Fred Stewart has lived in Portland for most of his life. He attended Binnsmead Middle School, Washington Monroe High School and graduated from Cleveland High School in 1983. He then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and after he was honorably discharged, he attended college at PCC and PSU.
Fred had no desire to become a career politician. He entered the real estate business, where he soon became one of the more successful and civic-minded relators in The Rose City. He founded Stewart Group Realty Inc. 1993. It was as a realtor that he learned how the city works and how he might make a difference in people’s lives.
Fred has seen his city grow from a large small town into a small big city. Now that we are on the way to becoming a major American metropolis, he wants to see Portland realize its full potential as one of the county’s most livable cities. In his professional life he began to develop a unique vision or Portland’s future that business-as-usual politicians never see.
Unlike his main opponent, Steve Novick, Fred brings a fresh approach to community service that is anything but conventional. For him, public service truly means serving the people, not just paying lip service to lofty, abstract concepts like being the “people’s champion.” He wants to be not only progressive, but effective. Even as a realtor, he did things differently. Fred wasn’t interested in just selling just houses but in creating livable communities. He sees this as Portland’s greatest challenge in becoming not just a destination city, but a community that anticipates and solves its problems.
When Fred saw that his own neighborhood of Northeast Portland had fallen into neglect, with fewer and fewer family homes and a high crime rate, he was convinced things had to change. He favored selling homes and buildings to families interested in building a safer and more productive community, not to absentee landlords and investors.
Fred made it his personal battle to help make sure that families had decent, affordable housing and could make their voices heard in City Hall. Elected President of the King Neighborhood Association, a position he held for ten years, he became known as someone who got things done and helped improve people’s lives.
He soon surprised residents and city officials alike when he demonstrated that he could help move families into area many of the city’s residents had given up on. Soon homes in Northeast Portland were occupied by families, not drug dealers or petty criminals.
When there were shootings in a high school cafeteria, Fred began youth programs that gave hope to teenagers and provided structure in their lives. He favored buyers who were not interested in becoming slum landlords and fearing their tenants. Fred says, “We listened, we learned, and we led.”
One of Fred’s goals is make certain that this will be true in all parts of Portland. He wants to help families stay in the city. Fred knows that gentrification is not the answer to Portland’s problems, but that community is. He believes Portland should never be a city of the very old and the very young. That’s why having good schools in all neighborhoods is an important part of his campaign platform.
City government hasn’t been solving the really difficult issues facing it for years. Voters are given so few choices. New ideas are in short supply. If elected, Fred will invite members of the community to bring their ideas to the City Council and create a dialogue that will lead to new thinking.
Fred Stewart has been preparing to lead for 27 years. He believes that effective public servants need to be more visible, and more engaged with their constituents. He will work to narrow the gap between City Council and the public. Incumbents aren’t used to being challenged, and he will provide a challenge to the complacency of previous Portland city governments. Once Fred wins a seat on the City Council, Portland will be a better place for succeeding generations.