Definition Game”). We don’t need to call it out in every post.
Yeah, not everyone here is against white supremacist police officers carrying our racist police policies. In fact, lots of people are more than fine with it. See: everyone who wants the GVRT back
HAHA, any discussion about police reform that doesn’t include more officers is not a discussion about police reform, it is virtue signaling at best. The article above literally emphasizes that police reform has long been her policy du jour, for her that means fewer police. We are seeing how that is playing out. Our weak mayor is no more to blame for issues here than any other member of council, there are major flaws to our form of government.
Homicide has increased nationwide, and predates Hardesty’s tenure and George Floyd’s murder, and thus also predates the most recent movement to defund police departments. It is up in Portland, but it is also up in Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Omaha, Fresno, Mesa, Virginia Beach, Colorado Springs, Miami, Tulsa, and Lubbock, all Republican-controlled cities where police budgets have been increased. There has been no correlation between crime rates and efforts to defund police, much less a causal link.
You know what has increased in correlation with homicide rates, nationwide? Gun sales. Up 65%! 2019-2020 according to Small Arms Analytics (as reported by CNN). Correlation is not causation, but if you’re looking for a smoking gun…
“Violent crime” — not just homicides — is actually DOWN in Portland, and “crime” in general is down, in Portland and nationwide, to a historic degree. In fact even looking at just homicides, the recent rise is small in comparison to the rate that it’s dropped since the 1980s.
And “crime,” of course, is defined by the police — white collar crime and environmental degradation are never included in their statistics, but unconstitutional arrests (70-80% of Portland arrests in the period from May to October 2020, according to the Multnomah County DA) are. According to a study by the New York Times, police (nationwide) typically spend less than 4% of their time on what they describe as “violent crime.”
[I haven’t included links because then my comment will get flagged as spam, but all of the statistics mentioned above are easy to find with simple web searches.]
Hardesty is not perfect, but blaming her, or the police accountability movement (of which defund is one part) for a rise in homicides is just parroting a bucketful of lies.
Nationally the rate for homicides went up 30% from 2019 to 2020. Portland’s homicide rate went up 82% for the same period. So, yes they both went up but Portland’s numbers are far worse. Most cities are not experiencing the same level of increase that we are seeing here in Portland.
Came here to say just that.
Nobody put Hardesty on the hill of “police reform means fewer police”, she did that herself. Unfortunately for her, it would be very difficult to modify the narrative to her benefit as we had 900+ police officers a couple years ago, now we have 700 and should have 1200 for our size of city. So we are getting to see in real time what happens with less police. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/81203 Take a look at where the shootings in Portland are happening. They are happening in the areas where the people least deserving of this kind of behavior exist.
As such an expert of firearms, you should go to a gun shop once in a while. I think you would be so surprised at the demographic there. Lots of older women, POC, etc., which to me all seem like rational purchasers of firearms given what our city has become.
So, maybe it isn’t her fault directly, but it is completely reasonable to reject her policy concepts as half baked and move on to someone more qualified and actually concerned about safety issues in Portland. I can assure you, it will take far more than plastic barrels to make North and East Portland safe again.
I’m a big supporter of JoAnn. And I love BikePortland.org and I ride my bike almost everyday year round.
JoAnne is the best city council member we’ve had in a generation. Our weak puppet of a mayor is stifling JoAnn’s abilities, by placing her in charge of transportation. She should be mayor, and she should be in charge of the police and housing.
I wish we had a new mayor and I hope JoAnn gets reelected.
Best city council member in a generation? What has she accomplished, and please do be specific.
She launched Portland Street Response and got a charter amendment passed with 80% of the vote to establish a new Police oversight board.
I get that people don’t like her. But given that she’s the first black woman we’ve ever elected to city council, implying that she doesn’t get anything done feels gross.
With all the problems Portland has faced lately it only makes sense for people not to be happy with their elected representives. Just because someone feels like she hasn’t gotten much done doesn’t make them a racist.
Sure, I agree that feeling frustrated with city government is understandable. I just think Hardesty herself has accomplished more of her policy aims than any other sitting member of City Council, and the original comment was about just that – her performance relative to other council members. To believe Portland gov’t has generally been ineffectual is one thing, but I take issue with implying that she is less effective than her peers.
She has been there longer than any non mayor member of city council, that’s kind of how accomplishments work, the longer you’re there the more it is expected to have accomplished.
