Can Portland Survive?

On September 29, KOIN News reported on a campaign event held by non-affiliated gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson:

The governor’s race comes to the Lents neighborhood, where unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson told voters that the neighborhood is “ground zero” for lawlessness in Portland.

The Lents neighborhood has the third most crime reports of any Portland neighborhood, according to PPB’s crime map. The people who spoke to Johnson on Thursday say they have felt it for years, detailing how they’ve watched drug use and drug deals on their front steps.

“’This community has been ground zero for way too long. You’ve taken an abusive amount of the hit of all of the issues, homelessness, crime, drugs,’ Johnson said.

Johnson reiterated her opposition to Measure 110 and her hopes to repeal it, though she understands only voters could do that. She also says she’d use the governor’s office to clean camps along state highways and land, as well as fund Oregon State Police to the best of her ability.

“’On the first day, I’d tell ODOT load up the dump trucks and the paint wagons, we’re coming up here and we’re going to take this crap off the sides of the roads,’ Johnson said.

“’Oregon cannot succeed if Portland fails and Portland right now, by every measure, is failing and I think there is a state interest in making this city work,’ she said.” (Emphasis supplied)

Ms. Johnson has a long history of seeing through the mire of liberal/progressive politics to the truth. And while I would have worded her comments differently – more pointedly at that small band of Portland Democrats who have destroyed one of America’s most beautiful cities. I would have also wondered aloud how the people of Portland have come to the point that they would accept and return those elected officials responsible for Portland’s decline to office repeatedly over the last thirty year. That they would shun people who have demonstrated success outside of politics in favor of a bunch of parasites who simply do not know how to cure a problem by looking at its causes (as opposed to its politics); who repeatedly demonstrate that they will not or cannot manage even the most simple tasks and who spend money like there is no tomorrow.

In my initial draft of this article, I found myself building a list of failures, foolish acts, and hypocritical statements by the Democrat leadership of Portland that I thought could not be denied as the reason that voters should turn their backs on those who have led Portland for the past thirty years. But then I read an October 3 article by the Oregon Taxpayers Association that noted that 57% of those backing former Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for governor think that Oregon is headed in the right direction and that another 22% aren’t sure. I was stunned. That means that 57% are supportive of the far left liberal/progressives while 22% would say there is no significant reason not to return them to office. Seventy-nine percent can look at the riots, the looting, the arson, the assaults, the destruction, and the increase in armed violence and say, “That’s okay.”

There is a part of the election in 2022 that may provide the watershed of whether Oregonians in general and Portlanders in particular begin to understand that this madness is not sustainable. It is the election for the City Commission that pits incumbent Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty against challenger Rene Gonzalez. (The other commission seat was won by incumbent Commissioner Dan Ryan who received a majority of votes in the non-partisan primary.) By any stretch of the imagination, Ms. Hardesty is a radical both before and after her election in 2018. She has led the charge to defund the police, supported many of the demands of Black Lives Matter and routinely condemned white people for all manner of things. Ms. Hardesty sees the world solely through a racial lens. On the other hand, Mr. Gonzalez who has held no political office and comes from the private sector where he is a lawyer and technology entrepreneur. His saving grace is that he has succeeded; that he has managed and delivered in a competitive environment.

Recent polling shows that Mr. Gonzalez is building a significant lead. But this is Portland. And this is a vote by mail election in which there are few safeguards. And Ms. Hardesty has been endorsed by many of the Portland public employee unions including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which is among the most active in “vote harvesting.” By mornings light on the day following the election all of the polling may turn out for naught.

Ms. Johnson is one thousand percent accurate in her assessment about the future of Oregon. The Hardesty/Gonzalez race may be a harkening of what is to come.

The end of dominance by the Portland based liberal/progressives (including the Democrat’s liberal/progressive and public employees union gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek) is the only way that Portland and Oregon can survive.