Hes from the suburbs! Crazy!
  • city of hillsboro
  • He's from the suburbs! Crazy!
The race between two lefty, pro-bike, anti-sprawl candidates for the Metro Council President seat has just gotten more interesting: Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes confirmed to the Hillsboro Argus this morning that he's jumping into the important race.

The Oregonian ran a long profile of Hughes when he retired as Hillsboro's mayor last year. Though he's extraordinarily popular in Hillsboro (he won the 2004 election with 72 percent of the vote), he butted heads with Metro when he advocated for expanding the Urban Growth Boundary.

"He was a really hard working mayor, the local government experience I think would be a very good thing. Hillsboro is a very well-run city, which I think is also to his credit," says out-going Metro President David Bragdon (whose Zoo Train ride auction package is currently up to $197). "He'd definitely be a different candidate than the other two. I think it'd be good for the region to have a choice of philosophies in the race." In Bragdon's opinion, Hughes is an all-around good guy, despite their disagreements over the Urban Growth Boundary. "We're able to work together cordially even when we disagreed," says Bragdon.

Bragdon points out that the winner of the May 2010 race has to get 50 percent of the vote—with the anti-sprawl vote split between Rex Burkholder and Bob Stacey, Hughes' candidacy means the vote might be so tight we'll need a runoff.

UPDATED 1:57 PM with quotes from Hughes and his competitors below the cut.

Hughes announced his candidacy on (where else?) Facebook last night but plans to pull together a campaign staff and political action committee before hosting some sort of more formal kick-off in January. Though he differs from Burkholder and Stacey in urban growth politics, Hughes says he’s a “Progressive Democrat” like them. Central to his campaign will be a platform of UGB expansion coupled with promoting density. “There is not enough land being considered for future urban expansion to account for a reasonably solid economic development plan. We cut off at the top the ability to attract new businesses to the region,” says Hughes. “We think you can accommodate both strategies of a slight expansion of the urban growth boundary and promoting

Both Burkholder’s campaign and Stacey say they welcome Hughes to the race. Stacey says that though he and Hillsboro mayor have a lot to agree on, Hughes’ idea that expanding the UGB is essential for job growth is invalid. “The last thing we can afford to do is through infrastructure dollars at vacant land outside the Urban Growth Boundary… the reason people move here isn’t because we have office parks that spread all the way down I-5 all the way to the coast.”