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Editorial board: We believe Mapps will bring the independence of thought needed to grapple with the multiple crises Portland now faces.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Mingus Mapps would bring the right strengths to Portland City Council during these troubled times. With city finances on a precipice due to the pandemic, police reform at the forefront and rampant homelessness still an ongoing crisis, the five-member Portland City Council needs diversity in all its forms — including diversity of thought — to guide the city through the next few years.

For Council Position 4, we believe Mingus Mapps has the best combination of skills, temperament and experience to help lead the city through what undoubtedly will be one of its most difficult periods.

Mapps and incumbent Chloe Eudaly are competing in the Nov. 3 runoff after emerging as the top two vote-getters in a May primary that also included former Mayor Sam Adams as a candidate. As we noted during the primary, we cannot endorse Eudaly to keep her seat this year. The first-term commissioner came into office four years ago with lots of promise, but proved to be needlessly divisive. She may be right that Portland's longstanding neighborhood association system needed a revamp, but she alienated too many people in her attempt to make those changes.

Eudaly deserves credit for sticking to her campaign vow in 2016 to help the city's renters. She successfully pushed for a series of renter protections, including requiring landlords to pay relocation expenses for tenants evicted without cause or who choose to move if the rent is raised.

Today, however, other issues demand urgent attention. We believe Mapps has the ability to listen and also the right background to confront such matters as police reform, looming city budget cuts, rebuilding the local economy, and — yes — the continuing issue of homelessness.

With a bachelor's degree in political science from Reed College and a doctorate in government from Cornell University, Mapps has been a college professor and has helped manage Portland's crime prevention programs. He's also been the executive director of an urban renewal zone in east Portland, worked for then-Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein, and served in the Portland Public School's Intergovernmental Relations Office and the United Way.

In this campaign, Eudaly has repeatedly criticized Mapps for being endorsed by the Portland Police Association, saying that the union's support for Mapps shows he will not push for reform. However, we agree with Mapps that — as a Black man who also has a good relationship with rank-and-file officers — he may be the ideal person to work with police to make positive changes. As he put it in the recent City Club debate moderated by the Portland Tribune: "Racial justice is about how police treat people who look like me. If you want to change how police treat Black men, you have to put Black men at the table."

Mapps also is willing to draw a sharp distinction between peaceful protesters and those who commit nightly violence, saying that the criminal acts do not make him or his children more free. "Indeed it does the opposite," he said in a recent interview with KOIN 6 News.

Mapps has studied the issues facing the city and rattles off answers with fluidity. If elected, he would be the first African American man to serve on the council since Dick Bogle left in 1992. He would join incumbent Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty and newcomers Dan Ryan and Carmen Rubio on the council, giving this city — by a very long margin — the most diverse City Council ever.

Regardless of who wins the runoff between Mayor Ted Wheeler and challenger Sarah Iannarone (our recommendation is for Wheeler), we believe Mapps will bring the independence of thought needed to grapple with the multiple crises Portland now faces.

We recommend voters elect Mingus Mapps for Portland City Council Position 4.

Editor's note: This editorial has been corrected from its original version to reflect the fact that Dick Bogle was the last African American man to serve on the council.

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