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Carmen Rubio: the Leader Portland Needs

It’s a fact that Portland is facing unprecedented community safety challenges and humanitarian and climate emergencies. Homelessness, crime and addiction are tearing our communities and families apart, while the worsening climate crisis threatens our way of life. This isn’t the Portland anyone wants, and it’s not what our children deserve.

Carmen knows that Portland’s best days are still ahead – that solutions are within reach. When government, nonprofits, businesses, and individual Portlanders work together, we can do amazing things for our amazing city. And building a vibrant, thriving, and economically healthy Portland must include all of our neighborhoods and communities aligned and moving forward in the same direction.

Portland needs a mayor who will take responsibility for the way forward. One with a track record of building bridges and decisive leadership that gets results. One who will focus our city’s energy into a force for change. And one with the right combination of executive level experience of a large organization that we need – and the progressive values that we want.

That leader is Carmen Rubio.

Carmen knows that solving these multiple challenges requires a holistic, comprehensive, and collaborative approach; we can’t get Portland back on its feet by focusing on just one issue, neighborhood, or community to the exclusion of others. She knows that our success means making progress through realistic steps that address immediate, urgent needs, while also moving us toward longer-term goals for our city.

As City Commissioner, Carmen has demonstrated that she can make hard calls and, above all, collaborate to deliver results that move Portland in the right direction.

On Community Safety

Carmen is the only candidate for mayor who has been a consistent and proud supporter of Portland Street Response. But she also recognizes that a complete public safety system needs the right people in every role. She led the charge to grow the public safety support specialist program, with the goal of freeing up officers to respond to critical public safety issues; and continues to support the bureau’s work to see that we have the number of officers we need to ensure timely response and service to all parts of our city, and to residents of every background and situation.

Carmen also believes that part of leadership is recognizing when a policy needs changes. That’s why she supported a City Council resolution and ordinance calling on the Oregon State Legislature to take action to improve Measure 110 in order to meet its intended outcomes. It’s also why she will continue to push for/work with her colleagues in other jurisdictions to build a functional mental health and addiction treatment and service system that works, once and for all.

On Homelessness and Housing

Soon after joining the Portland City Council in January 2021, Carmen facilitated the code changes necessary to make temporary emergency shelters possible. She also supported funding for shelter expansion with on-site services, including housing navigation to help find people permanent homes.

Carmen has taken numerous, immediate actions to increase the production of more affordable housing, including her comprehensive housing regulatory reform package that is before City Council right now. She also passed policies to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and middle-income Portlanders and set in motion the city’s updated long-term housing production strategy.

On Permitting Reform

Carmen ended decades of disagreement and garnered the support of the majority of City Council to consolidate city permitting into a single office. Her decision was supported by businesses and nonprofits ranging from the Portland Metro Chamber to Habitat for Humanity. Read more here and here.

On Climate Change

Carmen received praise for her reforms to the Portland Clean Energy Fund, which will invest more than $750 million to reduce carbon emissions and make Portland more resilient in the face of climate change. She was able to achieve these changes because she won support from both “a coalition of social justice and environmental organizations that helped develop the program” and “[o]ne of its harshest critics,” as reported by The Oregonian’s Shane Kavanaugh.

Similarly, The Oregonian’s editorial board praised Commissioner Rubio’s work to reform the Portland Clean Energy Fund as “what the city desperately needs from all its elected leaders.” Read more here and here.

In a major carbon reduction move, Carmen updated the city’s Renewable Fuels Standard to facilitate the transition away from traditional fossil fuels. And she brought together Portland’s industrial sector to design a Clean Industry Hub to identify innovative and achievable carbon reduction investments in what is a very hard sector to decarbonize.