Cameron Whitten

Metro Councilor, District 5

Cameron Whitten (all pronouns) is a community activist, small business owner, nonprofit executive, and candidate for Metro Council District 5.

Cameron overcame homelessness as a youth and has spent the past decade giving back to the same community that helped him when he needed it. They are the founder of racial justice nonprofit Brown Hope, and most recently served as the Executive Director of Portland’s LGBTQ+ community center, Q Center. If elected, Cameron would be the first openly queer Black elected official in Oregon.

View Cameron's response to the Candidate-Platform Alignment Questionnaire:

Candidate comments (optional)

I’m running for Metro Council because I don’t want Portland to become just another overpriced West Coast city.

At one point, I was an eighteen year old homeless youth in Portland. This experience gave me a look into the deep inequities in our society, but I also saw the best of Portland. The generosity of Portland’s nonprofit community provided resources so that I and others like me could find housing, find employment, and ultimately define our own futures.

Ever since then, I’ve pursued my life calling which is in being of service to others, because I know personally the difference that it makes.

But we are facing a crisis in our region. Growing inequality, a looming climate emergency that threatens the quality of life we hold so dear, and our communities are more diverse than ever while our institutions and policies are stagnating and leaving people behind.

As our regional government, Metro could be poised to deliver bold solutions on our most critical problems. But in order to deliver these bold solutions, we need visionary leadership in the fight for our future.

We need a new kind of politics. We need leaders who have lived through the struggles of everyday Portlanders and have a track record of fighting for their communities.

This is the kind of leadership I aim to bring to District 5. If elected, I will bring more than a decade of Portland-grown leadership ––both lived and executive–– to Metro Council. I’ve served on government advisory committees for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, TriMet, and Multnomah County. I’ve been involved in passing landmark legislation, such as serving as a founding member of the Oregon Inclusionary Zoning Coalition, which worked to lift the statewide preemption on inclusionary housing in 2016. I’ve served as a volunteer and board member for countless cherished Portland nonprofits, and I’ve been an inclusive and effective leader through my career as Executive Director for nonprofits such as Know Your City and Q Center.

Serving in public office would be a new stage in my life, and it reminds me of when I was 22 years old and invited to join my first government advisory committee by Trimet’s Director of Diversity. I told him I wasn’t sure he had the right person– I didn’t have a track record on these issues and I didn’t have any insider connections.

But unlike many government officials in Portland, he was a Black man. And he understood some of my lived experiences, because he lived them too. He looked at me and said, “that’s –exactly– why you belong here. We’ve heard over and over from the same people, and we’re dropping the ball in many ways. We aren’t completing our mission unless we’re serving everybody.”

That man made the table bigger so I could have a seat. This was a pivotal moment in how I became the leader I am today, and why every day I strive to create a bigger table for everyone.

I’m different from the candidates you typically see on the ballot. Many people who run for offices like these have long legislative records or sat on high profile committees. I once was a poor black kid from the streets. I’ve had to prove my dedication through a much harder path—and I’m still going. For someone with my background, running for office means so much more than having Councilor before my name.

I’m proud to be a lifelong Democrat and a member of a party that shares basic principles of fairness and compassion for our fellow neighbors. I’ve delivered results on these principles and I’m grateful to have earned the endorsement of over 150 progressive leaders and organizations.

As your next Metro Councilor, I will commit to working with a broad, diverse, and inclusive coalition so that we can grow a bigger table of activists fighting for a more sustainable, just, and equitable Portland.

You can learn about my vision for Portland and the region at:

You can count on me in this fight.