Remember when we were going to be allowed to know that we could die inside the buildings we enter because they are unreinforced masonry structures? Who shut that down? Remember when we were going to revamp our 911 system to have response times actually reflect the urgency of emergencies? Who has been inept at effecting that change? Remember when she was supporting less police and cutting the police budget and police reform? Then remember when an Uber driver wouldn’t roll the windows up after she was gambling during a pandemic and called the cops? Remember how the vast majority of shootings and homicides are happening in North and East Portland and her solution is plastic barrels in the street?
She is far less effective than any city councilor I have seen to date. Her ability to manage actual issues does not align with her aspirations or where change needs to happen in this city at all.
You actually just described a series of things she has accomplished. Let me know which other city council members from the last 50 years have gotten charter amendments passed with 80% of the vote.
Launched Portland Street Response? LOL. She had $5 million and only rolled out one van with three employees working 9-5 M-F in Lents. They answer 3-4 calls per day. What a launch! The CAHOOTS model in Eugene has a $2 million budget with round the clock service, answering 15,000 calls per year. It’s criminal how she’s mismanaged PSR.
And as for the oversight board, that was passed a year ago, and they haven’t even staffed it yet. Hardesty recently formed a commission to look into what that board would look like. $14 million budget for the new board, and despite all the anti-police hysteria, absolutely nothing to show for it. Yet another failure.
How can anyone objectively dismiss everything the city has become (unusable sidewalks & MUPs throughout the city, increasing crime & murders, lack of enforcement of traffic laws, etc.) blaming
the Mayor or others on City Council to protect Jo Ann’s re-election campaign? The only common sense coming out of City Hall nowadays is coming from Mingus Mapps.
Zero evidence Hardesty’s policies (recall she is not in charge of the police department) have had any effect on “crime” rates. There are ideas that you believe, but if you want us to look at things “objectively,” then let’s see some data.
**word deleted by moderator because I really want us to be able to have productive and respectful political debates on here – thanks! ** . Mingus Mapps isn’t in charge of police either but it doesn’t stop him from speaking common sense. He’s in charge of the Water Bureau for crying out loud but it doesn’t stop him from weighing in on transportation, police, and a whole host of other issues impacting the city.
Mingus Mapps is doing good work in the water bureau. A friend of mine works there and says that Mapps is modernizing how it runs, using data to increase the efficiency of its field teams and uncover major infrastructure problems sooner. None of it makes headlines (or ever will, until there’s a catastrophe or rate hike) but he’s helping to start turn around one of the city’s worst messes.
By that token, there is no actual indication she’s been successful, either.
The commission form of government is a disaster and should be replaced. With the mayor and each commissioner having specific bureau assignments, the commissioners focus on a small slice of the city’s responsibilities and functions. If they have time and inclination, they also seek to serve their “base.” No one is looking out for the stakeholders, residents, businesses and visitors as a whole. It’s all about silos and turf and there’s a general understanding “if you keep your hands off my bureaus, I’ll let you run yours as you see fit.”
I have the utmost confidence that even with another form of city government, our elected officials would epically screw things up. The folks we elect on aspirational issues turn out to be terrible administrators.
This to me just sounds like a better form would not have the elected officials be administrators – something the city charter review commission is exploring.
Jo Ann is against improving the commissioner form of government. Watch the charter commission April 21 meeting on their website with her and Mingus. She likes being able to decide how contracts are distributed to her cronies (watch the last 5 minutes for that bitter honesty). Mingus, on the other hand, have examples of how the form of government is broken.
It is fascinating to read comments from Hardesty supporters. I voted for her and had high hopes. I admire her a great deal as a person and activist, but I have been disappointed in her performance as a City Councilor. I am inclined to vote for someone different, but it really depends on that person. I fell pretty open-minded about her at this point. However, every person friends, acquaintances, people I meet at work have all complained about her. My perception was that she is disappointing everyone, but these comments have provided a valuable perspective from people who support and admire her and her performance.
They keep using that picture of her posing on a bike. I wonder why?
One of the reasons that I voted for Comm Hardesty was because I wanted to see regulation of landlord greed and real estate speculation so seeing multiple market urbanists function as de facto boosters of the campaign leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
You can laugh away (ad hominem) but at one time I felt that market urbanists were nothing more than a distraction from addressing the housing crisis (e.g. their policy advocacy re-arranged deck chairs on our housing crisis boat). The economics literature, however, has convinced me that market urbanists carry water for financialization of housing markets and should be opposed even more strongly than NIMBYs.