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Election open thread: Chris Smith or Mary Nolan for Metro District 5?

Posted by on October 13th, 2020 at 11:02 am

(Detail from official Voter’s Pamphlet)

With ballots dropping sometime this week it’s time to make decisions about key local races.

I’ve been debating how best to use BikePortland to help inform and inspire your choices and I’ve decided to to try something new: An open comment thread where our wise and knowledgeable audience — that’s you! — can share how they’re voting and why. If this format seems helpful, I’ll post other races (including the Metro transportation funding ballot measure) in the coming days.

So let’s see what happens…

Who do you plan to vote for in the race for Metro District 5? Mary Nolan (NolanForMetro.com) or Chris Smith (ChrisForMetro.com)?

Please share your opinion in the comments. Keep in mind I will moderate this thread even more closely than usual and will only tolerate productive and respectful comments.

Thank you for sharing your insights and opinions.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Chris SmithCourtney VeedraktajinoMattAnon Recent comment authors
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Aaron
Guest

I highly recommend anyone that wishes to learn more about this race to click through bikeportland’s archives and check out the litany of stories Jonathan has published about Chris’ decades of advocacy for climate action, safer streets, transit options, and affordable housing. It’s extremely satisfying to see, for instance, Chris chiming in about the Columbia River Crossing back in 2007, or the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion back in 2012, correctly identifying the impacts of induced demand, and a litany of other times Chris has been on the right side of active transportation advocacy.

https://bikeportland.org/tag/chris-smith

Pete S
Guest
Pete S

Mary Nolan takes cop money.

raktajino
Guest
raktajino

That’s the clincher for me as well. Nolan’s background is more impressive, and people I trust like her professionally. The police union endorsement and donation is a huge blemish, and probably a dealbreaker given that Smith is a worthwhile alternative.

maxD
Guest
maxD

Why is taking money from the Police Union a deal-breaker or a blemish. I listened to the Mapps/Eudaly debate last night and Eudaly was saying the same thing. The police union is undeniably part of the problem, but I think they could be instrumental to future change. Mapps and Nolan have demonstrated a willingness to talk and connect with Police, that seems very useful for someone who be actively working with them to change their jobs/roles and work culture. The people we are electing will be representing the community at large, and that includes the police. Being baldly confrontational seems counterproductive.

raktajino
Guest
raktajino

Do some reading about correlations between police union strength/political power and the degree to which police are held accountable.

A politician doesn’t have to take money from an org in order to work with them in the future. What would your reaction be if a candidate was taking money from the oil or auto industry/affiliated union?

For me, who a candidate takes money from reflects on their values. If they take money from an organization whose values they don’t strongly share, can voters trust them to act on those values when dealing with that donor?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

They both look like talented individuals who have different strengths. My own personal sentiment is to lean towards the individual with more of a transportation planning background but I think we will be well served with either candidate.

Anon
Guest
Anon

Chris Smith 100%. Nolan is an establishment Democrat who will be beholden to her donors. Smith is passionate about transportation and livability issues, and I trust him to do the right thing.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Smith is the kind of pro-transit wonk we need at Metro.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I’ve met them both over the years, but I know Chris better from his long and successful advocacy on the Portland Streetcar and his bicycle advocacy. Until now I had no idea that both were educated at expensive elite Northeastern colleges and universities, but I guess that’s neither here nor there. If I was still a Portland voter, I have nothing against Mary, but I’d vote for Chris.

Kcommentee
Guest
Kcommentee

I know it’s very envogue to rail against ‘elites’, but I wouldn’t read too much into ‘elite NE college’ as some stand in for an elite background. I transferred to an ‘elite NE college’ my sophomore year because the college was need blind and committed to meeting financial need 100% as identified by the FAFSA. I was able to attend that college more cheaply than my in-state tuition at Univ of Oregon. I worked and still graduated with loans, but less than I would have id I had at stayed at UO.

