Oregon treasurer and newly-minted Portland mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler sat down with WW's news staff Tuesday morning to discuss his bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Charlie Hales.
He opened by declaring City Hall had failed to address "a crisis on the streets of this city." His salvo made clear Wheeler intends to hammer Hales early and often on Portland's high rate of homelessness.
Homeless camps and panhandling have vexed Hales since he took office. This summer, he pledged increased services as camps on the Eastbank Esplanade keep growing.
We challenged Wheeler's claim that City Hall has sat on its hands. What about big projects like the Bud Clark Commons, a $47 million homeless services center in Old Town that opened in 2011?
He replied that those steps weren't enough. Such projects haven't addressed people living on the verge of losing their homes, he said, or those who are episodically homeless.
He described people living in cars in his West Hills neighborhood.
"There's people virtually every single night of the week in front of my home, living in cars," he says in this video clip. "It's a safe street. It's an easy place for people to park, and nobody hassles 'em."
Watch his full response.