Four Candidates File for Portland City Council Seats Opening in 2024

The candidates will be vying for spots on the expanded 12-member council.

Inside Portland City Hall. (Blake Benard)

On Monday, a citizen commission finalized the map for Portland’s brand-new City Council districts. In the three days since, four candidates have filed with Portland’s Small Donor Elections Program to run for the council in 2024.

Those four candidates—longtime transportation and social justice advocate Steph Routh, pharmacist Sandeep Bali, progressive political staffer and advocate Jesse Cornett, and Portland Housing Bureau employee and union organizer Chris Flanary—will each vie for one of 12 seats on the future Portland City Council, a dramatic expansion of the current five-member council thanks to a ballot measure approved by voters last fall that radically reshaped how the city functions, including effectively its board of directors.

Two of the four hopefuls—Bali and Cornett—have run for City Council before.

Bali made a bid for Commissioner Dan Ryan’s seat last year, but received just under 8% of the vote. Bali told WW last year he was motivated to run because of the tents that frequently popped up outside his business, which sits along Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Cornett ran for City Council in 2010, but fell short of ousting incumbent Dan Saltzman. He’s worked in and around Oregon politics for more than two decades, including for U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). He was also “body man” for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cornett is a board member of Oregon Recovers, a nonprofit that supports people suffering from and overcoming addiction, and also appears to work for ADP, a workforce company.

Bali, Cornett and Flanary (about whom little is known) are all running for the three seats in District 3, which extends from the inner eastside to Interstate 205 and north to Interstate 84.

Routh for decades has sat on various transportation boards and committees, advocating for a less car-centric city. Routh sits on the city’s Planning Commission and worked for a time at the city’s Transportation Bureau. She also worked at the Sightline Institute, a progressive think tank. BikePortland first reported her candidacy.

Routh is vying for one of the three City Council seats in District 1, which is the easternmost of the four geographic voting districts recently drawn by the citizen committee. Each of the four districts will be represented by three members of the City Council, elected by ranked-choice voting next fall.

Below is a map of the four voting districts.

Alder Map. (City of Portland)

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