With Love and Resilience,
Cameron Whitten

I. Basic Rights
We call on our state legislators to pursue universal publicly funded health care for the state of Oregon.
We call for all members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor and actively work for the passage of expanded and improved Medicare.
We support the continuation and expansion of Medicaid.
We recognize that there is a housing crisis in our local communities and across the state. We direct Multnomah County and the City of Portland to develop affordable housing for individuals and families with zero to moderate incomes. Agree
We strongly support women’s rights to reproductive freedom of choice including unfettered access to reproductive health care services regardless of their ability to pay.
We oppose any legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood.
Comments (optional)
II: Natural Resources Protection and Recovery
We support passage of state legislation to change our goals for economy-wide reduction of Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and at least 50% reduction by 2035. Agree
We support the development and passage of legislation to provide mandates and incentives to:

• Expand public transportation systems; Advance an early transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles;
• Advance weatherization and structural improvements in existing buildings; Support implementation of solar energy production;
• Advance new net-zero-energy buildings and methane-free new construction; Incentivize energy efficiency in Oregon’s industries;
• Improve tree canopy and rooftop plantings where possible in all urban areas to reduce heat island effect;
• Require that electricity be produced entirely by renewable sources by 2040 and require net zero carbon building codes by 2030.

We support the development and passage of a Forest Protection and Restoration Act that will:

• Eliminate clear-cut forestry on all publicly held and managed lands and maximize climate resilient management;
• Eliminate all tax incentives to industrial forests not employing climate resilient management practices that re-establish multi-species and multi-aged forests, including protecting riparian areas that will lower stream temperature for fish habitat, restore intact functioning watershed areas, reduce landslides, protect municipal water supplies, and restore floodplain functioning to Oregon’s rivers and streams;
• Maintain incentives and subsidize independent landholders who engage in these practices;
• Reduce roads in forests; Develop and implement treatments to restore healthy forest soils;
• Accelerate programs to reduce and eventually eliminate forest stream passage barriers in Oregon;
• And re-evaluate the property tax structure for Oregon’s commercial forests.

