The PBA represents the interests for dozens of downtown businesses and effectively works as a chamber of commerce for the city. Under Kimbrough's quiet but forceful rule, over the past few years many activists have complained that he has pushed big business interests at the expense of any social or compassionate programs. Under Kimbrough, the PBA was instrumental in a behind-closed-doors decision to enact a sit-lie ordinance. At the time, homeless advocates felt betrayed and sensed that city hall was expressing more concern with pleasing downtown shoppers than helping the down-and-out.
Kimbrough also pushed for an outdoor skating rink to be plopped into Pioneer Square--a decision that would have pushed out other activities, from beer festivals to peace protests.
Critical Mass riders also believe that Kimbrough used the PBA to lobby police for more severe enforcement against the monthly bike ride.
Perhaps the most visible interference the PBA played with city politics came a year ago, when city council was considering an anti-war resolution. After hours of overwhelming testimony from constituents, city council surprisingly shot it down. After the vote, it was revealed that the PBA had lobbied city council against it. (Both Randy Leonard and Jim Francesconi voted against the resolution.)
Pat LaCrosse, the former head of the Portland Development Commission, will oversee the PBA for the next 90 days, as the board searches for a replacement.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Kimbrough!