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Real Change
for Portland

End Unsheltered Homelessness and End Open Drug Use NOW

Let’s just say it: this isn’t working. Portlanders everywhere are dismayed with how quickly our city became a national symbol for bad policies and failed leadership. We’ve spent record amounts only to see record numbers become homeless—or, in many cases, arrive homeless—every day. 

 

This failure impacts every Portlander. We’ve seen the tents surrounding our parks and playgrounds. Warned our children about syringes on our sidewalks. Watched helplessly as mental health tragedies play out in public. It’s heartbreaking. Worse, it’s cruel. 

 

The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. 


We need REAL CHANGE because no one should suffer the inhumanity of sleeping on the street. That’s why ending unsheltered homelessness and open drug use is my top priority. Here’s how we’ll get it done in 12 months.

  • As mayor, I will swiftly end unsheltered homelessness in Portland by providing enough nighttime walk-in emergency shelters to take in every unsheltered person in Portland.

    My non-profit, Shelter Portland, is focused on growing a network of homeless shelters. We know how to remove barriers and serve the neediest population at a tenth of the daily cost of a Temporary Alternative Shelter Site.

    This pioneering model, based on previously successful efforts from around the world, can rapidly scale into underutilized city and private facilities, driving costs down and ending unsheltered camping.

    Visit Shelter Portland

    A nighttime walk-in emergency shelter operated by Union Gospel Mission, located at the Portland Central Church of the Nazarene, with financial support provided by Shelter Portland.

  • Emergency shelter isn’t enough. Nighttime emergency shelters may provide safety, security, shelter, and sleep but don’t offer services. Day shelters are a ‘warm handoff’ designed to assess individual needs, connect with services, and permanently help our neighbors off the streets.

    Keith speaking at a Shelter Portland Day Shelter opening.

    Shelter Portland opens a new Day Shelter in collaboration with PDX Saints Love as its operator.

  • Homeless Court Program, which has expanded into 70 jurisdictions, is a decades-old program with a proven track record of ending the deadly cycle of homelessness, poverty, and the criminal justice system. I collaborated with judges, district attorneys, public defenders, and legal associations nationwide to set up the first Multnomah County Homeless Court Program here, which provides conviction forgiveness upon completing a client focused and individualized recovery and life skill program.

    Keith working with San Diego's public defender for the Multnomah Homeless Court Program.

    Matt Wechter, San Diego County Public Defender & Director of Homeless Court Program, and Keith Wilson, Shelter Portland, prepping for a monthly homeless court session held at San Diego’s Veterans Village Homeless Shelter, where 60 homeless people completed their programs and barriers to housing were removed.

  • Portland Street Response is a success story. I’ll double down on this working strategy by increasing their scope and using their capabilities to their full potential. Everyone benefits from the critical work Portland Street Response does to handle issues and reduce the burden on the overall first responder system. Let’s make sure this vital asset never sits idle.

    Keith posing with Portland's Street Response team.

    Portland Street Response team on a ride along to gain experience on the effectiveness of the program.

  • Drug decriminalization, Measure 110, missed several critical lessons and opportunities, and allowing open drug use was perhaps the most egregious example. I’ll ensure our public safety officers confiscate hard drugs from street users and end the scourge of unrestricted drug use and open drug dealing in our public places.

Restore Public Safety, Health, and Confidence

Everyday Portlanders are losing faith in the most basic safety net: fire, ambulance, and police services. Emergency 911 calls were once answered in as little as 10 seconds. Now, wait times are often a minute more. Police response has never been slower, and ambulance availability has tumbled. When seconds matter, our families can’t afford to wait minutes. 

 

We see neglect everywhere. Portland is experiencing near-record levels of gun violence, auto theft, reckless driving and vehicular homicides, property crime, illegal dumping, and graffiti.


The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.

  • Statistics say crime in Portland is falling. Unacceptable emergency response times and overtaxed police have made this hard to accept. Portlanders must feel safe in their own city, and confident that calling 911 means help is on the way. This is not negotiable.

