Scraping away the 2012 speculation: Shes in.
  • Sarah Mirk
  • Scraping away the 2012 speculation: She's in.
This as good a week as any to finally inaugurate our "Election 2012" blog label. Here's the best reason why: Amanda Fritz, frequently found on the wrong (yet always admirably principled) side of a 4-1 Portland City Council vote, is running for re-election next year.

She'll tell the wider world this afternoon, during a panel at the Oregon Nurses Association convention, she said in an email sent to reporters this morning.

Quoth Fritz: "I will be making a formal announcement and begin fundraising later in the year, however the level of public and media speculation about whether my seat might be vacant in 2012 leads me to send you this now."

She'd been on the fence, keeping her intentions close. She ran in 2008 as a public financing candidate, the only non-incumbent to win office under the system—and it was assumed she'd likely bow out after voters last year tossed public financing aside. Fritz, after all, is more an advocate/activist than a glad-hander or oily hobnobber.

But, then, she's also been especially feisty in recent council meetings. Three times in the past several weeks, she's held up emergency votes—to the consternation of her colleagues—on parking around Jeld-Wen Field, on selling bonds for new fire equipment, and on a routine HR issue that she felt should've been handled during the budget process.

I'd say this was a lock, though, back in February, when Mayor Sam Adams announced the city's new Office of Equity and asked Fritz to take charge of it. Fritz told me, or actually telegraphed, afterward that the new job was "an exciting enticement to continue."

Her announcement is below the jump. Read it over. Near the bottom, you'll find something really encouraging: Given her background as a psychiatric nurse, and now with more government seasoning, she's promising to do more to stand up for mental health services and keep mentally ill Portlanders from winding up shot/beaten by cops. How about starting out by taking a swing at this?


I have given assurances to those on the City Hall beat that I would not tell one journalist before others about my re-election plans, so I'm sending this message to many.

I intend to include in my remarks on a lunchtime panel at the Oregon Nurses Association statewide convention at the DoubleTree Hotel today, Friday 4/15/11, that I will be running for re-election in 2012. I am proud of my successes so far, and there is more to accomplish now I'm no longer a rookie.

I realize this isn't a typical press release regarding election plans, with a formal listing of accomplishments, campaign plans, and future agenda. I'm currently working 15 hour days to do my best for taxpayers in this term, and I don't want to spend time on electioneering so far from May 2012. I will be making a formal announcement and begin fundraising later in the year, however the level of public and media speculation about whether my seat might be vacant in 2012 leads me to send you this now.

While I feel privileged to have been in the position in the first half of my term to save Portland ratepayers $500 million on water rates, strengthen the reforms on the Independent Police Review process, and guide the adoption of regulations allowing orderly sharing of downtown sidewalks (to name but three projects that give me great satisfaction), there is much more to do. The Office of Equity is a particularly crucial initiative that I want to see firmly established and thriving before I leave service on the City Council. My participation will be important to guide and coordinate fiscal, social, economic and environmental responsibility in the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup process. I will keep pushing for a speedy variance to avoid building a UV treatment plant for Bull Run water, which would save ratepayers another $100 million. And my leadership is needed in coordinating with Multnomah County mental health services, the 9-1-1 bureau, Portland Police and others to reduce adverse outcomes when police are called to incidents involving people experiencing mental illnesses. This last task is one of the reasons I am choosing to announce my plans for re-election at the ONA convention. As a former psychiatric nurse, now with two years' experience inside City government, I am uniquely able to contribute to resolving some of the systemic dysfunctions that lead to tragic outcomes in our community, particularly for people of color and people experiencing mental illnesses. The problems have been building for decades, and I won't walk away from continuing to do my part to help fix them.

It is an honor to serve Portlanders on the Council, and I will be asking voters to give me another term at the polls next year. ONA will likely send out a formal press release, but I wanted to give you a heads-up ahead of time. I will be available for on-the-record comments this afternoon, and this evening at the OLCV annual dinner. Please remember my staff are not allowed to comment on campaign issues on work time in the office.