The race to replace Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman continues to get interesting. A week before Christmas, the former Director of Government Relations at Portland State University and a co-founder of the blog BlueOregon, Jesse Cornett, announced his candidacy.
Cornett’s decision adds an important element to this race, not just because of his impressive track record (even one of his fellow candidates said “The sh*t hit the fan” when a local newspaper reported about the decision) but because he is someone who regularly experiences the city from atop a bike saddle.
Ian Stude, a veteran member of the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and the man who keeps PSU pedaling, says Cornett is “the type of candidate that BikePortand readers will be excited to hear more about.”
Stude says that “Jesse is a huge supporter of bicycling” and that during his tenure at PSU (Cornett has left the university to focus solely on his campaign), “I found I always had a very sympathetic ear with Jesse when it came to our projects and initiatives to increase the safety and viability of cycling.”
“As a semi-regular bike commuter himself,” Stude told us, “Jesse often shared his riding stories with me, and took a keen interest in the ‘pulse’ of all things bike related at PSU.”
I met Cornett on the BTA’s New Year’s Day ride on Saturday. He said that if he’s elected, he’d love to have the transportation bureau, but realizes that it’s unlikely given that PBOT is Mayor Adams’ baby. I plan to have a more formal interview with Cornett soon.
Cornett is the fifth person in the race to fill Saltzman’s seat. He joins mental health advocate Jason Renaud, neighborhood activist Ed Garren, stonemason Spencer Burton (whom I’ve also recently met), and former PBOT spokeswoman Mary Volm. All five candidates are currently gathering signatures to quality for public financing of their campaigns. Stay tuned for more coverage of this race.