Portland Public Schools Teacher, Air Force Veteran Join Crowded City Council Race

Both are running in District 3, which covers Southeast Portland west of Interstate 205.

City Council candidate Tiffany Koyama Lane (Laura Mazy)

A Portland Public Schools elementary teacher and a retired Air Force veteran are the latest candidates to join next year’s crowded City Council race, from which 12 members will be elected across four geographic districts.

Tiffany Koyama Lane, 37, is an elementary school teacher at Sunnyside Environmental school in Southeast Portland, a community organizer and a longtime leader in the Portland Association of Teachers, the union that represents Portland Public Schools teachers. She’s running in District 3, which covers most of Southeast Portland west of Interstate 205—a progressive enclave for decades.

Koyama Lane has never run for office before but says she’s had “whispers in my ear for years about running” for Portland City Council; when the charter reform ballot passed in the fall, it seemed an opportune time to throw her hat in the ring. She is currently in the Oregon Labor Candidate School training for City Council candidates.

A mother of two young children and a fourth-generation Japanese American, Koyama Lane says her top two priorities are lowering traffic deaths (a beloved librarian in her community was killed by a car earlier this year) and increasing the supply of affordable and workforce housing while also increasing eviction protections.

“Part of safety is having streets where people feel like they can get to work and school by bike and foot. That’s a basic right,” she says. “The city has record high traffic deaths. We are failing on our commitment to Vision Zero.” (Vision Zero is a zero-traffic death initiative launched by the Portland Bureau of Transportation a number of years ago. Traffic deaths have only increased since then.)

Koyama Lane says the city needs “adequate funding” to prevent traffic deaths, but said she has not yet taken a position on where that additional funding would come from. The Transportation Bureau is facing a $32 million budget gap this year as a result of the two main funding sources—gas taxes and parking revenues—steadily decreasing over the years.

Air Force veteran and father of two Matt Anderson, 55, is also running in District 3. Anderson says he’s currently working toward his master’s degree in teaching at Warner Pacific University, and last year taught algebra at McDaniel High School. This is his first time running for elected office. Before teaching, Anderson worked in a variety of tech jobs.

He also operated a local company, Andy Adams’ Candy, that set up shop at local farmers markets in recent years (its specialty: sweets inspired by the American South).

“The most pressing issues I see facing the district right now are the redevelopment of 82nd Avenue and the development of a Portland 3rd Council District,” Anderson says. “I intend to do the hard work and put in the hours—and shoe leather—it’s going to take to weave all the existing people, experiences, and interest of the 3rd District, into a coherent polity able to make decisions and effect change.”

City Council candidate Matthew Anderson. (Timothy R. Horn)

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