We support a ban for any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Agree
Comments (optional)
III: Education
We call for legislation compelling large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes toward full funding to ensure the future of Oregon education Agree
We support public funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for children age 3 to 4 in Multnomah County that is high quality, playbased, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate for young children. Agree
We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and believe that schools can be responsive in addressing poverty-related traumas, including the effects on highly mobile students. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including mentoring, after-school programs, counselors, culturally relevant curriculum and instruction, and critical race theory initiatives, and other programs that have been proven effective in assuring student success. Agree
Comments (optional)
IV: Equity
We call for proactive educational programs for all law enforcement personnel and for all local, city, county, and state government personnel to safeguard black and brown lives and protect them from race-based law enforcement actions that far too often end in death. Agree
We demand equal pay for equal work for women from all employers in Multnomah County. Agree
Black Lives Matter. We call for legislation that provides meaningful protection for African Americans at all levels of the justice system Agree
Comments (optional)
V: Tribal Sovereignty
We call for universal, publicly funded health care to close health disparities exacerbated by Congress chronically under-funding Indian Health Service. Agree
We demand compliance with treaties between the United States and Tribal nations and hold the federal government to their trust responsibility. Agree
We support legislation that fully funds teams of investigators to work in consultation with Tribal authorities to respond to each murder and disappearance of Native American persons anywhere in Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
VI. Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to immediately assess the Black correctional populations at the county, city, and state levels.
We also demand that there be review of punishments (bail amounts, sentence lengths, amount of time served before parole) being levied at unfairly high levels on Black Oregonians. This is particularly important for disparities based on gender and race for similar crimes to other racial/ethnic groups.
We demand there be significant Criminal Justice reform in the form of investment into counseling, alternative sentencing, job training, and rehabilitation for Oregon’s over-incarcerated Black population.
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to authorize bank audits to expose patterns of racial discrimination in lending and require these banks to extend loans to Black businesses and Black institutions. Wells Fargo and Umpqua received bailout from taxpayers and owe a debt to all taxpayers regardless of race. Additionally, Wells Fargo has a long and storied history of using predatory schemes to extract wealth from Black communities. Increasing SBA loans to Black businesses would be an excellent way for banks to begin to redress the past harms they have inflicted on Black communities. Agree
The Oregon State Legislature must create a law that mandates public schools in the state teach students about America’s original sin of slavery and the Jim Crow era that followed, with an emphasis on the state of Oregon.
The legislation should also incentivize the training, hiring, and retention of Black American teachers to teach the aforementioned subject matters. This will help address the Black teacher shortage in Oregon.
Comments (optional)
VII. Justice
We call for the repeal of all mandatory minimum sentencing in Oregon, substituting Guidelines in its place, and allowing a judge to have discretion in all cases. Agree
We call on the State Legislature to pass pay equity legislation for Public Defenders and Prosecutors and their staffs. Agree
The Oregon Legislature should do away with cash bail, which discriminates against poor people, who are disproportionally people of color. Agree
We believe that the voters of Oregon should abolish the Death Penalty and life without parole sentencing. Agree
Comments (optional)
VIII. Election Integrity and Legislative Alignment
We demand campaign finance reform.
We demand that the state Attorney General challenge corporate personhood, and that state and federal legislators pass laws and a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations are not people and money is not speech
We encourage voters to pass an Oregon constitutional amendment to allow the state to regulate political contributions and expenditures.
We call for Oregon state legislation to set limits on contributions by individuals, PACS, corporations, and unions to candidates, candidate committees, political party committees and any other political committee
We support legislation that requires voter-verifiable paper ballots in all elections, and tabulation software that is open source, non-proprietary, and available for public scrutiny and analysis with source code that is verified using a public method by qualified third parties independent of any political party or vendor, and that guarantees secure chains of custody so there can be no modifications after certification. Agree
Comments (optional)
IX. Media
We support a comprehensive net neutral public utility to provide state of the art internet access to serve all end users. Agree
We support the full funding of Public Broadcasting stations and networks, possibly supplemented by small donations from the public, to eliminate the inhibition of investigative reporting of sponsoring entities.
We support the development of ways to assure stable funding well-protected from political interference.
We support corporate responsibility with the management of our personal data. We demand internet media companies pay individuals for use of their personal data, and if there is a data breach to pay for all damages. Agree
Comments (optional)
X. Economy
We support breaking up monopolies, starting with barring Internet common carriers (i.e. Google, Facebook) from competing with businesses that use them. Agree
We support the creation of a public bank in Portland/Oregon Agree
We support the creation of either a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax with dividend to recognize the need to eliminate fossil fuel use as one means to fight global warming. Agree
Comments (optional)
XI. Labor and Workers’ Rights
We call for the decriminalization of paid sexual acts between consenting adults and legislation allowing sex workers to organize. Agree
We oppose all legislation that diminishes workers’ rights to organize. Agree
We support legislation requiring retraining of displaced workers. We call for state and federal legislation to provide transition plans as technology and innovation change the workplace Agree
Comments (optional)
XII. Immigration
We call on the Federal Government to never take immigrant children away from their detained parents and to reunite families that have already been separated. Agree
We call on every member of the Oregon Congressional delegation to cosponsor and actively work for the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act). Agree
We call on the State and local governments of Oregon to adopt policies that protect immigrants from unlawful enforcement of immigration laws. In addition, we call on the institutions to not participate in the enforcement of Federal immigration laws Agree
Comments (optional)
XIII. Infrastructure
We support legislation to promote and implement high-speed rail or other high-speed technology, including monorail, within Oregon and along the West Coast. Agree
We support construction of renewable energy facilities or facilities that include carbon sequestration technology. Agree
We support public funding for electric vehicle infrastructure throughout Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
XIV. Abuse of Power
We support efforts to stipulate that corporations are not people, and money is not speech. Agree
We call for responding to drug addiction with treatment not imprisonment. Agree
We support legislation holding law enforcement personnel liable for inflicting harm through the use of excessive force. Agree
Comments (optional)