Seth Woolley, an environmental activist and campaign finance advocate, has confirmed plans to challenge Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in the 2020 primary election.
"There's a lack of creativity in City Hall leadership," says Woolley. "That's what I can offer.
Woolley, a Green Party member who currently works as a software engineer for Uber, says he wants to see a renewed emphasis on the environment in City Hall. He's interested in creating a free transit system. In the past, Woolley's worked with many Portland neighborhood associations to push City Hall to enact stronger air quality regulations, specifically regarding wood smoke and diesel emissions. It's Woolley's work with neighborhood associations that's make him critical of Eudaly's leadership.
"I think Commissioner Eudaly's attack on neighborhood associations has been irrational," says Woolley, referring to Eudaly's proposal to allow other community groups the same recognition by the city as Portland's long-standing neighborhood associations. "That's not how you run a city."
Eudaly, who joined City Council in 2017, has said she plans on running for re-election in 2020.
Woolley accuses Eudaly of focusing on only "one or two issues" as city commissioner, and ignoring other areas that affect Portlanders. While he supports her interests in affordable housing, Woolley believes she should be doing more work to create public housing instead of reforming the private market through rental-related policies. He also doubts her "understanding of economics."
Woolley is a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform. Over the past several years, he's helped craft two ballot measures that set campaign finance limits—one for campaigns run in Multnomah County and another for Portland campaigns. While voters approved both measures, they've been put on hold until their constitutionality is decided on in court.
Woolley's also the guy that filed a litany of complaints against former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith in 2017 for actively campaigning for a Portland City Council seat before she was legally allowed to.
This won't be Woolley's first experience running for office in Oregon. In 2012, Woolley ran for Secretary of State against Kate Brown and Knute Buehler, collecting only 2.6 percent of the vote.
Woolley told the Mercury he's eager to participate in the city's publicly-funded election program. Woolley is serving as campaign treasurer for mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone, who has also committed to the city's new campaign finance program.
Woolley created a committee to collect campaign donations on Wednesday. The committee has yet to report any campaign finance activity to the Secretary of State.