First-time voting seniors scrutinize mayoral candidates

As 18-year-olds consider voting in national and local elections for the first time, they are weighing their choices for the next Portland mayor.

Lincoln alumni Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey are the front-runners battling for mayor in the May 17 primary. With more than a dozen candidates for the position, if no one wins 50 percent or more, the top two vote-getters will be on the November ballot. In a visit to Lincoln earlier this year, Wheeler and Bailey spoke at an assembly, answered questions and recalled their experiences as Cardinals. (Bailey said he was “surrounded by incredible students who pushed me”; Wheeler noted that the boys’ bathroom hadn’t changed a bit.)

To help student voters, The Cardinal Times rounded up Bailey’s and Wheeler’s views and experience.



Bailey aims to invest in city infrastructure, including streets, bridges and overcrowded schools – the last being a heated issue at Lincoln. He proposes efficient buildings and clean water systems to protect the environment and boost the economy.

The candidate has also pledged to hire more police “to emphasize robust community policing,” according to Oregon Live. Following his call for more officers, the Portland Police Union endorsed Bailey.

Bailey jabbed Wheeler for receiving money from Lani McGregor, co-owner of Bullseye Glass, recently in the news after the state blamed it for air pollution in Southeast Portland (which is subsequently volunteered to stop using).

Bailey told The Cardinal Times that Portland ought to nurture a healthy business environment rather than being the butt of the Portlandia joke:  young people go to retire.


Homelessness, Wheeler told The Cardinal Times, “impacts our city’s livability, public health and safety.” He says it’s unethical to leave “fragile people on the street” and wants “creative alternatives” to help end it.

He supports more emergency shelter beds to assure that every homeless person can “sleep in a warm place, away from the elements.” But he also wants permanent, affordable housing in the city. “Effective services” for homeless people who struggle with alcohol and mental health issues are part of his broad plan.

Another big issue that Wheeler wants to work on: abuse of both illegal and prescription drugs. He points out it remains a “real problem” with more Oregonians dying from drug overdoses than car crashes.  

Lincoln seniors offered mixed views on the candidates after the hearing Bailey and Wheeler at the assembly.

Sid Farber said Bailey had “much stronger” environmental views.

“He seems like more of a man for the people.”  

Andrew Porter agreed with the need to work harder on eliminating homelessness. But knew that his vote wouldn’t be influenced by where someone went to school.  “It’s cool that both of them went to this school,” he added. But that alone didn’t make them different from any other candidate who attended another school. “It doesn’t say anything about them.”