Re: this race, I’m please to see two very good candidates that I would be happy to vote for. If only I should shift one of them to our other major race

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Thank you for the clarification on colleges – mine were all mid-grade state universities, including UO and PSU. I too wish all political races had such good qualified candidates to choose from this year – I’m still undecided and probably will still be when I vote at my polling station on November 3rd, with coins to flip.

raktajino
Guest
raktajino

Seconding. I went to Reed and have WAY less undergrad debt than my sister, who went to WWU in-state. Private colleges can have higher endowments and greater ability to meet financial need.

one
Guest

I’m voting for Chris Smith (But I would have liked to have Cameron Whitten be our Metro rep.)

Also very important: Vote Sarah Iannarone for mayor!
https://sarah2020.com/en/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Veera
Guest
Veera

Write in Teressa Raiford for Portland Mayor!

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

I’ve been acquainted with Chris for years. If you care about achieving a multi-modal transportation system throughout the region, Chris is your only choice. He will bring additional insight and knowledge to the Metro Council, and he has the passion about the issue to help further push Metro towards its stated values, goals and objectives.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

For anyone who cares about any or all of the following:

1. climate change
2. active transportation
3. affordable housing

Chris Smith is, hands-down, the better choice.

Watch them debate this evening live at 5:30 PM, or on the City Club Youtube Channel anytime after the debate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyoGZ8BswTQ&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=CityClubofPortland

Timur Ender
Guest
Timur Ender

A vote for Chris Smith is a vote for our kids and planet’s future. Chris is the climate champion we need, ensuring housing, transit, and land use is sustainable 20-50 years from now. We are lucky to have such a strong climate advocate like Chris on the ballot!

Zach
Guest
Zach

Chris rocks. And he supports protected bike lanes on Hawthorne – that’s all you need to know 🙂 https://twitter.com/chrissmithus/status/1256963829730127872

CA
Guest
CA

Chris supports the Metro transportation measure which would spend $7b and will have no effect on climate change according to Metro’s data. It’s very difficult to support a candidate that hypocritical and who is willing to spend so much money to accomplish nothing in terms of climate change (greatest challenge of our time!). He should have taken a principled stand and disavowed the measure.

Mary Nolan (who also supports the measure, ugh) at least has a long record of getting things done in Salem.

Chris Smith
Guest

You can read my logic for supporting the measure here: https://chrisformetro.com/campaign-updates/lets-get-moving

CA
Guest
CA

Read it already. Sounds like an apologist twisting themselves in knots rather than taking a principled position. BIPOC is getting crumbs (maybe slightly larger crumbs), but I realize you’re trying to get elected.

You should read Joe’s again (I know you’ve seen it already): https://cityobservatory.org/the-case-against-metros-5-billion-transportation-bond/

Now there is someone who is looking at the data and making a call based on facts.

Anon
Guest
Anon

So it’s clear what measure you’re referring to:

“Measure 26-218 (Get Moving 2020) would fund safety, transit and other transportation projects in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.”

https://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/get-moving-2020

doug B
Guest
doug B

A few years back I took a urban planning class at PSU (as a non-trad student), one of the assignments was to attend a Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission meeting. I came away from that meeting thinking Portland was in good hands if Chris Smith has any say in what happens with the future of the Portland area. I have always hoped he would he would run for some type of elected office. He will definitely have my vote.

Ted Labbe
Guest
Ted Labbe

Chris Smith has my vote. He is the obvious choice.

I am nervous about Mary Nolan’s many establishment, and deep-pocketed donors. And I am really unimpressed with Mary’s record of accomplishments in her long political career.

Chris is so well-spoken and has demonstrated that he knows how to get things done. His service on the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission shows he knows how to work with folks who may disagree and find workable solutions.

roberta
Guest

Mary Nolan was the candidate the state level democratic elite scraped together at the last minute to defeat the #nomorefreeways coallition at the regional level. It’s not going to work and neither are their freeway widenings. While I can appreciate Nolan’s activism on feminism, her uninformed and quick approval of freeway widening means she doesn’t have the transport chops to lead regional congestion improvements. Nor has she read the newspapers in Portland. How can she miss widespread freeway criticism? Because she’s not running to listen to her electorate, she’s there to toe the party line. And that’s how she got all the funding for her campaign. Chris had to fund raise the hard way.

