Portland City Council candidate Jo Ann Hardesty has named three high-profile advocates to advise her on housing policy: Ibrahim Mubarak, who helped found such homeless villages as Right 2 Dream Too; Maxine Fitzpatrick, executive director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc., a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland; and Margot Black, who helped found the renters’ rights group Portland Tenants United.
“One of the things I love about all three of these people,” Hardesty tells WW, “is their deep commitment that those who are on the margins are included and part of the solution.”
As first reported Wednesday by WW, the selection of Black is significant because she resigned her leadership post with PTU last month after charges of racism by a black activist; she is now working to elect one of two black women in the race.
Hardesty says the controversy that caused Black to step down didn’t give her pause.
“The fearlessness I’ve seen in Margot over the last few years has been pretty phenomenal,” Hardesty tells WW. “I like surrounding myself with fighters — people who you know don’t accept the status quo and make those changes happen, so I never had any second thoughts.”
Fitzpatrick’s selection is significant in part because Hardesty is a vocal opponent of the city’s policy of trying to bring back Portlanders gentrified out of North and Northeast Portland. Fitzpatrick’s nonprofit has been active in that program.
“It’s the most ludicrous, arrogant, obnoxious policy imaginable,” Hardesty told WW back in August. Hardesty called for reparations for black Portlanders, in lieu of that policy, the Guardian reported this week.
In a Feb. 23 interview, she was more conciliatory and said she still a critic of the policy.
“[Fitzgerald] believes we can create opportunities for people to come back to Inner Northeast at the same time as housing where people have been forced out,” Hardesty says. “That just means we’re going to need more resources if we’re going to do both.”
(Fitzpatrick hasn’t endorsed yet endorsed in the campaign.)
In the same interview with WW, Hardesty criticized the expansion of the no-sit zones in downtown, which keep homeless people from sitting or sleeping on the sidewalk. She praised the relocation ordinance passed by council as well as the efforts by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to regulate security deposits.
She said in the future she would support legal representation for tenants facing eviction, and look for ways to protect renters who have roommates and house shares.
Hardesty’s campaign says she’ll roll out similar advisory groups for three other key issues: police reform, green jobs and access—the last, says Hardesty, means “whose voice is heard at City Hall.”