For the spring 2018 primary election, RACC distributed a questionnaire to all candidates running for Portland City Council; Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County Boards of Commissioners; and Metro Council. Each candidate was asked five questions on March 13 or 14, and given the opportunity to respond by March 30 when this story was first published. RACC will continue to publish responses from candidates even after the deadline has passed.
Here are the responses provided by Philip Wolfe, running for Portland City Council, Position 2. All responses are reprinted verbatim from what the candidate sent us on May 1.
RACC: In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland?
PW: I am an artist. I draw, paint, soft pastel, make films, act, dance, photography and so on. I love art. Currently I am employed with Portland Art Museum on board with accessibility task force. I advise architects after viewing the first draft of their drawings on a new building they are planning on building about how to make it more accessible for all. I am so excited and proud to be on their board. I look forward to this project come in fruition.
RACC: Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life. Yet there are a number of pressing needs in Portland that often compete with arts and culture for attention and investment. How would YOU describe the importance of arts and culture in our community, and what should Portland be doing to support this sector?
PW: Arts and culture is so important because it brings communities together as a part of education, entertainment and appreciation for art. Arts shall receive more funding, not the other way around. All schools shall have arts. Because Portland is the whitest city in the US, racism, sexism, classism, ableism and audism are running amok here in Portland, sadly. Arts and culture is one significant way of ending oppression. I have a big dream of forming a Deaf history month, hopefully next year at the Arts Museum. I basically grew up on stage and that experience made a profound impact on me. Without art, life has no meaning. Simple as that.
RACC: The region’s affordability is a serious concern for everyone in our community. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable for artists, nonprofit arts organizations and arts-related businesses?
PW: Implement rent control. Tax large corporations. Affordable spaces for local businesses is important and needs support from our city as it promotes economic growth in our city.
RACC: The city’s Arts Tax is disliked by some, while 62% of voters approved it. Thanks to the Arts Tax, every K–‐5 student in the City of Portland now as an art, music or dance teacher, and dozens of nonprofit arts organizations are expanding access to the arts by providing free and low–‐cost arts experiences for Portland residents. What changes to the Arts Tax, if any, would you want Portland City Council to consider?
PW: I agree wholeheartedly that Art Tax is very important. City Council shall never remove this tax. I am thinking, why don’t we do more by taxing churches after all they are all about helping the poor? Churches lately feel entitled to discuss politics which shall be separate, while they are tax exempt.
RACC: What are some of your other priorities for the City of Portland that would be of interest to artists, arts organizations and arts educators in our community?
PW: I would host forums for all of them to have an opportunity to share ideas, concerns and needs. I will then bring their voices to our table with my team and come up with strategies how we can better support them. We need to stop buying developers from building more buildings and focus on priorities. We need to stop from freeways expanding and focus on other means of transportation, require all public buses go electric. We need to focus on filling the gaps in Portland to make it more accessible. I love the fact that Portland has many art festivals, however with renting space is very expensive. I think we should take a look at this and figure out how we can better support locals as surviving a new local business is brutal. I strongly object City wanting to take cannabis tax and invest in police.