The Portland Mercury Endorses Kayse Jama for Oregon Senate, District 24
District 24, which includes the area between 82nd Avenue and Gresham and follows I-205 south to Happy Valley, has quickly become one of Oregon’s most diverse districts. As historically diverse corners of inner Portland are hit with skyrocketing rents and mortgages (looking at you, Albina), many longtime Portlanders have had to move east, where housing costs are slightly more tolerable. That’s shaken up the region’s demographics: As of 2018, roughly 25 percent of District 24’s population was born outside of the United States. Fifteen percent of the district identify as Hispanic. Five percent identify as Black. Students who attend the community’s David Douglas School District speak over 70 different languages. Take a peek at census data and you’ll see the district’s residents grow less and less white the younger they get—promising a future of increasing racial diversity.
But this migration east has created its own housing crisis, setting landlords against tenants and newcomers against longtime residents—and leaving many without stable, permanent homes. Affordable housing has easily become the focal point of this senate race.
That’s why we believe Kayse Jama, a Somali refugee who moved his family into District 24 after being priced out of North Portland, can best guide this region to a better future. But, we’re not only endorsing him because his story reflects the district’s population.