On behalf of the Progressive Portland Steering Committee, I’m writing to respond to an article in the May 12 Portland Press Herald in which reporter Randy Billings describes Progressive Portland as “political supporters of Mayor Ethan Strimling.”

Progressive Portland is a nonpartisan group that is not aligned with any political party or elected official. We will praise or criticize any elected official based on their voting record on progressive values.

We have criticized Mayor Strimling for his support of turning the former Elks Lodge property into offices instead of much-needed housing. We have sharply called out the industry-dominated pesticide task force he appointed. We’ve criticized his votes when we disagree with them.

We have raised money for the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, the Jewish Community Alliance, the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, Black Lives Matter and the Otto Caballeros legal defense fund. We have never raised money for Mayor Strimling.

We have run ads online praising city councilors David Brenerman and Justin Costa. We have never run an ad praising the mayor.

Mr. Billings points to the fact that we ran a poll on the mayor’s approval ratings. However, we’ve also run polls on the approval ratings of the city manager and the City Council.

There are many issues on which Mayor Strimling and Progressive Portland members agree. One is the four-school bond, which our members voted to make our top priority. But we take positions based on what Portland voters want – not what the mayor wants. And we won’t avoid speaking out on voters’ priorities just because the mayor happens to agree.

By dismissing our motives as political, Mr. Billings reveals his own bias, not ours.

Patricia Washburn

Portland