Our Endorsements: November 2020 Election

Our Endorsements: November 2020 Election

UPDATED: October 15, 2020

Our board of directors voted to recommend a yes vote for Measure 26-217.
Read more about this endorsement here.

We are proud to share the Portland Business Alliance 2020 general election endorsements with our members and the greater Portland community.

The general election on November 3, 2020 is truly one of the most important in our lifetime.

We will be filling out our ballots while our city is experiencing a historic multitude of crises all at once - a pandemic, depression-level unemployment, a collapse in tourism, an unsustainable rise in the cost of living, record levels of Portlanders experiencing homelessness, extreme political violence impacting businesses and neighborhoods and now the impact of devastating forest fires.

These crises have upended our lives and wrought widespread economic damage. The process of unifying our community to rebuild an economy that benefits every Portlander will require deep collaboration between the public and private sector for years to come.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have also experienced the largest movement for racial and economic justice for Black Americans since the civil rights era. The Alliance and our members strongly support this historic call to action, and have re-committed ourselves to supporting actions and policies that will result in measurable economic advancement for Black residents of our region. We must elect leaders who are committed to re-imagining all levels of public policy to end institutional racism and achieve concrete economic gains for Black people and for all communities of color.

Read more about our endorsements for 2020, our process and why we landed where we did.

  • Portland Mayor – Ted Wheeler
  • Portland City Council, Position 4 run-off – Mingus Mapps
  • Metro Council, District 5 – Mary Nolan
  • Beaverton Mayor – Denny Doyle
  • Washington County Commission, District 1 – Nafisa Fai    



Leadership in Portland

In the history of Portland, never has it been more important to elect experienced, collaborative leaders to represent us in city hall. We are in urgent need of a Portland City Council that will come together to make the difficult choices required to steer us through these challenges, united as one community.

The difficult choices ahead will require leaders with the integrity to stand up to loud political extremists from both ends of the spectrum. Leadership during a crisis requires those we elect to tell us the hard truths, even if the truth is uncomfortable or unpopular. In Washington, D.C. we have seen the devastating impacts of political leadership that is only interested in speaking to their political base, while using dishonesty and division to divide the rest of us. We can’t afford to let that type of divisive leadership take hold in Portland.

Ballot Measures

Despite the fact that we are still experiencing high rates of unemployment, and partisan gridlock has prevented Congress from approving badly needed additional economic stimulus, local leaders decided to charge forward, with little consideration of our new economic reality, and referred over $7 billion in new taxes to Portland area voters. 

These measures collectively would increase taxes by approximately 40% on Portland area taxpayers.  Portland would have the dubious distinction of having one of highest local tax burdens in the nation, despite the fact that the even before the COVID-19 crisis, the rising cost of living in Portland was a growing concern of our region’s residents. Most of these measures, when considered in a vacuum, are dedicated to laudable goals such as schools and parks. However, proposing this breathtaking level of new taxes during one of the worst economic downturns in our history is irresponsible and will deepen the economic damage if all are approved.  We strongly encourage you to use our endorsements as a guide to which revenue measure to support, and which to reject.

In making our recommendations, our members considered the following questions:
  • Does the measure dedicate new tax revenue to core critical services such as schools, parks, and health care?
  • Will the measure help or harm the economic recovery of the region from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Will the measure support sustainable job growth, or make it more expensive for companies to create jobs?

Our process for endorsement:

This year, the Portland Business Alliance took a completely new approach to our candidate evaluation process and measure endorsement.

For candidate evaluation, we developed a new program called Prosperity Champions, which focused on building collaborative relationships between business leaders and ALL candidates running for local office who expressed a willingness to engage in discussion with our members.

We opened the door, leaving behind formal interviews and detailed policy questionnaires, and refocused on a transparent process that could include more Portland Business Alliance members engaged in every stage of the endorsement process.

And we focused our evaluation on the leadership qualities that will be most important if we are to succeed in rebuilding Portland into the economically resilient region, we know it can be. We looked for leaders who are committed to building collaborative decisions across coalitions, value transparency, and are proven leaders in forming public-private partnerships.

The candidates we recommend are not “pro-business” in the traditional sense.  We would describe them as “pro-collaboration” leaders who understand that critical importance of partnering with the private sector to solve our most pressing challenges.

For our evaluation of measure endorsements, we engaged all levels of our committees in evaluation and understanding of the issues, with our Government Relations Executive Committee making a recommendation to our board. The board makes a formal vote based on the engagement of all levels of our membership and advisement of our government relations committee.

During this unprecedented campaign season, candidates have not been able to reach voters with traditional campaign strategies. Voters will have less information about the candidates than they typically do, making the value of trusted voices like the Portland Business Alliance will be even more important.

We hope you will use this to guide your voting decisions and you will share it with colleagues, friends, and family.

Thank you for all you are doing in these challenging times for your employees and our community.