The primary election is a little over two months away, and we finally have a sense of everyone who will be in the race. Tuesday evening, March 11, was the filing deadline for those wanting to be on the May 20 ballot.
Candidates have until Friday afternoon, March 14, to withdraw from the race, and chances are a few will. Until then, here's a primer on everyone who's running for mayor or city commissioner. Hang it on your fridge, so when all that campaign literature comes pouring through the mail slot, you'll know which ones to recycle.
Currently a city commissioner, Adams filed for office last October, and has been actively running ever since. Considered a frontrunner, Adams nonetheless has to overcome criticism that he's a city hall insider responsible for controversial projects like the OSHU tram. The former chief of staff to former Mayor Vera Katz, Adams' own mayoral platform is focused on education, family wage jobs, and planning for Portland's expected growth.
Burris, who slid onto the ballot on March 11 (getting just over the 100 signatures needed to avoid paying a fee), is a Portland Community College student who's based his platform on "saving Portland" from the yuppies and hipsters he says have taken over the town. He'd also make cars illegal, and is a self-proclaimed "slacker" who plans to spend less than $300 on his campaign.
Owner of Azumano Travel, Dozono has earned a reputation around town as an all-around civic all-star, organizing marches for school funding and humanitarian trips to places like post-Katrina New Orleans and post-tsunami Thailand. Dozono officially jumped into the race in early January, after a month of speculation on whether or not he would run. He turned in 4,010 $5 contributions toward public financing, though two of his mayoral challengers have appealed his certification as a publicly financed candidate. Along with Adams—and buoyed by things like an endorsement from current Mayor Tom Potter—Dozono is another frontrunner.
Entwisle, who lists his current occupation as a volunteer at Sisters of the Road, has no government experience, but has an interesting resume: He's done stints as a tour bus driver, a security guard, a bouncer in Chinatown, and a volunteer in Portland Public Schools and with the disabled and homeless. A graduate of Portland Community College, Entwisle plans to spend less than $300. "I believe I can make a definite change in the [city's] direction. We've got some problems—the obvious ones. I've got some plans, I've got some ideas, some fresh blood," Entwisle tells the Mercury.
Bob Leonard Forthan
One of the later additions to the race, Forthan jumped in on Monday, March 10. Listing his current employment as "State of Oregon," Forthan attended Jefferson, lives in Northeast Portland, and went to Portland Community College for a year. He lists no prior government experience, but he did run for president—yes, president—this year as a Republican. His national platform? From his website, "To make America a cash-only transaction country, to build environmentally efficient dome homes, stop the invention of insurance, to establish the "no gun" control, and effect a minimum standard of living for all people."
Gier, a 26-year-old who also plans to spend less than $300 in his quest to become mayor, lays out his platform (and love for Neil Diamond) on MySpace: "My top things for the city. (1) All politicians in the city of Portland will be held accountable. (2) The voters have the say in how the city is run not only the city council. (3) To clean up the crime in this city everywhere not just downtown. (4) To plug the hole in Portland's ever lowering bank account. (5) To actually stay in Portland and do the job the city of Portland's officials can't seem too."
Perennial candidate Humble has no email address or campaign website, and hasn't answered his phone when we've called. He's a retired auto mechanic who lives in Southeast Portland, and plans to spend less than $300.
James B. Lee
A retired physicist and fixie bike fan, Lee is the race's most eccentric character (in the best way possible). "This is the only place I care to live, and I feel the need to pay Portland back for a lifetime of wonderful support, even if it's been financially dodgy. Life can deal a royal fizzbin, which one must play as best one can."
North Portlander McNair's most interesting campaign activity to date? Appealing Dozono's public financing certification. The Mercury wishes she'd speak up more—returning our calls would be a good start—as we'd like to hear her expound on her platform, which includes "encouraging home ownership and assisting low-income entrepreneurs to secure the resources they need to start their own businesses" and "holding corporations responsible for their impact on our community."
Rich, of Southwest Portland, lists himself as an "Entrepreneur in Advertising-Marketing/Commercial Property Management." Rich is among the more, um, eclectic of candidates in this non-partisan race. He wants to kill the day laborer center, but make it easier to get medical marijuana. And he wants "stylishly uniformed crosswalk guards" to patrol West Burnside at the Park Blocks.
A State of Oregon civil service test examiner, Stuart hails from Northeast Portland. She lists the Women's Commission and the Commission on the Right of Minorities, both in Eugene, as her governmental experience, and plans to spend less than $300.
Taylor, a real estate investor and mortgage broker, lists "helping people achieve their financial dreams" as part of his occupation, in his filing to run for mayor. A Southeast Portlander, Taylor ran for mayor in 2004, and came in fifth. This time around, he wants to "reestablish the trust between citizens and government."
As we went to press, two new mayoral candidates emerged—David Ackerman, of Northeast Portland, and perennial candidate Bruce Broussard. Ackerman has a background in "fast food," and Broussard coupled his entrance into the race with a third appeal of Dozono's public financing certification.
The Drop Outs
Bike-tour company owner Slav Davidzon dropped out of the race in late February, saying "I cannot financially compete with the two frontrunners without taking donations from business interests, something I refuse to do." Nick Popenuk dropped out of the mayor's race in January to run for Commissioner No. 2 (and dropped out of that race last weekend). Downtown florist Gerhard Watzig jumped into the race with a splash in November, but withdrew in January.
Commissioner No. 1
We've devoted a lot of space to this race, the open seat to replace Sam Adams. Vying for the post are five talented, qualified, and publicly funded candidates: Neighborhood activist and nurse Amanda Fritz, Schools Development Director John Branam, Ethos founder and Executive Director Charles Lewis, consumer advocate Jeff Bissonnette, and "citizen activist" Chris Smith. We've profiled all of them, which you can leisurely peruse at portlandmercury.com/2008. A late addition to the race, and the only privately funded candidate, Mike Fahey is a two-term Oregon State Representative from North Portland, with a background in labor. Old Town skateshop owner and neighborhood activist Howard Weiner dropped out of the race in January.
Commissioner No. 2
The special election to replace Commissioner Erik Sten has two heavy hitters battling it out for the top spot: Sten's Chief of Staff Jim Middaugh qualified for public financing, and is busy getting his name out all over town. Nick Fish—who beat Sam Adams in the primary four years ago, before losing to him in the general—already has name recognition, and is assembling a war chest of money and endorsements. Expect these two to really duke it out over issues they're both passionate about, like housing and homelessness. Meanwhile, Ed Garren, a psychotherapist who lives on Hayden Island, is making plenty of noise over issues of rent stabilization. Northeast Portland community activist Fred Stewart, and consultant Harold Williams Two round out the crowd—both have been lying fairly low to date.
Commissioner No. 4
It looks like incumbent Randy Leonard can practically coast to reelection. "General Political Activist" Martha Perez is his most active challenger, participating in endorsement interviews, and testifying at city council regularly. Emily Ryan, a Portland State University student, has all but dropped out of the race. And we haven't heard from Edward Kill, who lists his occupation as artist, since mid-February. As we went to press, no new challengers had filed to oppose Leonard.