     

    Here’s the simple truth: our unsheltered homeless—less than a single percent of our population—are responsible for tying up half of our police and fire resources. It’s unsustainable, and these critical services have been strained to the breaking point. Cost-effective sheltering will quickly bring our overextended resources back under control and allow our first responders to get back to the job at hand.

     

    How big of an impact does sheltering make in freeing up crucial public safety officers and other resources? It may be more than you might think. According to one study, the likelihood of arrest of a sheltered vs. unsheltered person declines by up to 98%.

    Portland Fire Bureau Station #23 ride along.

    Portland Fire Bureau Station #23 ride along.

    Portland Fire Bureau Station #23 ride along responding to tent fire.

    Portland Fire Bureau Station #23 ride along responding to tent fire.

    Portland Police Bureau ride along responding to camp cleanup distress call.

    Portland Police Bureau ride along responding to camp cleanup distress call.

  • Every day, we see the tents, trash, and graffiti. Portland’s reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world has suffered immeasurably, and the makeshift structures, unlicensed/uninsured cars, broken-down RVs, and unmaintained trailers pose a terrible environmental problem to the surrounding community. Worse, abandoning people to these unlivable situations is inhumane. 

     

    We won’t put up with it anymore. Together, we’ll get people under roofs again. For all of Portland, sheltering will make our community laws covering camping, vehicle licensing, safety, and sanitation enforceable once more.

    PBOT street cleaning ride along.

    PBOT street cleaning ride along.

  • TriMet should never again serve as an ad-hoc rolling shelter or warming center. We have world-class public transportation, and sheltering our homeless will allow our enviable transportation network to flourish again.

  • Our parks, public spaces, and the vast network of bike and walking trails that connect them are irreplaceable community treasures. It’s time for the crown jewels of our parks systems to return to their rightful role. Every citizen of Portland should feel safe and welcome in the Eastside Esplanade, Springwater Corridor, and every corner of our city. Only by providing for the essential unmet needs of our unsheltered can we once more unleash the potential of our cherished green spaces.

  • For thirty years, Portland operated a sobering center where police and first responders could find care for people experiencing severe intoxication. The facility closed in late 2019. As of 2024, there is still no replacement.

     

    Proposals and studies have languished, delaying this critical stopgap in our city's crisis health system. There are plans and funding, but they’re not moving fast enough for the health emergencies we see on our streets every day.

     

    Sobering centers are an irreplaceable safeguard for all of Portland’s citizens. It’s time to get them up and running again. More importantly, I won’t let any more of our critical public safety resources close without an operating replacement.

Let’s Grow Portland Together

It’s not your imagination… Portland is shrinking, and our neighbors are leaving. We’ve lost tens of thousands of citizens over the last five years, especially among families and children. Tens of thousands of others are asking themselves hard questions about their future in our city. 


It’s not just the shrinking population. We’ve lost ground in every metric, including commercial districts, tourism, entertainment, and public perception. 


The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.


It’s time to reverse the trend. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • Downtown Portland has emptied far more than our sister cities, a loss that adds up to billions in lost revenue and wages. If we’d humanely and effectively addressed our rising unsheltered population, that loss would have been a fraction of what we’re experiencing today.

     

    The solution isn’t complex. If we restore cleanliness and safety to downtown, our beautiful, abundant city, highly-skilled workforce, and below-market rents will welcome an influx of investment and jobs from across the nation.

  • In 2017, tourists from across the globe brought $5.1 billion in direct spending to Portland, supporting over 35,000 jobs. Since then, sadly, those numbers have fallen, along with Portland’s stature as an international tourism destination. We have everything we need to bring Portland back as a one-of-a-kind vacation and business travel experience. Let’s get to it!

  • We’re missing thousands of children, particularly those of elementary school age. Parents have chosen to raise their kids outside of the city or opted not to come to Portland to start their families. 

     

    Each child in the Portland Public School system brings in $13,500 in annual funding, meaning these missing families have forced difficult and painful staffing and facilities decisions across the city. Reversing the trend—and bringing in a new generation of young Portlanders—requires a city families trust and believe in. Together, we can build a Portland for families.

