Tag Archives: Portland Mayor

PDX mayoral race: Movers, shakers and moneymakers

From left to right: Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith

By Janice Thompson, Contributing Columnist

The 2012 Portland mayoral primary season started earlier than usual (in the spring of 2011) when two candidates, Eileen Brady and Charlie Hales, formed their political action committees in anticipation of facing Mayor Sam Adams’s reelection bid. Comparatively, when Tom Potter ran for mayor in 2004 his first contribution came on Sept. 29, 2003, even though his major opponent was a City Council member, Jim Francesconi, with significant fundraising capacity.

Taking on an incumbent is tough so presumably Brady and Hales perceived Mayor Adams as more vulnerable than typical Portland incumbents. As reported by Willamette Week in January 2004, City Council incumbents had lost only five times in 121 contests since 1970. After Mayor Adams’ announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election another candidate, Jefferson Smith, entered the race.

Though there are other mayoral candidates running for election, this analysis will focus on Brady, Hales, and Smith. This article focuses on these three, because, like it or not, the political reality is that viability is linked to fundraising capacity. Brady has raised the most money: $447,085 as reported through Jan. 2, followed by Hales with $249,037, and Smith with $155,358. Hales and Smith have spent less money, so their cash availability is $110,466 and $104,258, respectively, compared to Brady’s $147,959 campaign liquidity. (See Table 1.)

Smith started later than Brady and Hales, hence his current third place spot in the fundraising race. That Smith has the capacity to catch up with his opponents is indicated by his fundraising per day average of $1,425, which compares to daily fundraising averages of $1,796 and $1,107, respectively for Brady and Hales. These daily averages also indicate the role that fundraising plays in how candidates spend their time. Continue reading

Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith talks to Street Roots

By Jake Thomas, Staff Writer

Jefferson Smith hopes to make history next year by becoming the first mayor to come from east of 82nd Avenue.

Since 2008, Smith has represented part of East Portland in the Oregon House of Representatives and has been a champion for a part of town that has often been overlooked by City Hall and faces challenges in education, transportation and poverty. Smith grew up in Portland where he attended Grant High School. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. After taking a high-paying job at a law firm, he left to start the Oregon Bus Project, a nonprofit venture that seeks to increase civic participation through get-out-the-vote and voter-registration initiatives.

While serving in the House, Smith, 38, has worked on how the state manages water, helped upgrade schools, made budgets more transparent, made it easier to register to vote and even made national headlines by rickrolling the Legislature to the tune of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give you Up.”

Jake Thomas: You’ve long campaigned for greater reinvestment in East Portland, home to a large population of immigrants, families in poverty and working-class communities. What are some concrete things you are going to do for this part of town as mayor?

Jefferson Smith: [Scribbles down points on a legal pad.] Six things. One: Using economic diversity as a lens through which we make planning decisions. When we have built developments in inner Portland we have often not done enough to avoid displacing housing that’s displaced by that development elsewhere, including largely in East Portland.

Two: As we make affordable housing investments, making sure that our design review process, while not making it more cumbersome, makes sure to improve the flavor of the neighborhoods.

Third: Looking for some centers of excellence in the area, including the plan for the Gateway Education Center.

Fourth: The safety on the MAX line is something I’ve been working on for the past year and a half with a bunch of people to try and find low-cost alternatives to improve safety on the MAX line. Crime on TriMet is down everywhere in the city except for east of 82nd Avenue. Continue reading

Mayoral candidate Eileen Brady talks with Street Roots

By Jake Thomas

Eileen Brady is perhaps best known for founding New Seasons Market with her husband Brian Rohter, a chain of stores that has drawn national attention for stocking its shelves with products from local and sustainable sources. But Brady is hoping to leave an even bigger mark on Portland by getting elected mayor. Aiming to bring her “results-driven approach” to city hall, Brady wants to make Portland a place that is both sustainable and nurturing toward businesses.

While Brady serves or has served on the board of multiple nonprofit and government entities and her name was thrown around as potential candidate for U.S. Senate in 2008, she came from more humble origins. Shortly after graduating from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., she moved to Portland as a young mother and started working at Nature’s Fresh Northwest, a precursor to New Seasons, for $5 an hour, eventually rising to human resources director.

