A handful of people turned out for the third debate between city commissioner candidates Amanda Fritz and Charles Lewis held today in Smith Memorial Student Union’s Parkway North room. In what could be their last debate before voters go to the polls Nov.
A handful of people turned out for the third debate between city commissioner candidates Amanda Fritz and Charles Lewis held today in Smith Memorial Student Union’s Parkway North room.
In what could be their last debate before voters go to the polls Nov. 4, Fritz and Lewis debated over several PSU and city related issues, including university housing, urban renewal areas, transportation and city budget cuts.
Fritz said as city commissioner she would focus on taking into account what basic services the city should provide to people, advocating for a revamped, free-for-riders transportation system, stricter oversight on city projects that run over-budget and taking a more strategic approach to urban renewal.
Although the two candidates held often very different views on the topics of debate, Lewis parroted many of Fritz’s ideas, often noting his opponent’s good points.
Lewis also frequently fell back on his experiences with Ethos, Lewis’ own non-profit company that teaches music education to children, as a catch-all example of how the candidate would lead city hall.
Here’s are a few candidate responses from the debate regarding a few issues:
LEWS: Would advocate for more state funding to build additional housing units in urban renewal areas. “That’s something that we could tackle right away,” Lewis said.
FRITZ: Advocated for changes within existing houses around Portland to help provide apartments for students. She also said she supports the Document Recording Fee, a fee charged to homeowners when buying a new house, which would create additional funds for housing in urban renewal areas.
Bicycle access and safety :
LEWS: He is a huge proponent of cycling, and likes to do his part for the environment by cycling to work. He said he supports bike freeways to increase rider access.
FRITZ: Portland needs to continue working on reducing the number of bicycling collisions in the city. She said Portland should look at “vibrant systems” used in European cities as a model of how to regulate bicyclist safety and access.
Job growth in the city:
LEWIS: Fell back on his experience running Ethos, which he has used to help create local jobs, and stressed the importance of increasing the amount of available capital to small business owners. “Over 80 percent of in Portland are with small businesses,” he said.
FRITZ: Would encourage field experts to approach her with plans for the city in terms of revitalizing jobs and encouraging growth in the Portland region. She also said she would continue to make sure that high school and college graduates know about existing programs and internships already available. Finally, Fritz stressed the importance of letting business owners know their contribution to the Portland economy is valued, simply by extending a hand of thanks.