  • The Rose Festival is a celebration of Portland. After more than a century, it’s now in crisis. We’ve shortened the Grand Floral Parade and rerouted it away from downtown. The number of people who have turned out for the event has halved. Even this diminished event has stretched our overwhelmed first responders too thin.

     

    It’s time to bring back the Rose Festival, return the event to the heart of our city, and celebrate everything Portland has to offer. If elected, I promise the 2025 Rose Festival will be one to remember.

Smarter, More Effective Local Government

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity before us. On January 1st, 2025, our city government will transition from a commission-based system to a mayor-council structure for the first time in a century. This long-awaited change means our next leadership will have an unprecedented chance to set Portland’s path for decades.


Our next mayor must be able to bring together people from every walk of life to achieve our dreams for a better Portland. The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.


We all want a streamlined city that delivers better services faster and at a sensible cost. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • Our next mayor must lead Portland through transformational change. There will be unknowns, and there will be challenges. With a decades-long background in executive direction, transformation management, civic engagement, and non-profit leadership, I will be ready to handle the critical tasks of city leadership from day one.

  • Drawing inspiration from the groundbreaking success of LEANOhio and similar initiatives, I’ll bring leading innovation practices back to Portland. We’ll return to the civic culture and commitment that made us extraordinary, once more living up to the promise of The City that Works.

     

    Here’s the bottom line: I know how to make this happen. We have dozens of bureaus with overlapping missions and cultures, and they’re not set up to collaboratively succeed. Bringing the same Lean Six Sigma practices to Portland that have helped so many other cities will unlock stifled innovation and enterprise across the city. Our dedicated public servants have the will and know-how; they just need the tools and management infrastructure. 

  • Our faithful, capable public servants are not set up to collaborate, learn from each other, and achieve. I’ll prioritize accountability and collaboration between departments for everyone's benefit. Big changes come from small, continuous improvements, and I’ll push every department to make better decisions and deliver superior public services at lower costs.

  • Integrity and inclusion isn’t just a promise; it’s a track record. Everybody matters, and the organizations I lead are committed to excellence, integrity, and inclusion on every level. The people I choose don’t take shortcuts, and they don’t leave others behind. Everyone has a voice that deserves to be centered, and a culture that values all is capable of achieving anything.

Rapidly Expand Affordable Housing

If you’ve recently looked for a home or apartment in Portland, I don’t have to tell you it’s hard. We have more people who need housing than capacity for them, and it’s hitting young, BIPOC, lower-income, and retired residents the hardest. 


With rising construction costs and a 5-year timeline for new affordable housing, we can’t afford to wait. 


The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.


We need new housing now. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • Even basic permitting in Portland is frustrating. Our city goals will require a ‘strike team’ with unprecedented access and authority to remove barriers and eliminate the delays that stagnate critical permitting. 

     

    Their first mission? Get the first round of office-to-housing conversions completed within two months. We’ve seen it done in other communities, and we can do it here. Better yet, it will be the first step to supercharging affordable housing and empowering residential developers to do what they do best—build.

  • Converting eligible office buildings into residential spaces will bring back restaurants, retail, visitors, and everything that makes our urban core incredible. Not every underutilized commercial space is suitable for conversion, but many are, enough to bring thousands of new residents back into the heart of our city. We’ll encourage development by upping the conversion incentive, applying for the $10 billion Federal Housing and Urban Development Block Grant Program, and taking advantage of $35 billion Federal Department of Transportation subsidized downtown redevelopment loans.

  • Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, or “in-law units,” are smaller homes typically built from converted garages and basements or added as backyard rental units. They are a valuable source of supplemental income for homeowners and require little additional civic infrastructure to build. As mayor, I would spearhead a cash incentive to encourage development, potentially adding thousands of new dwellings annually.  

  • Our young people are struggling to get a foothold in our city, our retirees are struggling to keep it. What if we could increase our housing capacity by thousands virtually overnight and at a fraction of the cost of traditional affordable housing development? 

