I'm sitting here in the dark at Rontoms on East Burnside, watching the election returns on the big screen with Metro President candidate Bob Stacey and a solid roomful of progressive folk, including several Bicycle Transportation Alliance staffers and a man wearing head to toe red, white and blue stripes (photos below the cut, obvs).
This photo pretty much sums up the atmosphere:
The Metro race is super tight between Bob Stacey and his opponent Tom Hughes and whoever wins will have a heavy hand in setting the land use policies for the region or, as Mayor Sam Adams put it before he took off for one of seven other parties he's hitting tonight: "The Metro job is really important, it establishes the rules of the game for the cities in regard to whether we'll grow smart or stupid." Mayor Adams spent the afternoon catching some of the national returns in his office and he says, "I'm depressed. So far its been brutal."
Despite the drinking and talking and big cheers for the early local returns coming in on the big screen, the mood is a bit anxious. I asked a bikey party-goer how he felt about the election. His one word answer: "Shitty."
Currently, Bob is leading by six percent in Multnomah County but is behind by about as much in Washington and Clackamas counties. This race might be too close to call tonight.
As for the most important question: How did 61-year-old Bob Stacey choose to have his party at the too-hip-for-proper-lighting Rontoms? "I'm the oldest person on my campaign team," he says. "My campaign strategist is 10 years younger than me, my campaign manager is 30 years younger than me, and my field director is 38 years younger."
Right now I'm watching an elderly couple circle the block looking for the bar... maybe someday Rontoms will rethink forgoing a name on the outside for just a whimsical man with a helicopter backpack?
No time to consider that, I'm off to go hang out with Tom Hughes on a cruise boat.
Below the cut: man in stripes!