Psychotherapist Ed Garren has decided to run for election early next year against City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Garren, originally from Florida, moved to Portland in October 2005. He ran in the primary for Nick Fish's seat in January 2008, after Erik Sten's resignation, but was knocked out. An openly gay candidate for the seat, Garren is also a wonderful cook.
"I've just decided I need to throw my name in the ring, and file papers to get the 1000 $5 contributions," he says. "As soon as I can nail down a place, we're going to have a kick-off event on my 60th birthday, November 21st," says Garren.
"There are issues that need to be addressed, and they're either being addressed or not at all," says Garren, asked why he's running. "We talk about sustainability and green and all of that, but we're not doing as best as we can do. There's still issues between the police and communities of color, and we're not doing enough to house the homeless."
"I don't know what's going on with Saltzman, but he has not yet declared intent," says Garren. "And he's specifically said he's not going to declare intent until the first of the year. But the cut-off for getting public campaign financing is not until the 31st of January. Now you remember what happened with Jim Middaugh and Erik Sten? Having a little bit of a suspicious mind, I think either he's got someone in the wings who may want to step up as the new grassroots candidate."
Middaugh was Sten's chief of staff, who stepped up to run for Sten's vacant seat when he resigned. Garren appears to be referring implicitly to Brendan Finn, Saltzman's chief of staff, who is known to have political ambitions, should Saltzman decide not to run again.
"I've had a number of people tell me they want me to run," Garren continues. "I've had people in the press tell me to run, a lot of community organizations, nonprofits, and even people in the press tell me they want me to run. So I don't want to wait to see what Dan is going to do. This isn't about me or about Dan, it's about the voters, and I think the voters need a viable choice."
One other publicly-funded candidate has filed for the seat, so far: Spencer Burton.