     

    We can, and here’s how. I propose a $3,000 per room upfront incentive to homeowners to cover the costs of converting their spare rooms for home sharing. Incentivized home sharing is a fast, cost-effective, and pioneering solution with deep roots in civic history and a win-win for both homeowners and aspiring tenants.

Climate Leadership

We’ve seen it firsthand. Summer days approaching 120°F, claiming dozens of lives among our most vulnerable. Wildfire smoke blanketing our beautiful city. The shrinking Cascade glaciers, and a ski season that feels shorter every year. Climate change is no longer a distant warning; it’s here for all to see.


The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.


Portlanders want to lead the nation in green tech and climate adaptation. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • Black carbon is a nasty greenhouse gas with up to 1,500 times the potency of carbon dioxide, and a major cause of health and environmental damage. Locally, it darkens our skies and prematurely melts Mt Hoods snow and glaciers - leading to higher local temperatures. However, two simple steps can slow down local warming. 

     

    First, petroleum diesel should be phased out in favor of lower cost, higher performance renewable diesel—not biodiesel. Once implemented, we’ll see 40% less black carbon and 80% less greenhouse gas in Portland, as well as remove 32,000 tons of black carbon from Oregon’s skies yearly. 

     

    Second, forestry wood waste should be recycled into fuel rather than burned in the forests surrounding Portland. The Oregon Department of Forestry burns 1.2 million tons of wood waste annually, which should be repurposed for transportation using proven technology. 

     

    I’ve already made progress on this, as chief petitioner of House Bill 3590, which passed out of committee with unanimous and bipartisan support, once fully implemented, will remove 35,000 tons of black carbon annually. We can do more.

    Mount Hood glacier recession.

    Mt Hood’s once abundant snowpack and glaciers that cool Portland in the summer and supply water for our communities, farmers, and manufacturers throughout the year are shrinking. Visit Wyeastblog.org

    Keith and Oregon Department of Forestry officials next to a burn pile in the hills outside of Portland.

    Keith and Oregon Department of Forestry officials next to a burn pile in the hills outside of Portland.

    Black carbon being emitted from the burning of piled wood waste leftovers from a timber harvest.

    Black carbon being emitted from the burning of piled wood waste leftovers from a timber harvest.

  • Between federal grants, state rebates and credits, and the plunging cost of high-capacity battery technology, there has never been a better time to convert Portland’s vehicle fleet to electric power. As one of the first freight carriers in the nation to convert to electric, I have the experience and success needed to do the same for our city.

     

    It’s not just good for the environment; it’s good policy. Electric truck rebates and our existing charging infrastructure will significantly reduce the operating cost per vehicle while protecting our rivers and skies.

    U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Oregon Metro President Lynn Peterson test driving Oregon’s first heavy duty electric truck at T

    U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Oregon Metro President Lynn Peterson test driving Oregon’s first heavy duty electric truck at TITAN. 

  • Freight transport doesn’t have to be a dirty business. As a leader of a trucking company, I pushed to have the cleanest fleet in the nation, achieving the lowest carbon footprint of any carrier in Oregon, and reducing our Portland fleet fossil fuel use to zero—that’s right, zero.

    Renewable diesel burning compared to fossil diesel.

    Black carbon emitted from renewable diesel versus petroleum diesel. TITAN has replaced petroleum diesel with renewable diesel for 94% of its Oregon operation.

Reverse Transportation Neglect

We see it out our windshields and feel it beneath our tires. The roads, bridges, and bike routes we depend upon are crumbling. With hundreds of millions in deferred maintenance, an antiquated funding model, skyrocketing construction costs, mismanagement, and congestion, we’ve lost critical time and ground. 


The same old failed ideas from the same city politicians that got us into this mess can not be trusted to lead us in a new direction. We need REAL CHANGE.


It’s time for a transportation transformation. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • The electric vehicle revolution—which Portlanders have enthusiastically adopted—has changed how our roads are funded. Revenues have fallen despite rising construction and repair costs, leading to funding gaps and increasing numbers of unrepaired, unsafe roads. 

     

    Tolling isn’t the solution. It’s an inefficient, unfair system with burdensome overhead costs. A wider rollout of the proven OReGO road use fee mileage program can increase fairness, steady revenue, help manage congestion, and reduce—or even eliminate—the need for a city gas tax.

