Race for at-large Portland council seat draws diverse mix of candidates

The hottest local election in Portland this fall is the race for an at-large seat on the City Council, a three-way contest between a former state legislator and sitting councilor, an immigrant from Ghana who has served on the School Board, and a homeless man with Libertarian views who has camped in the woods for the past five years.

Incumbent Jon Hinck, an attorney who is finishing his first three-year term on the council, is looking to continue working on environmental and sustainability issues but faces an aggressive challenge from School Board member Pious Ali, a youth and community engagement specialist at the Muskie School of Public Service, who is eager to be the voice of immigrants and other marginalized residents who feel intimidated by city government.

Hinck is a former state representative who originally planned to run for a state Senate seat, but decided to run for re-election to the council after missing the deadline to run for the Legislature. By then, Ali was already off and running for Hinck’s council seat.

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