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Election roundup: The Oregonian picks Hales, Brady in a car, candidate events, and more

Posted by on April 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Active Transportation Debate at PSU-5

A big endorsement for Mr. Hales.

Local elections are heading into the home stretch here in Portland (primaries are May 15th). Candidates are going to the full-court press, media coverage is picking up, and non-profit groups are hosting events to introduce you to your future leaders. Here’s an update on things from a bike/transportation perspective…

The big news is that former City Commissioner turned streetcar/light-rail consultant Charlie Hales has won the big endorsement of The Oregonian. In an editorial explaining the decision, The Oregonian cited Hales’ experience on City Council and his “record of accomplishment” on many local issues.

Eileen Brady’s new TV ad features
her driving alone through the city.

The Oregonian didn’t chose candidate Jefferson Smith because of “policy differences on key transportation issues, including the need for a new Columbia River Crossing, which he opposes.” They also called Smith “more activist than executive.” As for Eileen Brady, the newspaper said she, “lacked Hales’ strong command of city issues.”

While failing to get The Oregonian’s support is clearly a tough loss for Brady, it’s not entirely bad news for Smith. Not only did he use it as rallying cry for his campaign on Twitter — “Would have appreciated The O’s endorsement, but not it if meant supporting the bridgedoggle, CRC. If you’re not sure you do either, join us.” — some voters see this as a plus for Smith.

Portlander Dave Feucht wrote us to say,

“To me, the Oregonian choosing to reject him based on his position on the CRC is a positive thing in terms of my view of him, because I know the view they hold with regards to the CRC is absolutely against my own, is against reasonable, rational thought, and against the reality of our current situation… I actually have liked Hales pretty well, from what I’ve heard of him, but would probably vote for Smith over him, the Oregonian thing isn’t so much a negative against him, so much as it is a plus for Smith (in my mind).”

The Oregonian endorsement has surely helped Hales close the gap and possibly puts him in the lead over Brady at this point. However, both polls I’ve seen show that undecided voters still hold the keys to this election.

If you’re in that camp, there are some important events coming up.

– Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is airing profiles of all three candidates this week. Hales’ is already up, with Smith and Brady to follow. On Thursday, OPB will have all three candidates in their studio for a special edition of Think Out Loud at 9:00 am. I’ve been invited to “live-Tweet” the event from the studio so stay tuned for that.

– The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and a host of other health, land use, and transportation non-profits are hosting “a conversation” with the candidates on April 11th.

Bike Walk Vote, the re-energized political action committee that has already endorsed Jefferson Smith for Mayor, is just days away from releasing their picks for the City Council, Metro, and Washington County Commission and state legislature races. On Wednesday night (4/4), they’ll throw a party at Crank bike shop (2725 SE Ash St) where you can meet and mingle with the candidates they’ve chosen.

Eileen Brady released her first TV ads today. Interestingly, one of them features her driving around Portland in a Subaru station wagon. It makes me wonder how much of a conscious choice it was to portray herself driving alone in a city known for its biking, walking and transit network. Also of interest is that she does show herself on a bike (at about the 27 second mark); but it’s so quick you might miss it if you blink…

Brady’s ad reminded me of Sam Adams’ 2008 mayoral campaign TV ad that showed him prominently astride a bike throughout (ahh those halcyon days)…

One last note on Brady, I sat down with her for an interview recently and will share it here this week. Stay tuned for more local election coverage! Who has your vote at this point in the race?

Please support BikePortland.

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  • Skis April 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I recall that Adams also did an ad featuring him driving in a pickup truck.

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  • jeff April 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    and look where Adams ended up. I’m not sure the approach you seem to endorse would be the best angle for any candidate at this point.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm


      I just want you and everyone else to be clear that I am not endorsing anything in this post. Thanks. The conclusion you are drawing is all your own.

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      • oskarbaanks April 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

        I believe the second comment was aimed at the first comment, not directed at the blog author. I could be wrong though…….

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  • pdxmike April 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Jefferson Smith earned the Bike Walk vote endorsement because, among other things, he strongly differentiated himself from the other two contenders with respect to the CRC highway megaproject.

    While both Charlie Hales and Eileen Brady acknowledge the problems with (including cost) of the current design, both advocate for building it as designed, in part, now, and hoping that ODOT will revise the project later.