  • Portland has become one of the most congested cities in North America. Our current policies have too many idling at too many bottlenecks. Worst of all, Vision Zero has become a painful reminder that traffic and pedestrian deaths have reached all-time highs. 

     

    Fairer funding will better maintain our critical road infrastructure and allow us to invest in sustainable, congestion-reducing alternatives, including walking, biking, and rapid public transit. I’ll get the basics right: well-maintained streets, attractive public transportation options, great infrastructure for alternative transportation, and prioritizing all Portlanders and neighborhoods.

  • Green Streets is a proven paving process that integrates recycled plastic bottles with existing asphalt. For the same price we currently pay for road maintenance, we can expect a surface that lasts two to three times longer, strengthens existing roads, and is less vulnerable to cracking and potholes. Green Streets technology will begin to address our long backlog and reduce road maintenance carbon footprint by upwards of 95%.

    Keith with Sean Weaver, NEO CEO, at the City of Los Angeles Green Streets paving test.

    Keith with Sean Weaver, NEO CEO, at the City of Los Angeles Green Streets paving test. 

  • Here’s why it matters: I put people I care about on Oregon’s roads every single day. They deserve the best, and so do you. I’ve spent my career in transportation. My business has the lowest industry workplace injury rate in Oregon, and our investment in green energy has reduced our fossil fuel use by 94% in Oregon. I was the National Innovator of the Year in 2021 and 2022, a nominee for the National Clean Fleet of the Year in 2024, and my business was the first transportation company in the world to meet the rigorous B Corp environmental impact standards.

High-Speed Rail

Want to travel from Madrid to Barcelona? Plan for about two and a half hours. London to Paris? A little over two hours. Osaka to Tokyo takes barely over an hour. Here’s the thing: these city pairs are significantly further apart than Portland and Seattle. In fact, they’re all closer to the distance between Portland and Vancouver, BC.


Bottom line, meeting a friend in Seattle—or even Vancouver, BC—should require a lunch reservation, not a pull-out couch, and it should require half the time and cost of driving.


We need REAL CHANGE. Here’s how we’ll get it done.

  • Our roadways and runways are at capacity, and deferred maintenance costs are adding up. Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC, are among the most congested cities in North America, and they’re all still growing. New lanes won’t help, but fast, comfortable high-speed rail will. 

  • We don’t have to invent a thing to make this happen for our region. Nearly every developed nation across the planet has enthusiastically taken on the challenge of high-speed rail, and we are in a perfect position to benefit from their experience. With a new rail system, with speeds up to 250 miles per hour, we’ll be able to move people faster, cheaper, and more comfortably than ever.

  • We’ve already begun. This past December, the US Department of Transportation assigned Cascadia one of the first high-speed rail corridor authorizations, promising an unprecedented Federal 9-1 match for every dollar Oregon provides. We only need to work together with our neighbors to unlock these funds. 

     

    I’ve been at the forefront of this effort. In 2023, I was the chief petitioner of House Bill 2691, the first bill to fund the corridor. Despite widespread support, the bill stalled. As mayor, I can restart this critical effort for the entire region's benefit.

The 2040 Cascadia Olympics

It’s time for Portland to dream bigger than ever. Together with Seattle and Vancouver, BC, we can bring the world to our doorstep. Cascadia 2040 will be the first multi-city, multi-country Olympics and a showcase for our high-speed rail, green transportation, and energy revolution, a true celebration of Portland’s hopes and dreams. 

Possible Cascadia Olympics logo

REAL CHANGE for Portland

The Portland renaissance we all want is within our reach. We can end unsheltered homelessness and open drug use. We can revitalize our communities and businesses. We can support our first responders and fix the overwhelmed systems that have cost lives. We can be a Portland that no longer leaves our most vulnerable to suffer.

 

Best of all, we can do all this with the time, energy, people, and money we’ve already committed to our city. If you’re ready to bring REAL CHANGE to Portland—and build our future—I want you by my side.

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