Exotic Dancer Liv Osthus Throws Hat into Political Arena, Aiming to Transform Portland’s Downtown Scene and Tackle Homelessness and Drug Issues

Liv Osthus, a well-known exotic dancer, is setting her sights on an unexpected career shift – she’s running for the position of mayor in Portland.

Despite her background as a stripper, Osthus is driven by a genuine desire to address the pressing issues of crime, homelessness, and drug problems that have plagued the city.

Her journey into politics is motivated by a deep-seated commitment to making a positive impact on the community she now calls home.

A Unique Journey: From Anthropology to Exotic Dance

Liv Osthus’s journey began in 1996 when she moved to Portland after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from William’s College.

Adopting the stage name “Viva Las Vegas,” she embarked on a career as an exotic dancer. However, Osthus sees her foray into politics not as a departure from her artistic roots but as a continuation of her journey as an artist.

Challenges and Skepticism: Osthus’ Vision for Portland

Recognizing the skepticism surrounding her political aspirations, especially with no prior experience in the realm of politics, Osthus remains undeterred.

Her focus is on revitalizing Portland’s downtown area by repurposing vacant offices left by departing businesses into studios for artists. She envisions these spaces becoming hubs of community engagement, hosting art and music shows, ultimately reinvigorating the city.

Addressing Homelessness and Overdoses: A Call for Optimism

Portland faced significant challenges in the previous year, with 6,300 homeless individuals on the streets and 527 recorded overdoses.

Osthus acknowledges these issues but proposes a creative solution.

She aims to transform the vacant spaces into vibrant community centers, fostering a sense of belonging and kickstarting economic activities such as coffee shops and restaurants.

Leadership Approach: Emphasizing Listening, Connection, and Inspiration

Despite lacking political or managerial experience, Osthus envisions herself as a mayor who listens, connects, and inspires.

She believes in collaborative leadership, leaning on the 12 city council seats for guidance. In her view, the mayor doesn’t need to know everything; rather, they should be someone who can bring people together and drive positive change.

A Competitor Among City Commissioners: Osthus’ Unique Perspective

Liv Osthus is not alone in the mayoral race, competing against three current city commissioners, including her mentor Mingus Mapps.

Her decision to enter the world of exotic dancing was influenced by a desire to explore the empowerment potential of sex work, drawing inspiration from her studies on brothels in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Fentanyl Crisis and Emergency Declaration: A Multifaceted Approach

Portland faces a fentanyl crisis, prompting Oregon leaders to declare a 90-day state of emergency. Despite the decriminalization of drug possession three years ago, the situation has escalated.

Governor Tina Kotek, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson are directing efforts to address addiction through a multi-pronged strategy involving first responders, treatment programs, and crackdowns on drug sales.

In this critical time, Liv Osthus emerges as a unique candidate, offering a perspective that blends her artistic background with a genuine commitment to fostering positive change in Portland.

Only time will tell whether the city is ready to embrace such an unconventional political journey.

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