Portland is in a period of rapid change, in ways that can be both welcome and not-so-welcome. Every issue, whether it’s affordable housing, school funding, taxes or neighborhood preservation, involves a series of competing benefits and harms for city residents and businesses.

In the midst of all this change, we are supporting three City Council incumbents in this year’s election.

Not because we think Portland should stand pat, but because these councilors are best suited to navigate the changes ahead.

CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE: NICHOLAS MAVODONES

There aren’t many people on the City Council who can remember what Portland looked like when the storefronts on Congress Street were boarded up in the early 1990s, or when there was pressure on the city to close underused neighborhood schools.

That kind of perspective matters, and that’s why we support Nick Mavodones for re-election. He knows how far the city has come and what it will take to keep moving forward.

We need a city government to build and maintain infrastructure, regulate land use and provide services to people in need. That takes managing limited resources and working with partners in other levels of government as well as with nonprofits and the private sector. Experience matters.

We appreciated Mavodones’ sense of balance when he drafted a compromise alternative to the four-school bond that was on the ballot last year. Instead of committing to local financing for four elementary schools, he proposed bonding for two schools while continuing to seek state funding for two others.

While that approach did not win at the polls, it was the better alternative, because it could have halved the burden for property tax payers, saving the borrowing capacity for other needs.

Mavodones’ opponent, Joey Brunelle, has a number of good ideas – especially around making the city budget process more transparent and inclusive. He’s impatient with the pace of economic development that creates unequal property.

We think both candidates share many of the same goals, but we think Mavodones’ experience will get Portland closer to them.

COUNCIL DISTRICT I: BELINDA RAY

In her first term in office, Ray has set the standard for what a district councilor should be. She comes to meetings prepared and asks the right questions. She listens to her constituents and keeps them informed of her council work by attending neighborhood meetings and maintaining a detailed blog.

Ray has provided much-needed leadership through a number of controversies, including the proposed relocation of the cluster of social services on India Street, and the current process to move and replace the Oxford Street homeless shelter.

All her skills were on display when she was able to save the view from the city-owned Fort Sumner Park, which was threatened by a proposed development. Ray worked with neighbors, the property owner, city staff and her colleagues on the council to create a fair process that produced a positive result.

Ray says it’s too soon for her to stop working on these issues, and we agree.

COUNCIL DISTRICT 2: SPENCER THIBODEAU

Thibodeau is a real estate lawyer who understands how the city can make life better for the people who live here through regulation and investment.

Through issues like maintaining sidewalks, enforcement of snow-shoveling rules or building bike lanes, Thibodeau has made quality of life a focus of his first term in office. They may sound less exciting than some of the council’s business but they are core municipal functions that can’t be ignored.

Thibodeau’s professional experience prepares him to understand complex issues of city business, like working with three neighborhood groups representing those affected by the expansion of Maine Medical Center.

But there may be more important experience that guides his work on the council. The councilor grew up in the district he now represents, and attended school in the city, That not only informs his work on the council but also could be an inspiration to the students in those schools today.

Thibodeau has done a good job in his first term, and deserves a chance to show what he can do in another.