Phyllis Porter

Q1. What are you hearing from voters as the most important issue facing Seattle?  In your view of that issue, what is working and what would you do differently?

I would have to say the number one issue I have heard at the doors while canvassing is homelessness, specifically people being upset that the council hasn’t done enough to address it. Our homelessness crisis shows no signs of slowing down, and it is up to us as elected officials to do everything in our power to alleviate this problem. In terms of where I spend my energy, leadership and resources to have the greatest impact, I would focus on advocating for increased access to affordable housing as studies have shown that having access to more affordable housing is one of the most effective ways to get people off the streets.     Additionally, it is cheaper to keep someone in their home than it is to get them into housing once they have become homeless. I am supportive of rental and mortgage assistance and other programs to keep people out of homelessness because they are effective and cost effective. I would expand these programs and increase partnerships with non-government entities to provide no-strings funding to people that need immediate assistance when feasible.    I think it is important to point out that Seattle is not going to be able to solve this crisis on our own. We simply don’t have the space and funding necessary to do this alone. This is a regional problem, and requires a regional solution.   

Q2. Please provide your perspective on how the current city council conducts its business with the public.  How would you conduct yourself as a council member?

I believe the council needs to do a much better job of meeting with constituents, even those whom they may not agree with. I have heard numerous stories from people at the doors about them reaching out to the council regarding an issue in their neighborhood and not hearing anything back. How are the people of Seattle supposed to have faith and trust in their elected leaders when they can’t even get a response back?     If elected, I will hold regular office hours in the district to make sure that I am available to constituents and listening and learning about their concerns.       

Q3. In your view is the current City Council mostly on the right track in addressing Seattle’s problems.? If yes, what do you like about the current Council’s approach? If no, what would you do differently?

I believe the current council has been doing a good job in their willingness to try out new ideas. The votes to ban subminimum wages for people with disabilities and to provide all high school students with ORCA cards are shining example of addressing needs within the community.      The areas where the Council has not been as effective is solving the housing affordability crisis as well as displacement caused by gentrification, particularly here in District 2. While I do appreciate steps the council has taken in recent years, I don’t believe they have gone to the lengths necessary to preserve communities.

Q4. Please comment on the city’s approach to unsanctioned encampments.  Would you change anything about the current policy?

If elected I will approach the issue of unauthorized encampments from a place of compassion. These are our neighbors, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I believe the city should be empowering the Navigation Teams in an effort to connect the people in these camps to services and help in order to get them into permanent housing and expanding services aimed at getting our unsheltered neighbors into stable housing. At the same time, unauthorized encampments are a public health and safety issue, and cannot be ignored.

Q5. A recent study found a that a group of offenders with dozens of arrests, who regularly cycle through the courts and back onto the streets account for a significant amount of the property and violent crime in downtown and the neighborhood business districts. How should city government respond to these findings?

Here are a few policies I would pursue to curb property crime and violent assaults in Seattle::   

-Work with my colleagues to create enough temporary shelter with wrap-around services to allow Seattle to enforce our no-camping laws. 

-Continue supporting and expand Seattle’s commitment to Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in order to reduce crime through urban design. For example, installing brighter street lighting as it as been proven to lower crime rates.  

-Increase foot patrols in hot spots, and replicate the 9 ½ Block strategy where it makes sense. 

-We also must be doing more to work with individuals who are already in the justice system to lower rates of recidivism. I am in favor of expanding training programs that will give inmates the skills needed to gain meaningful employment post release and reintegrate into society.   

Q6. Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities with small businesses as the backbone of our local economy. However, as the city grows the cost of doing business has also increased. As a council member what is something you would do to help businesses survive and prosper in Seattle?

I believe that the Council has to do a much better job of communicating with our business community, and working together to come up with solutions that both parties can agree to. Instead of bringing in business at the end of the decision making process, the Council should bring all impacted parties to the table to ensure engagement throughout the process.

Q7. As the city has grown so has the cost of housing making Seattle unaffordable for many people in the workforce. What strategies do you support to increase the supply of affordable housing in Seattle?

As I have been out doorbelling and talking to the community, I have heard countless stories of how people were evicted or on the verge of being evicted due to a late payment. I would be in favor of a policy to create a renter’s pool that individuals would be able to access in the event of them being short on rent for the month.     We must fight to keep people in their homes and find housing for those who need it. I will work to expand programs and policies that support individuals and families at risk of displacement including: eviction protections, debt counseling, transportation and utility assistance, legal and job support services, and short-term rental assistance. Additionally, we must take measures to drastically increase affordable housing so that people can continue to live in our city.     With the recent votes to upzones parts of the city as well as the new ADU legislation, we have real opportunities to expand the supply of housing here in Seattle. However, we must ensure that in the process of building new housing we do not displace communities and neighbors in the process.   

Q8. Being on the City Council is a challenging job. Please describe your specific experience or skills that qualifies you to serve as the representative of your district.

I currently serve on a myriad of committees, boards and campaigns: Former Chair Rainier Valley Greenways, Member of Rainier Valley Greenways, core member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways,  Vice President of Rainier Riders Cycling Club, Shero of Black Girls Do Bike and 4th Vice President of DDI- Democracy, Diversity and Inclusion.     I have also served on the Rainier Beach Economic Development Roundtable, Safe Routes to School Community Partner at ASA Mercer Middle and South Shore School, Let’s Move Seattle Oversight Committee, Vision Zero, Community Bike Works Representative for the SE District Council, Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, Seattle Summer Parkways.      I have advocated for post incarcerated men and women and recently released youth male from juvenile system, veterans and the homeless population and facilitated job readiness workshop programs in Workforce Development at PHS-Pioneer Human Services, The Mark Cooper House, and Mary’s Place.     I have served as a Community Engagement Liaison and Vigil and Memorial Coordinator, speaking on behalf of individuals killed or seriously injured in collisions of people riding bicycles. I am a seasoned advocate on transportation, ambassador for communities of color and speaker for communities at large in need of empowerment. I was responsible for helping get two transportation initiatives passed in District 2 on Martin Luther King Jr Way and S Rainier Ave. I have a track record of results working and helping real live people in real life situations that has brought change and progress into their lives and communities. Employed as a college instructor for 10 years.