Teressa Raiford is a native of Portland whose family has lived in the city for generations. In addition to being an entrepreneur and consultant, she is a long time community organizer and police accountability advocate whose work around the issue of gun violence led to a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama in 2013. Raiford began organizing around ending violence in 2010 after her nephew was shot and killed in Old Town.
In 2014, in the wake of massive nationwide outcry over the killing of unarmed black people by police, Raiford formed the group Don’t Shoot Portland. This community action plan focuses on ending police violence and oppression, and creating positive change in our community. In the fall of 2016 the group boldly and publicly criticized the new police union contract negotiated by then Mayor Charlie Hales, as well as the accompanying City Hall closures and police brutality that was ordered by Hales and encountered by citizens engaged in the process around the approval of the contract in public city council meetings.
Throughout all the work that Raiford and Don't Shoot Portland have done, her community organizing has centered youth empowerment through art, community engagement, feeding and clothing those in need in our community, and relationship building that is vital to create strong and resilient communities with a foundation in equity and justice.
It is with her life's work as a community organizer, educator and advocate, and with the continued failures of the mayor's office in mind, that Teressa Raiford has decided to run for Mayor of Portland in 2020.