100 days of Tom Potter

Tom PotterNext week, it'll be one hundred days since Tom Potter was sworn in as Mayor of Portland.

So, the question for BlueOregon readers is this: How has it gone so far? What has surprised you? What hasn't? What's impressed you? What's disappointed you? What suggestions do you have for the mayor for the next 100 days? Or the next one thousand days?

Oh, and while you're at it - what questions would you pose directly to Tom Potter? He'll be the guest for the April 17 edition of Outlook Portland with Nick Fish - and Nick is willing to ask questions that you pose right here on BlueOregon.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)

    I've been pleasantly surprised by the Mayor. I really like how he's been standing up to the FBI.

    While I didn't vote for him, if he keeps on the same path we've seen so far, I'm almost certain to vote for him if he runs for a second term.

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    One of the most important things Potter has done is his approach to the budget process. Not just because collaborating with the Commissioners was a smart move in and of itself, but because I believe that his choice to take all the bureaus back to his own office for the budget process, and then put the Council members into work groups to hash out budget issues blunts the calls for a change to the commission form of government. It helps demonstrate that it isn't the form of government that's a problem, but how it's been used in the past.

  • Nick Fish (unverified)

    I am taping the show with Tom Potter on Tuesday, April 12.

    I will ask him as many questions as possible from Blue Oregon contributors.

    Outlook Portland with Nick Fish airs on Portland's WB on Sundays at 6:30 am.

    Thanks for the plug.

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    FWIW, this is also the topic and guest for KGW's Viewpoint tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.

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    I'm high on this guy so far. He reminds me a bit of Vera before she got completely caught up in her own mythology.

  • Sid (unverified)

    So far I love Potter. I met one of his staffers at the JTTF hearing, Jamaal. He said they were overwhelmed right now and were still trying to find their stride in the office, but considering everything Potter's office is dealing with, Jamaal felt confident they were handling everything pretty well.

    I love how direct Potter is. Our Senator, on the other hand, is a different story.

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    My question for Mayor Potter would be this: in the New York Times, you were quoted recently as saying you have dedicated your first term to keeping kids in the City of Portland. What kinds of policies are you going to initiate to address the problem of fewer and fewer families choosing to live here?

  • George Grendel (unverified)

    My question is this:

    How do we add both jobs and people without sprawling or adding high-rise buildings?

    I kind of already know the answer (it's impossible). But I'm curious to know how Potter would manage the tension between these forces.

    Portland has two factions, it seems. One, represented heartily by Jack Bog, doesn't want to see Portland "Californified" and claims our quality of life is going down the tubes because of all those condo towers and public works projects (and by extension, inattention to basics like police services). Sometimes it seems he would like Portland to return to 1979, forever -- pre-Pearl District, pre-MAX, pre-I-205 bridge. Keep us a small little burg all nice and snuggly.

    The other, represented by Randy Gragg et al (and referred to by some wag as the turtleneck and beret crowd), thinks Portland needs to continually reinvent and grow vertically in order to attract high quality talent and renewed vibrancy but without exerting any additional strain on land usage.

    These visions for Portland are fairly Manichean -- they can't really co-exist. They can struggle with each other for supremacy, but it's pretty much a zero sum game.

    So I'd like to ask Potter -- which vision do you support? Which will you encourage? Slow down growth? Limit redevelopment? Encourage sprawl? Discourage new construction?

    One of the reasons I think Potter has been perceived as doing so well so far is that he has refused to choose between these two visions. Perhaps he doesn't think we have to choose. If that is his answer, I would like to hear it as well. But these forces will continue to battle each other whether he chooses or not.

    Portland is a pretty good city, all things considered. I was born here, moved away and lived in quite a few others all over the country and moved back, and it's still the best as far as I'm concerned. So all things considered, not too many other complaints, as it were.

  • Yoram (unverified)

    I'm proud of what the mayor's done.

