Debate with 2 Portland mayoral candidates becomes town hall with - KPTV - FOX 12

Debate with 2 Portland mayoral candidates becomes town hall with all candidates

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Portland mayoral candidates Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler. Portland mayoral candidates Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler.

A mayoral debate featuring two candidates was canceled and changed to a town hall meeting open to all candidates vying to be Portland's next mayor.

The Oregonian newspaper had originally planned to host the debate at Revolution Hall in southwest Portland on Monday night with front-runners Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey.

That plan did not sit well with supporters of other candidates.

Protesters pledged to disrupt the event if all candidates weren't allowed to participate.

Oregonian editors said the protesters went so far as to threaten the safety of people involved by putting U-locks on the building's doors.

The Oregonian then decided to change the debate from one featuring a live audience to one without a crowd that would be streamed live online.

Neither candidate supported that idea and backed out.

The candidates decided to resolve the issue by hosting a town hall event to include the public and all candidates running for mayor.

"If we have folks that are expressing concerns that not everyone was included, I think they have a right to be heard. So I wasn't concerned about tonight, but I think we have a great debate that's going to happen and I'm looking forward to it," Bailey said.

Wheeler said he supports more people being involved in the process to pick Portland's next mayor.

"I actually think the debates are better when there are more candidates with varied backgrounds and experiences, so yes, I prefer to have the whole slate of candidates present," Wheeler said.

Willamette Week, Street Roots and former mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith will team up to host and moderate the town hall, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Online Monday, the Oregonian's editorial board said Wheeler and Bailey failed a leadership test by pulling out of a debate they committed to.

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