Buckman Candidates’ Forum

(SE Portland) — A lively group of voters got their first taste of Ann Sanderson’s ideas for change at City Hall, in a candidates’ forum hosted Thursday night by the Buckman Community Association.

Hot-button topics like homelessness, housing density, and transportation dominated the questions submitted by the audience. Sanderson, who first came into the public eye when she lead the fight against the council’s Street Fee last year, offered some positive and considered ideas about the city’s direction. While other candidates, including incumbent Amanda Fritz, were content to take a party line on subjects like Uber, AirBNB and the sharing economy in general, Sanderson encouraged taking the long-term view and seeing these industries as part of inevitable progress.

“You can’t stop progress. It never works to try,” adding that you can understand what the future is bringing and craft the best possible laws to encourage good growth and protect citizens.

She also added that as opposed to wasting taxpayer time on new laws, council should concentrate on enforcing the ones they’d already passed, citing AirBNB by name. After extended wrangling that ended up legalizing these short-term rentals, the city has been taken to task by residents for not enforcing the required permitting.

To the question of the the city’s growing transportation issues, Fritz appeared to lean on a record of small incremental accomplishments, while Sanderson took a more aggressive future focused approach, trying to find common ground for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

“It’s fine to say we’re going to all take public transportation everywhere, but if you live in certain parts of town, and you have kids, and you’re shuttling them where they need to go, and you’re juggling four bags of groceries and two kids in the rain, the bus just isn’t going to work.”