Portland mayor says job is ‘no fun,’ but claims vast success



Portland mayor says job is ‘no fun,’ but claims vast success

Nearly half way through his first term as mayor, Ted Wheeler said Monday the job is harder than he imagined given the dizzying array of problems he must deal with. 

But he said he has delivered on every campaign promise to combat homelessness and add affordable housing and he believes Portland is “making progress” where it counts. 

During a wide-ranging interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive at City Hall, the mayor also vented his frustrations at just how powerless he and the city are to staunch the increasing numbers of homelessness people and the profound lack of affordable housing.

Read more: Excerpts of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's interview with The Oregonian

Wheeler touted budgets passed during his tenure that increase spending on homelessness prevention, shelters and programs that transition people from the streets into apartments. He said spending on affordable housing is at record levels and that thousands have been moved from shelters or the streets into housing by city homelessness prevention programs.

Yet the mayor said he has grown resigned that Portland’s homelessness problem is “nearly intractable.” Despite a majority of the public being “lulled” into believing the city can solve it alone, that is not true, he said.

Wheeler lay blame at the feet of the federal government, citing a decades-long decline in housing investments; the ever-worsening American addiction crisis; and inadequate services for the mentally ill.

 

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