Metro Councilor and former Portland City Hall staffer Sam Chase has officially announced his bid for Portland City Council. Chase is running in the special election for Commissioner 2, the seat previously held by Commissioner Nick Fish.
“I’ve always followed my heart to where I can have the greatest impact," said Chase in an email announcing his campaign. "Now, I’m ready to bring my success fighting to address affordable housing and homelessness, protect the environment, and create living wage jobs to the city I love."
Chase has served on the regional government council since 2013, where he represents Northwest, Northeast, and North Portland. Before joining Metro, Chase served as chief of staff for former Portland Commissioner Nick Fish and a housing policy advisor to former Multnomah County Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury.
Prior to joining the public sector, Chase was the director of two nonprofits geared toward affordable housing: the Clackamas Community Land Trust (now Proud Ground) and the Oregon Opportunity Network (now Housing Oregon).
Chase's career has centered on affordable housing policy, an issue area that had been relatively untouched by Metro before he joined its council. Chase is credited for steering Metro towards the creation of a $652.8 million affordable housing bond, which was approved by voters in 2018.
“We need to keep the momentum going on housing and homelessness," Chase told the Mercury on Monday. "This opening feels like an opportunity for me to continue my commitment to affordable housing.”
Chase said he'd been interested in running for City Council in the past—but the timing didn't feel right until now.
Chase is one of dozens who've been rumored to join the race to finish the remaining two years of Fish's term. Tenant rights advocate Margot Black, progressive activist Julia DeGraw, Portland State University environmental science student Robin Castro, immigrant and refugee rights advocate Ronault 'Polo' Catalani, and sexual assault survivor advocate Diana Gutman have already announced their run. Former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is rumored to enter the race later today.