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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Oregon Politics: Bruce McCain, Jonathan Maus, Vaping

Friday, March 06, 2015


Every Friday, GoLocalPDX breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Oregon politics. Check out who made the lists this week.


Bruce McCain

Bruce McCain is a Portland lawyer and retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Captain. In 2010 Bruce’s star rose when shortly after his retirement from the Sheriff’s Office, they led the (still open) investigation into the disappearance of Kyron Horman. With deep insight into the agency, Bruce seemed very comfortable on local and national news channels discussing the investigation. He is also a regular on KXL.

In 2011, McCain won a spot in the Reynolds School Board. Currently the Chair and running for re-election, McCain was recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that is inoperable. This Tuesday, on his 60th birthday no less, he started treatment. He plans on running for a new term and is simultaneously campaigning for a bond for the school district, both on the May ballot. While everyone hopes he will prevail in his greatest battle, Bruce is making sure his final days are spent fighting for students’ future. That takes a lot of courage. 

State Representative Jennifer Williamson

During the short legislative session last year, the bill that ended up surprising many by getting traction was to direct unclaimed class action lawsuit funds to a cause other than back to the defendant. Basically, if a company loses a $500 million case and $100 million doesn’t get claimed, it goes back to the person who committed the offense worthy of a half a billion dollar settlement. Representative Jennifer Williamson, then still a freshman legislator, introduced a bill to remedy this once and for all. While it narrowly failed in 2014 it was at the top of the agenda for the current session. This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law, her first as Governor.

Washington Republicans

In barely six weeks, gas prices have gone up over .75 cents since the recent lows. There are no protests in the streets. There is seemingly little notice or bother that big oil is suddenly back taking a bigger portion of our checks. Meanwhile, not a cent of increase will go to pay for our roads in Oregon because you cannot get an 18th Senator to support it. With a Democratic Senate President casting doubt on the ability to pass a gas tax, the focus during the session has been on The Cylvia Hayes Clean Fuels Act of 2015. It passed despite her departure from state government.

Meanwhile, in the Republican led Washington State Senate, a massive transportation package just passed, with a nearly .12 cent gas tax increased included. It has yet to pass the House but seems likely to. The contrast could not be starker with Washington choosing to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure and Oregon having thrown in the white towel before the match even started.

PCC Zone 3

A few weeks ago we wrote about the importance of running for open school board seats, given the immense amount of public resources spent. Many of those races have started to see candidates. That’s good news. One of note is Portland Community College Zone 3. The incumbent, Courtney Wilton, was appointed to fill out the end of a prior term and is running for the seat now. Also running are community activist Anita Yap and a long time PCC faculty member Michael Sonnleitner, who were the two other finalists for the appointment. Each has been actively fundraising and racking up endorsements at an impressive level meaning the incumbent could be in trouble. This promises to be an interesting race on a normally staid ballot.


Jonathan Maus

When a state legislator introduced a bill to require bike riders wear reflective clothing, this was one of Jonathan Maus, editor of Bikeportland.org’s many tweets:

With just shy of 20,000 followers, you would hope Maus would be more careful. Nope. This bill’s introduction is unrelated to the other referenced bill. If they were related, Maus’ assumption that a vote against raising this fine was a vote in support of texting and driving was a reckless leap at the very least. This isn’t Maus’ first rush to judgment that was wrong, but apparently he hasn’t learned his lesson.  To his credit, he later changed the tweet but not until several others had shared it and untold hundreds had seen it and had the idea firmly planted in their heads.

East Portland Activists

There is considerable discontent with the city from those who live on the eastern fringe, for good reason in many cases. Without first looking at ways to improve the focus on East Portland, a small, fringe group recently filed a petition recently to secede from Portland. The petition was quickly rejected since it was out of compliance with state law so with all the grace of a third grader, the sponsor promises to keep re-writing it until one gets accepted. They might consider reading the rules and laws. Of course that requires more work than tilting at windmills and getting every television station to visit you. Maybe they just need more naptime so they aren’t so cranky?


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A store front developed further nicotine addiction. The product sold is marketed as a safe replacement to smoking tobacco yet lacks scientific data proving such claim

Currently Oregon is one of only 9 states where minors can buy e-cigarettes, as they are also known. And anyone can smoke them at work, in bars or anywhere you want and everywhere cigarettes have been banned. There was a day the health benefits of smoking was promoted – like in the 70’s when tobacco companies talked up low birth weight as a positive for women who smoked during pregnancy. The science may well prove lower risk. Until it does, a bill passed by the Oregon House this week will bring e-cigarettes in line with normal ones. It goes on to the Senate. After passing the house 56-2, its chances are good.


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