    I'm curious as to what Mayor Potter is going to do to solve the problem of I-5 cutting through SE Portland.

    Does he support burying it from the Marquam to I-84? Or is he willing to think even bigger, in removing it entirely and having the Marquam become an amazing civic space with parks on it? Does this sort of bold thinking have any place when we can't even find the money to replace the Sellwood bridge?

    How about free transit -- that sends a very visible signal that Portland is serious about global warming, transportation choices, etc. We'd have to find finding to backfill fares, but it'd be a gem of a branding tool.

  • Ralph Makenna (unverified)

    Never mind that, all those bridges over the Willamette have really become a problem. Eastsiders and Westsiders mingling...we'll have none of that!

    The Willamette was intended by Mother Earth to be an insurmountable barrier. It's time we honored nature's promise.

    (/Tongue in cheek)

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    How about free transit -- that sends a very visible signal that Portland is serious about global warming, transportation choices, etc. We'd have to find finding to backfill fares, but it'd be a gem of a branding tool

    Free Transit - good, 4 legs bad!

    Yikes, like Portland needs another branding tool! Walkable downtown, good transit, cheap eats, 360 days of sunshine... just heard we're rated the number 1 or 2 place for a person to retire in the USA. We don't need more branding tools! Now get these cattle out of here.

    Ah, TGIF!

  • Rorovitz (unverified)

    In keeping with the Friday tone of the last two posts:

    Let's blow up the bridges! All of them! Why stop at the east-west ones? We should blow up the 205 and interstate bridges as well! Keep Washingtonians out!

    See what Potter has to say about that.

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    Please ask Potter where he stands on economic development for downtown? It's looking pretty ratty with too many empty stores.



  • JJ Ark (unverified)

    Nick: I am concerned about school safety.

    As a former Chief how does he view the security of our children in schools post Red Lake, MN?


  • Liz Trojan (unverified)

    What a pleasant surprize! A politician who is not beholden to large donors. I liked Potter's self-imposed contribution limits. I liked that he participated in a critical mass ride. I like that he is challenging the Joint Terrorist Task Force. I like that he has said that he will be voting in favor of "Voter Owned Elections". He's even willing to stand up for public ownership of our local utility. Double wow! I'm speechless.

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    The only way to stop sprawl is to freeze the UGB permanently and prohibit all additional building anywhere else in the state. As rural land owners like myself die off, our land will automatically revert to wilderness status. Since the population will continue to increase, we'll force everyone into massive high rise arcologies and prohibit human entrance into the growing wilderness. Once the entire state outside of the current boundaries of Portland are depopulated, we'll blow up the giant towers with their teeming masses of human toxicity and Mother Nature will at last be completely protected.

    Yeah, that's the ticket. Kind of a reverse measure 37......

  • Sid (unverified)

    Ditto on two of the questions above: What's happening to the downtown area and how should we grow Portland?

    Also, I'm curious how Potter is dealing with the state's largest newspaper's editorial board. They don't seem to like him very much.

  • Jessica (unverified)

    I believe that Tom Potter is a genuine visionary. He wants to understand Portlander's priorities, and provide the most important services efficiently. In these first 100 days, he has built trust and relationships with citizens. My question for Tom is: "will you also try to build trust between citizens and the bureaucracy?" The recent pledges to shake up City Hall, shake down budgets, and change business as usual have an implicit anti-bureau, anti-management, and possibly anti-employee tone to them. Kicking bureaucratic butt always yields short term kudos. But it does not seem sustainable as a long term strategy. Beyond reactive budget cutting, ongoing funding of real needs requires that citizen's trust the machinery of government, as well as their elected officials. What role will you play in building that bridge?

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    "Shake up City Hall"? Neither Potter nor Adams have done that. Before they got here, Sten was running Portland. Now it seems Sten's running all of Oregon, with delusions of even greater grandeur.

    The Good Potter: Cleaning out the bums at the PDC (which he won't take credit for). Forcing some additional process on South Waterfront.

