Eight candidates for Portland Mayor face off in town hall - KPTV - FOX 12

Eight candidates for Portland Mayor face off in town hall

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Eight candidates for Portland Mayor gather at town hall Monday. Eight candidates for Portland Mayor gather at town hall Monday.

In a last-minute change of plans, eight of the 12 people who are running for Portland Mayor squared off in a town hall forum in SE Portland Monday night.

The move came after only two candidates – Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey – were invited to a debate originally scheduled for Monday to be hosted by The Oregonian/OregonLive.  Supporters of other candidates threatened to protest the debate if all candidates weren’t invited and the debate was eventually canceled.

In its place, all of the mayoral candidates were invited to take part in a town hall at Revolution Hall Monday evening.

“This is going to be really fun and not what we had planned tonight,” one of the organizers of the event told the crowd gathered in the auditorium.  “We wanted to pull something together for you because we knew you wanted to hear the voices of all the candidates, not just a few of them.”

Candidates Deborah Harris, Sean Davis, Bim Ditson, Sara Iannarone, Jessie Sponberg and David Schor joined Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey on stage.

They discussed some of the biggest issues facing Portland, including the housing crisis, police accountability, air quality and transportation.

“I’m surprised nobody remarked that this is Revolution Hall with what we did tonight,” Davis said in his closing statement.

The May primary will determine the top two candidates who will head to the general election in November.

“I just think people realize that a two-person debate when you’re in a primary and two people are going on to the next stage of the election just doesn’t make sense,” Schor told Fox 12 Monday evening.

“There were rumors when we got to the office this morning that the debate had been canceled, and then between 1 and 2 p.m. we started to understand I would be invited here, so it gave us an hour or two to prepare,” Iannarone told Fox 12.  “It was a little bit of a stretch for my staff to help me get here in time tonight… but we got it here.”

People still wanting to enter the mayoral race can file until March 8. 

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