Chris is a swell guy, he has put in his time, and has run a very good campaign. I have every confidence he will make a GREAT councilor. He listens and shows up.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

My vote is with Chris.

Not voting for the $5,000,000,000 transportation package though. I’m not voting for anything that provides more infrastructure to privately owned motor vehicles or airlines.

JR
Guest
JR

I don’t get this. The critics of the measure say it’s not doing anything for cars, so now it is? Almost all the money goes to retrofitting derelict highways for ped and bike safety and transit improvements. There might be a project or two on the westside that grade separates a rail crossing or something to that effect, but that’s a very tiny bite of the apple. I’d rather not sacrifice something good for the unachievable perfect.

As for Mary vs. Chris, I think they are both decent candidates. Chris seems to have more street cred from a transit, bike and pedestrian perspective though. He ran a transportation blog for the longest time (not sure if it’s still around). I haven’t totally seen eye to eye with Chris – he didn’t support removing parking requirements on corridors with good peak period transit service – but he has a good grasp on transportation issues in general. I don’t know much about Mary other than some folks on here are dismissing her as establishment. After four years of anti-establishment national politics, I don’t give that argument much credence anymore.

Chris Smith
Guest

JR, good to hear from you.

I’m afraid the blog was a casualty of putting my time into the Planning and Sustainability Commission. The good news is that during my decade on the PSC we’ve removed almost all parking minimums in Portland!

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I am SO excited to vote for Chris Smith for Metro. Its rare that you get an opportunity to elect a true activist and advocate that is perfectly suited for their postion into public office. Portland area- this is our chance! Lets elect Chris who has beyond proven his committment to a better Portland for all. He is a climate leader, an advocate for affordable housing, and an advocate for transportation justice. Let’s get Chris in that Metro seat!!! 🙂

Jason McHuff
Guest

For anyone not sold on Chris, check out his civic resume and the many committees he’s served on regarding transportation and land use planning (core functions of Metro) https://chrisformetro.com/meet-chris

In addition, he’s the one who inspired 3rd-party transit apps http://www.rosecitytransit.org/files/chrissmith.wmv

Mary isn’t bad, she’s just an average establishment politician

Matt
Guest
Matt

I can’t imagine a better candidate for regular readers of this website than Chris Smith. As the first comment noted, he has a long and consistent record of advocacy for bike/ped/transit issues. A no brainer for me.

Courtney Veed
Guest
Courtney Veed

I actually would like this one deleted as I have another one posted shortly after that better articulates my concerns that only 2 or 6 or 7 people running are on my ballot

Courtney Veed
Guest
Courtney Veed

Why are there only these 2 people on the ballot when there are more people running for this office? It’s not fair to the people who don’t have the money to campaign for themselves or have to work for a living still to be excluded from the ballot… it makes it look like only 2 people are running. I can find bios on these individuals 2 are colored and one is a women of color. I only found this out when I didn’t know anything about the 2 people that were running. so I googled it and then I found there’s like a dozen or so people running for the different offices (mostly people of color btw, also I a white female just wondering in general why all elections feel racist exclusion looks racist even if it is not meant to be and it is almost always unfair) and for this one specifically there’s 3 other people maybe 4.

I have very strong feelings about the candidates or the people who are on the ballot, are they supporting the exclusion? How did they get to be on the ballot? If I was running I would want all names then I knew I won’t because people thought i was the best. They do want us to vote for them off of their morals and their value so would integrity and inclusion be among them?
.
I don’t know if I could vote for either one of them until I now their answer to this question. Let’s say that Chris is the one I wanted to vote for, i say his name because i see him on here active responding, i don’t think i could if i don’t see the holistic view just off principal. I’m naive this is new to me I’m from California so if anybody has any insight to help me i would like to turn my ballot in.

Chris Smith
Guest

Courtney, there were five of us in the primary (all folks who could do the job in my view). As non-partisan offices, the way Metro elections work is that if no one gets 50%+1 in the primary, the top two vote getters run off in the November election.