    The Bad Potter: Bottom-line votes on South Waterfront and the Northwest Burnside tower. "Bringing us all together" by dissing Mrs. America. Looking us all in the eye and talking $9 million of budget cuts, while supporting "taxpayer-financed elections." Hey, Tom, bag that nonsense and we're talking only $7.5 million or so.

    Overall, Potter's doing a much better job than Katz. But alas, that's not saying overly much.

  • cicolini (unverified)

    Jack, forest and trees, forest and trees.

    Potter's done a fine 100 days and we're all looking forward to the next 100. His response to JTTF was right on, as was PGE. I haven't read the budget yet, but no doubt it responds to populist concerns and shorts low-income housing. That's not new here or anywhere else.

    Here are questions I don't know the answer to

    Is he accessable? One of the pleasure of Portland is if you have a REAL question for someone, you can ring them up and get an answer. Will Potter pick up the phone? Will he have some public forum?

    What's his stance with the city unions - especially the police and fire unions? These seem to be potential future hotspots.

    Congestion - this is a huge huge problem here not solved by UGB or higher fuel costs or MAX. Will Potter have some long-term solutions?

    What's up with the Trailblazers power forward position? Yeah Joel is a nice add and Telfair is the future, but $48M for what's his name? Dive for a lottery ball? Jeez. We can do better. Green Bay did it - privatize the Blazers!

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    Given the amount of information available, I had what would have to be considered unreasonably high expectations of Tom Potter.

    He's exceeded them nicely so far.

  • Bruce Anderholt (unverified)


    I would like to ask the Mayor to decline the $600,000 worth of public funding that Voter Owned Elections would put into his campaign coffers (if his opponent chooses to exceed the spending cap). He already demonstrated that Big Money is a political liability: let his record of accomplishment and the bully pulpit replace his need for public dollars, direct mail, and advertising.

    If not, would he consider renaming the City Council the Township People's Congress?

  • Liz Trojan (unverified)

    Bruce asks that Potter decline any public funding monies should the "Voter Owned Elections" proposal pass. In Potter's summation statement last Thursday at the city council hearing on the "Voter Owned Elections" proposal Potter said that when/if he runs for re-elections he would forego any public funding.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)

    Thanks Liz, I missed that summation. Perhaps a better question is: Mayor Potter, you have indicated you will not accept public funding if you run for reelection. Would you encourage all incumbent commissioners to forego public funding during the next election cycle?

    What's good for the goose is good for the goslings.

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    Well here's a tough one for Potter:

    How does he propose to deal with the rising crisis in panhandling and homelessness in Portland? How will we move beyond our previous model of handwringing and well-intentioned, but ineffective, benign neglect to sweep panhandlers off our our bridges, road entrances, and downtown.

    This is the Number One comment I get now from out of town visitors. They are shocked. And these are do gooder liberal academics.

  • lisa frank (unverified)

    Being a thirteen-year-old student in a Portland Public School, I was impressed with the interest Mayor Potter has shown so far in regards to youth. I have had the opportunity to personnally meet him twice, of which I am very glad. The first time was due to the fact that I am part of a group called the Youth Innovation Fund. There are eight boards around the country, funded by the W. K. Kellog Foundation, that are groups of diverse youth whose job for the last two years has been to give mini-grants to youth-led projects trying to create social change and a positive permanent impact in their community. When we had a celebration in City Hall to congradulate the chosen projects, Potter (and Commissioner Dan Saltzman) came as guest speakers. I had another chance to meet Mayor Tom Potter thanks to a program currently in place in which a Portland youth is invited to speak during a City Council meeting once a week. It was a good experience to be able to share my ideas with important adults and the rest of the community. There aren't many ways for young people to express themselves where they would know adults would listen. Both times I met Mayor Potter, he gave the impression of being smart, in control, understanding, and a generally good person. I will be very happy if he is elected for a second term

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