    Jefferson’s full response to the Bike Walk Vote CRC questions is here:

    “It is no secret that I have had major questions about the CRC. Key funding streams are doubtful. $300-$450+ million from Oregon will require an unlikely gas tax increase or the setting aside of already committed projects (which doesn’t boost jobs, just shifts them); $450+ million from Washington will require moving ahead in the queue of three other major projects; to get federal money will require us to count on the Tea Party Congress that I doubt wants to give it to us; and Oregon’s own Treasury Department has challenged the tolling math. And there are no clear answers on who will cover cost overruns.

    From the beginning, we should have prioritized a solution to address freight mobility, cost consciousness, safety, and was in line with our approved climate goals, — and de-prioritized local Interstate commuting, particularly single-car occupancy commuting (or moving more of
    Portland’s economy over to Clark County, where speculators can avoid Oregon income taxes and Oregon land use laws).

    If I’m wrong, the current City Council has already voted on it. If the project is indeed nearly fatally challenged, I will support solutions that prioritize safety and freight mobility. I will not support lobbying for funding a project without greater confidence in its soundness, and that
    it meets Portland’s and Oregon’s priorities. As a legislator, I sat on the Transportation and Economic Development Committee, where I promoted alternative options and helped raise questions that kept the legislature from rubber stamping the project.

    Just last week, the Governor suggested removing interchanges and exploring a Plan B. If we get serious about a Plan B, I am intrigued by a common sense alternative that spreads commuters, freight, lightrail, bikes, peds over more than one crossing.

    Overall, let’s lead with facts. Part of the problem is that we’ve led with lobbying, rather than with facts and math. To quote a former Metro President, “I knew there was a problem when every time I raised a question, instead of hiring more engineers, the promoters hired more lobbyists.” And while we paying consultants and lobbyists, we aren’t building a project or solving the problem. Let’s get it right first, and do lobbying second.”

    You can read all three mayoral candidate responses to our questionnaires at the web page and our Facebook page as a note.

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    • Gregg April 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Jefferson Smith for Mayor!
      Come on readers…Register to vote!

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  • Evan Manvel April 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    And for those curious, here’s the link to what the mayoral candidates said to labor about the CRC

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  • SilkySlim April 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    It certainly says something about the Oregonian when you turn their lack of their endorsement into a positive!

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    • Gregg April 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      The snOregonion endorsed george bush over Al Gore, of coarse they won’t endorse Jefferson Smith.

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  • pdxmike April 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I haven’t seen this CRC clip for months, but in digging it up I gave it another watch.

    And. Wow. The differences between the three contenders for mayor couldn’t be clearer.

    If you are anti-CRC you really ought to see this clip from the AFL-CIO debate this winter where all three contenders have their say on the mega project.

    It might just shock you. (video 3:05)

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  • spare_wheel April 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    brady was driving a sub-urban assault-vehicle, not a station wagon.

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  • Andrew N April 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the video link, pdxmike. Smith’s answer was awesome.

    I’m leaning towards Hales because I think he is ready to step in and be an effective mayor from day 1. His record on active transportation and public transit is stellar. Some of his statements on the CRC have given me some pause, but he has made it clear, at least recently, that the current version is not going to get built.

    I love Jefferson Smith but I’d be more comfortable with him as mayor if he seasoned himself on the council (as opposed to the legislature, which is even more of a joke) for a few years first. He seems authentic, I like his off-the-cuff style, and he’d be great for East Portlnd. I worry about him being prepared for the juggling act of day-to-day management, though. I wish he could be “vice mayor” or something.

    But as long as Brady doesn’t win I’ll be happy.

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    • oskarbaanks April 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Anyone but E.B.,IMO. Mr.Smith’s response was truly the best articulated breakdown of needs on this issue. I think he has my vote for now.

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    • 9watts April 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      “Thanks for the video link, pdxmike. Smith’s answer was awesome.”
      yep. Brady’s answer sounded ridiculous.

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    • torridjoe April 2, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      I’ve heard some folks worry about that, but Smith was on the committee that oversaw the Governor’s Office budget, the SoS and I think the Treasurer. Council is about getting three votes and managing the people running the bureaus (and of course finding good people to run them). Those are Jefferson’s strengths IMO. I just think he’s a better step forward.

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  • BURR April 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, endorsement by the Oregonian is a kiss of death for the crowd here.

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  • Nick April 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Cars, TV, and newspapers… apparently Brady is living the dream of the 90’s.

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    • Nick April 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Oh, right, Hales was in the paper, not Brady… duh.

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  • IanC April 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Everything is intentional in these political ads. Brady is as close to a Republican that Portland mayoral candidate can get. She’s sort of a stealth candidate for the Portland Business Alliance.

