Portland’s next election will be wild

This year is going to be a wild ride for Portland politics. The mayor’s seat and two commissioners’ seats are up for grabs. In normal times, this would be no big deal. The sitting officials would simply use the power of incumbency to coast to easy victories. But these are not normal times.

Mayor Sam Adams, besieged by scandal and two attempted recalls, may face several high-profile challengers. It’s unlikely any of them will bring up the Beau Breedlove affair; they won’t have to. What they’re likely to bring up is that Adams’ major initiatives have been ill-conceived, controversial and ineffective. Adams was in charge of the bureau that botched the city’s latest attempt at a computer system upgrade. Adams was in charge of the bureau that tried to levy a leaf-removal fee on property owners, generating a backlash so intense that a hastily crafted opt-out program was concocted. As a result, the costs of the program may well exceed the revenue. Adams avoided the hot potato of being police commissioner until a public throw-down by then Chief Rosie Sizer forced him to take the post. Now gang violence and police shootings are on the increase.

Meanwhile, neither Commissioners Randy Leonard nor Amanda Fritz have announced whether they will seek re-election. Fritz, an unabashed advocate for the public-financing scheme that voters tossed out, probably cringes at the thought of traditional fund-raising. The scuttlebutt out of Leonard’s office is that he’s advised his staffers to update their resumes. If either of them decide not to run, there won’t be another publicly funded free-for-all like we saw in 2008. Without public financing, only credible candidates with solid resumes will be able to raise money.

I can think of two reasons why Leonard, who has nearly always allied himself with Adams, would hang it up. One is that he might just be tired of it all. He’s in good health, has a new bride and will enjoy two good pensions. The other is that he might just know something. He might know that a high-profile challenger is going to emerge to take on Adams. I think it’s the latter, and I think that challenger will be U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer. And let’s face it: If Blumenauer runs, he wins.

Even though he has tolerated airport pat-downs better than some of his colleagues, Blumenauer has to be getting tired of the cross-country commute. His accomplishments have been largely eclipsed by some other members of Oregon’s delegation. His most recent claim to fame was setting himself up for the crosshairs of Sarah Palin’s “death panel” claims. Now that Republicans have taken the House, who could blame him for coming back to seize a ready-made opportunity close to home?

And to him I say, come on back.

Our bow-tied, bicycling congressman has done everything he could in Washington to fund Portland’s brand of sustainability, and I think he should come back to enjoy it. He should ride the light-rail lines alone at night and see how safe he feels. He should take a stroll though downtown to admire the boarded-up storefronts and see how many times he’s aggressively panhandled. He should talk with unemployed Portlanders and explain how everything here is sustainable — everything, that is, except business, jobs, per capita income, the police and fire pension fund, the public employee pension system and the state budget. Blumenauer has been such an admirable ambassador for Portlandia, both the real and the fictional, it’s only fitting that he lead what he’s helped create.

Then, when he’s mayor, he can either help us fix Portland, or he can help finish it off.

Dave Lister is a small-business owner who served on Portland’s Small Business Advisory Council.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Portland Politics | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Samistheman

    It is sad to malign so great a mayor because of one little problem with some computers. These types of things almost never work, so why blame him. Computers and the software packages to run them are very complex. Most businesses still don’t know how to use them – why should PDX be any different?

    It has been proven that custom systems designed by firms without any sort of experience are always better than systems from Oracle or HP or IBM, who collectively don’t even know what they are doing.

    Mr. Sam is to be commended for trying – for reaching out to the tech community for advice, and for continuing to spend money until this problem is solved. There is simply no off-the-shelf software that can do what Portland needs. Everyone knows that.

    I will vote for this man again and again as I think he is the best Portland has.

    • Disgusted with Potland’s mayor

      Oregonlive post: …attitude scares me. Adams has supporters. While I doubt they would back him against Earl it’s foolish to write him off. If we all adopt the attitude that Adams is gone we may end up with Adams for another 4 8 or 12 years. The man needs an income (clearly from his inability to manage a good income) and only knows how to earn that in public service. Sure, there will be jobs for him but i doubt his arrogance and hubris will be tolerated in the private sector and i think he knows this.

  • Bob Clark

    We’re doomed in PDX. Only a crazy like Novick or Blumenauer can get elected Mayor. If the choice is one of these green shirt nazis, I have to vote for Adams. This is wacked because I signed for his recall twice. Oh, I’d vote for Lister if he were to have a weak moment and throw his hat in the race again.

  • valley person

    “He should take a stroll though downtown to admire the boarded-up storefronts”

    I have an office downtown, walk around there 3 days a week, and have not seen any boarded up storefronts. Is this some sort of metaphor Dave? i mean, its clear you hate what Portland has become, but why make stuff up?

    As for panhandeling, it has increased since the economic meltdown. In a free country, people are free to walk up to other people and ask them for money. Over the past several years, I can think of maybe one time I would consider this asking to have been “aggressive,” and that was from an obviously crazy person.

    • Disgusted with Potland’s mayor

      Toady…VP lives in a scheme world of his own musing.

      By other presents, Stump Town is so-o-o weirdly wired, J.K. Rowling views ‘Portland’ as an oracle attending further schleps into a pathos-mythical world of uttering bong-ality. D’oh!

  • Pachyman

    Um. Hey Dave, try to get the terminology right. The Fireman and Mandy aren’t “commissioners”. They’re Councilors, or members of Portland City Council. I get really tired of seeing folks who should know better referring to them as “commissioners”. If they can’t get the terminology correct, why should I buy into anything else they have to say?

  • Pingback: Blue Coaster33()

  • Pingback: watch tv show episodes()

  • Pingback: streaming movies()

  • Pingback: water ionizer()

  • Pingback: water purification systems()

  • Pingback: kangen()

  • Pingback: TVPackages.net()

  • Pingback: fue.mobi()

  • Pingback: laan penge her og nu()

  • Pingback: paypal loans()

  • Pingback: water ionizer()

  • Pingback: revit mep plumbing tutorial()

  • Pingback: plumbers putty lowes()

  • Pingback: house blue()

  • Pingback: water ionizer()

  • Pingback: alkaline water()

  • Pingback: pay plan()

  • Pingback: click this()

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)