“Portland’s a good city,” says Brady. “It could be a great city. In order to be a great city we’ve got to be able to build that economic piece of the puzzle and provide the civic leadership to get there. That’s what I’m most excited about: How do you move Portland from a good city to a great city?”

Jake Thomas: You’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars so far for your campaign. Do you worry that there’s a perception out there that there’s too much private money in politics?

Eileen Brady: Yeah. There’s too much influence. I’ll tell you one thing, you spend a lot of time raising money. My husband was the chair of the Voter Owned Elections campaign, and we came really close to winning. I was very disappointed that we didn’t get over the hump. We think that if we had two more weeks, voters would have kept public financing of elections. I am a huge supporter of campaign finance reform. But right now, we’re playing with the rules we have. If I could wave my magic wand and make this different, I would. I think one of the huge shifts in our politics, locally and nationally, when it comes, will be true campaign finance reform. Continue reading

Mayor Sam Adams talks with Street Roots

By Joanne Zuhl and Israel Bayer, Staff writers

Support him or not, probably few people would want to trade places with Sam Adams right now. His first 18 months in office as Portland’s mayor has been saddled with a crushed economy that has hobbled the city’s financial status while fueling the need for city services. It has been plagued by ongoing flare-ups with police and the public, resulting in the firing of the police chief and the takeover of the bureau by the mayor’s office. And lurking in the shadows has been the rattling of recall efforts that twice failed to garner enough signatures to reach the ballot.

If it’s getting him down, it doesn’t seem to effect his game face, which more often than not remains stern and straight ahead. When we talked with him, he had just completed the 2010 City Budget — the 17th of his career working under former Mayor Vera Katz and now as mayor himself. This budget not only reflects the funding available now, but also projects a warning to bureau chiefs of the bumpy ride still to come.

Street Roots questioned the mayor about the budget and how he’s going to keep the so-called “city that works” working for everyone.

Street Roots: How does this budget stack up in terms of difficulty, obligations, priorities, etc.

Sam Adams: Putting together a city budget that balances basic services with smart investments in our city’s future is always challenging. This year’s budget was especially challenging due to the cuts to ongoing and one-time funds available. Fortunately, I work with a smart, dynamic and pragmatic group of colleagues on City Council. They fight for their bureau’s needs, but they also recognize the financial landscape we’re navigating through, and each is willing to compromise where necessary.

In terms of obligations and priorities, my first priority for this coming year’s budget (fiscal year 2010-11) was protecting the core services of the City and the services to help people most at need. It’s why I directed non-public safety agencies to cut 4 percent from their budgets and asked public safety agencies to target 2-3 percent. It’s also why I worked with Commissioner Nick Fish to increase funding to pay for increased shelter bed capacity, especially to meet more of the demand for women’s shelter beds. And, coupled with the Portland Development Commission’s budget, we’re putting $2 million toward construction of the Hooper Detox Center and additional funds toward the construction of the joint city-county mental health crisis center.

In the face of deepening county and state budget shortfalls, the City of Portland is going to have to find ways to fill the gaps created by other jurisdictions. When a person in our city is on the streets and needs services, they’re not saying to themselves, “I wish the county better funded these services.” They’re saying, “Who can I turn to for help?” So, I’ll continue to push for better funding for services for those most at-need, but I’m also committed to getting other jurisdictions — neighboring counties like Washington County and cities in our region — to increase their financial commitment to these services.

S.R.: You called this a recovery budget— what do you mean by that and what’s the forecast for Portlanders in the years to come?

S.A.: A recovery budget means that we’re not just helping people day-by-day, but that we’re funding the programs and services for people to make long-term improvements in their lives. So, for example, the Police Bureau’s Prostitution Coordination Team is about enforcing laws to curb prostitution. But it’s also coupled with a contract with LifeWorks Northwest, an amazing organization that helps women transition from lives in the sex trade to safer, healthier lives and livelihoods in the community. And I’ve continued to fund economic development efforts that help small businesses get access to start-up capital and storefront improvement dollars. At my direction, the PDC made administrative cuts that transferred $4 million toward economic development front-line programs. Continue reading