    Her ad conveys solidarity with the aspirations of most Portlanders – professional, good income, in control. You can be “liberal” and still consume energy and expensive goods – just shop at New Seasons, Bike the Parkways, and recycle and you’re good! This ad is a shout out to the other upper middle class and above voters in Portland – ie. the ones who actually vote!

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  • daisy April 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I haven’t been following this election too closely yet, but, wow, Brady’s ad told me a whole lot. It seemed like it was saying, “I may have been part of New Seasons, but now I’m a car-driving suburban mom!”

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  • t.a. barnhart April 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    if you think the Oregonians endorsement will change any votes, other than to convince many to not for Hales, you don’t understand how Portland feels about that paper.

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  • Andrew K April 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I am still completely torn between Smith and Hales.

    Brady hasn’t impressed me at all. I feel like her campaign has a ton of money and she is putting her name out there with lawn signs and TV ads but I haven’t heard her say any actual ideas that have impressed me. It seems to be about the media blitz and nothing more.

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  • Charles Montgomery April 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Great post!

    I got to see these three speak at the Gateway Area Business Alliance meeting and I liked all three, but…

    I think Smith is more on point, relevant, calculating, and articulate… PDXMike thanks for the post on Mr. Smith’s response… I think his caution is correct, and it’s $450 million BEFORE it goes way over estimate… 🙂

    P.S. Enjoying this election – I think we have high caliber candidates

    P.S.S I did COMPLETELY MISS her bike scene… about to watch again.

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  • Robin Canaday April 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Perhaps that is representative of the amount of time she spends biking. Don’t know.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    It’s been more than once that Smith has said to potential endorsers who support the CRC – groups like the Portland Business Alliance and the AFL-CIO, as seen in the video that Evan Manvel and pdxmike posted – that he knows full well his position on the CRC might cost their endorsement, but he’s not going to weaken his stance for their support. I appreciate that kind of clarity and honesty.

    Seriously, check it out, it’s the perfect portrait of how the three main candidates act when presented with a massive boondoggle:

    Funny thing is, Smith didn’t get the endorsement, but he got by far the biggest round of applause. I guess even if the members like you, it doesn’t mean the leaders will.

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  • Jeff Bernards April 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I donated to Smiths campaign, because of his CRC standing. I’ve called his office 3 times and talked with him once about endorsing the Initiative to Ban Studded Tires, no response. If he is going to take a strong stand on important issues, it seems this one is pretty small considering what he’ll face as mayor. I’ve contacted the Brady office too, no response. Remember, in Portland 90% of us don’t use studded tires, are they afraid of a backlash from 10% of voters? If transportation issues are so important why are 10% of drivers allowed to cut road life in half?

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  • Kasandra April 3, 2012 at 12:21 am

    When I hire a mechanic, I want someone with experience working on bikes, not mopeds and lawnmowers. When I hire a doctor, I want someone with experience in adult internal medicine, not dermatology and pediatrics.

    Learning how to accomplish things in politics is a skill that comes with practice, just like in any job. So when I pick a candidate for mayor, I want someone with leadership experience in CITY government. Because he is the only candidate with experience in City Hall, *and* because he is a good guy, I think Charlie Hales is the best candidate to help Portland move forward.

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    • nuovorecord April 3, 2012 at 11:47 am


      I’m still torn between Smith’s vision and passion, and Hale’s experience, particularly with regards to transportation. I feel like Brady’s had months to impress me and I’m not, so she’s drifting off the charts.

      For me, the CRC isn’t a “litmus test” in that it really doesn’t matter what position the candidates take. The likelihood of it being funded is still slim to none, particularly given Congress’ failure to pass a new transportation bill. It’s already been taken off the respirator…we’re just waiting for the CRC to die.

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      • Experience? April 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm

        I don’t get the experience thing at all. smith is the only candidate who’s been elected to public office in the last 10 years. Hales left his city council position to take a private sector job (that he got through relationships while on the council!). Smith not only has experience, he also has the courage to stand up against the interests that both hales & Brady have given into. The combination is so rare, Portland will kick itself if we don’t vote for him. He’s the only candidate with the experience & the brains. And he’s accountable only to the people. How is this even a choice?!

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  • thefuture April 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Interesting interview with Hales (from an Architectural perspective) on Portland Architecture Blog where he, among other issues, discusses his CRC views:

    I’m still torn between Smith and Hales at this point.

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  • portlandia April 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Jefferson Smith has given voice to all of my concerns about the CRC, but the real reason I support him lies entirely within the city limits of Portland: I believe he will see to it that the city government yields better outcomes for everyone, not just the yuppies and hipsters in the central part of the city.

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