Occupation: small business owner, former Portland City Commissioner, senior vice president for HDR Engineering
What does “family” mean to you?
Family is about absolute commitment. It’s about putting the people you love first. When Nancy and I decided to get married, she was still living in Stephenson, Washington. We decided that instead of uprooting her two kids who were still in high school, I would move there to live with them while they finished up school. We agreed that once they graduated, we would move back to Portland full-time. To this day, I know that I made the right decision to temporarily leave the city I love to become a real part of her family.
What do Portland’s families need more of?
Quality schools and a strong public education system, from preschool to higher education, is the most important thing for our families, our economy and our safety. Providing a quality education to our children is my number-one priority, and when Portland asks for state support, this is going to be at the top of the list. I’m going to use the full power and influence of the City of Portland to prioritize public education.
If our schools are to be a priority, we need the full force of the community behind them. Under my leadership we’ll do everything we can to assure adequate funding and to move forward. That means strong advocacy for a full school year, support for educators, after-school programs for kids, and finding clever ways to step in and help the schools when they need it. I’ve done it before, and I will do it again.
What’s one of your most treasured family memories?
My kids and I developed the tradition of going backpacking together. We still do. I have this strong visual memory of beautiful trails with wildflowers in the foreground, snowy peaks in the distance, and my kids striding along … it’s not one place or moment, but a combination of so many great trips. I think all of us carry this same image in our mind’s eye.
Who was/were your favorite Portland Mayor(s) and why?
Vera Katz showed me how a mayor takes almost a parental interest in the people of our city, powering her leadership with love. I’m proud to have her support in this race.
What are some places you would describe as providing ultimate Portland experiences?
The rose garden in Peninsula Park. Waterfront Park during a festival. A morning commute on the Eastbank Esplanade. Any neighborhood park or coffee shop on a weekend. A patio at a brewery with a local microbrew in hand.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?
There are so many fun things to do in Portland, which is what makes this city so special. My perfect Sunday afternoon would be getting a cup of coffee with my wife at the Ugly Mug in Sellwood, taking a bike ride along the Springwater Corridor to the downtown Farmers Market, and then up into Washington Park or the Hoyt Arboretum for a picnic with all the great local produce we’d just purchased. And since we’d ridden there and would be riding home, we could eat guilt-free!
What makes you laugh?
Much to my children’s chagrin, I love a good pun. I love to make ‘em groan with a really bad one.
Movie that changed your life?
I’m not sure that there is a movie that actually changed my life. There are several, like “The Birdcage” that have made me a happier person. One of my favorites is “Waking Ned Devine,” this wonderful story of a small Irish town where one of the few dozen residents wins the lottery, and then dies. It is hilarious — Nancy and I have watched it way too many times — we can recite all the best lines.
First concert: where, who were you with, who was it?
My first rock concert, if you can call it that, was Jimmy Buffett. Not only did I see him, I got to have dinner with him before the concert! No, it was not a cheeseburger and it wasn’t paradise. Nope, no margaritas either; I was in college. But it was certainly memorable — he’s just as fun to hang out with as you’d hope.
Most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of love?
Have you ever spent a weekend supervising nine high-school students out in the wilderness? While I was still dating my wife, Nancy, I was trying to show her what a good step-dad I’d be so I volunteered to chaperone a backpacking trip to Utah with nine high schoolers. Let’s say it was a week I’ll never forget.
If I weren’t running for mayor I’d be:
Working for HDR Engineering, working to give people more transportation choices and trying to get great public transit systems implemented across the country. It’s been fun and very satisfying work.
Portland’s greatest asset is that we already …
Have a fantastic collection of neighborhoods. That might sound a little obvious, but I’ve now seen a lot of other cities, and none of them have this amazing quilt of distinctive neighborhoods.
Portland’s greatest potential could be manifested if we were sure to have had:
A an adequately funded, quality school in every neighborhood.
The way democracy is expressed today is:
Voting! Please do!
One thing you’d change about the nature of today’s politics:
I am very concerned about the role of big money in today’s politics. This is why I took a pledge to only accept contributions of $1 to $600 in my campaign. My hope is that by limiting big contributions in my own campaign, people will feel like their donation really matters.
Raising my family here in Portland, I feel like my kids and I have benefited from past leaders who have made this a great place to live. I want to carry that on, making Portland better and making the best things about Portland true in every neighborhood. My kids also reflect the people side of Portland — they are passionately loyal to our city. They love the Timbers, great coffee and the cherry blossoms each spring in Waterfront Park. And, as adults, they are open-minded, progressive, good-hearted citizens — classic nice Portlanders!