Really, Max Brumm is running for mayor. He knows he's young (he's 19). He knows he doesn't have a lick of experience (although, "my dinner room talk is politics," he insists). He also knows he won't be able to raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars he'll need to stay alive in one of the hardest-fought mayoral elections in years (but he is planning a rap concert fundraiser this summer).

But I have a soft spot for Brumm anyway. This ought to be a joke, but he's spent too much of his family's money, on T-shirts and banners and a website, etc., for this thing not to be a little serious. And he's even got a platform.

At a press conference downtown this morning, surrounded by his relatives and his old friends from the Lincoln High baseball team, Brumm—a self-described liberal and technically the first person to declare for mayor next year—worked hard, if nervously at times, to come off like a grown-up candidate.

"I'm determined to be the new blood, the new voice, the new face of Portland," Brumm read authoritatively from mostly memorized prepared remarks, comments captured by myself and three news stations. "I see no one taking action. I see no change occurring. I want to be that change... I'm not a couch potato. I figure I can sit aside or do something about it."

So what would Brumm's brand of "change" look like?

Brumm's vision is threefold: Revive publicly funded elections. Invest in building and improving the playing fields at city parks, so families don't have to move to the suburbs. And stop spending so much on bikeway improvements, at the expense of providing smoother roads.

Otherwise, "we'll just have artists painting green boxes on the bumpy streets," he said.

Two other pieces of his platform call for booting motor vehicles off the Sellwood Bridge and bringing a rodeo-like event downtown to fund college scholarships.

I realize, and I hope Brumm does, that he probably won't be invited to many candidate debates. Although there's a part of me that wishes he would be (we'll certainly invite him and all comers to our endorsement interviews next winter).

Brumm, an earnest, articulate history major and ballplayer at Clackamas Comunity College, is light on depth and details. (He mixed up Washington and Clackamas counties, at one point. His big metaphor for city spending involved baking an apple pie.) But still, he's sitting right on some of the major fault lines in Portland politics.

How much influence should special interests and the wealthy wield over our social policies? Is Portland a place that families of modest means must forsake for the suburbs so they can live more comfortably? Is Portland making smart investments in its infrastructure?

Asked about Mayor Sam Adams, Brumm insists he's "not running against Sam right now. I'm running for the city." But asked later whether Adams, undeclared but quietly running for re-election, has done a good job, Brumm was quick with an answer: "I don't think so."

Asked why he thinks he's qualified to replace Adams, however, Brumm stumbled a bit before coming up with a quote. That's because, I suspect, his reasons for running have as much to do with sentiment as substance.

He comes from a political clan—and he's clearly inspired by the memory of his grandfather, Thomas Brumm, who died in 2006. Thomas Brumm helped fan the flames of Neil Goldschmidt's political career. And he worked in Bill Clinton's White House. Max said the two used to talk politics constantly and that he was constantly exposed to campaigns as a child.

And when he came up with his quote, he did manage to sound like an old hand, even if he was still mostly blustering.

Said young Max Brumm, reflecting back on all 19 of his years: "It's not my first rodeo." It probably won't be his last one, either.