The debate was on after all.
On Monday night, a Portland mayoral debate was resurrected hours after being canceled by The Oregonian, with eight candidates gathered onstage at Revolution Hall.
With WW's Beth Slovic, Street Rootm' Israel Bayer, and Jefferson Smith moderating, the debate had a casual atmosphere. Ted Wheeler, with his neatly combed hair and buttoned-up shirt, sat just next to Bim Ditson, who sported a leather jacket and a mohawk.
Yet the candidates mostly agreed with each other. Everybody concluded that Portland city government needed more representation of people of color, Portland needed more protections for renters, more investment in green buildings, better bike lanes.
Much of the debate consisted of candidates rephrasing the same points that others had made.
Responding to a question about lack of diversity in city politics, Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler said, "Where the decisions get made is where we need communities of color to be sitting."
"I will surround myself with a staff that is reflective of the diversity within this city," was Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey's answer.
In response to a question about the importance of public transit, Sean Davis alluded to the similarity and palatability of the debaters' answers.
"No one's gonna sit up here and say, let's hike the bus fare," Davis said. "I mean, there's only one answer you can give."
The only moments of antagonism came from activist Jessie Sponberg, whose performance was belligerent and profane. Sponberg accused Bailey of reading his opening statement "off his Tinder profile" and said that front-runners Bailey and Wheeler were running "really unremarkable campaigns."
And And And rocker Bim Ditson, by contrast, managed to turn his youth and inexperience into an asset. In response to a question about diversifying city government, Ditson said, to applause, "I'm somebody who doesn't have all the answers, and I'm not ashamed to say that."
But while there wasn't much time to dig into issues, the candidates seemed for the most part happy that the debate had taken place.
It was, Wheeler said, a "raging success."