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Oregon Politics: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Friday, September 26, 2014


Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral via Compfight cc

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.


John McCain: The Arizona senator is coming to Portland on Oct 2 to headline a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby. Wehby could use the boost, especially from someone who’s been in the limelight recently on a national level (McCain has been particularly vocal lately on the administration’s foreign policy). Like him or not, McCain is bringing the heat.

Charlie Hales: Mayor Hales voiced his support on Tuesday for Francisco Aguirre. Aguirre is a local labor activist who was involved in the Workers’ Organizing Committee that founded Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project. Originally from El Salvador, Aguirre took refuge Friday at church in Portland to avoid deportation.Way to take a stand, Mr. Mayor. 

Jason Levin: The Pacific Green Party gubernatorial candidate crashed the Kitzhaber-Richardson debate, the first joint appearance by the two candidates. He made some good points too, including the huge sums of money raised by the two primary candidates for TV ads.

“That money comes with strings attached,” he said. “ I have no strings attached when it comes to working for the People of Oregon.”

Yes on 91: The campaign working to legalize marijuana in Oregon is on a roll. Last week it reported that Rick Steves, international travel guru, was coming to town to stump for the cause. This week the campaign announced they received the endorsement of Kris Olsen, Oregon’s former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state. On top of that, they got a nod of approval from The Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans and the Oregon Council for Retired Citizens, both of which have endorsed the measure.

Portland: Time to be proud, Portlanders. Portland was among 10 cities worldwide cited for its work on climate change at a ceremony in New York. The awards were created by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group. Portland won the “Sustainable Communities Award” because of its success in creating walkable neighborhoods linked to affordable transit, said Mayor Charlie Hales.

Foreclosure Avoidance: A big win at the legislature for The Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program occurred when additional funding was approved to meet demand for counseling services for families going through the foreclosure process. The $659,300 approved by the Legislature’s Emergency Board will hopefully tie the program over until the legislature meets again in regular session next year.

Why is this hot? Because counseling services during the mediation process between homeowners and mortgage servicers are essential to keep Oregon on a path to economic recovery by ensuring more people can stay in their homes. 


Joe Biden: The vice president is coming to Portland to stump for U.S. Sen. Merkley’s campaign Oct 8, two days after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits Eugene. Biden may have presidential ambitions and his visit will probably get some Oregonians excited, but a recent bout of public speaking gaffes has raised some eyebrows.

The Washington Post points up the veep’s “poor choice of words,” including when he referred to lenders preying on members of the military as “Shylocks” and a man named Lee Kuan Yew as “the wisest man in the Orient.” 

Merkley-Wehby Ads: The senatorial campaigns released new TV ads this week: Wehby hits Merkley on equal pay; Merkley talks about college loans. Neither ad is particularly compelling. Which may well be a reflection of this senate seat race. 

Cover Oregon: Yep, Cover Oregon made the “Not Hot” list again. Apparently the number of people affected by tax credit errors was much higher than originally thought. This may mean that they owe more money at tax time. 

Phil Knight: In the last gubernatorial election Night gave $400,000 to Kitzhaber’s Republican opponent, Chris Dudley. He just gave $250,000 to support Kitzhaber’s reelection.

Why the change in the wind? The governor’s special legislative session in 2012, in which Nike was guaranteed certain tax incentives before expanding its Oregon facilities, might explain why. No thanks for your undue influence, Mr. Knight. 

Aelea Christofferson: It seems the Democratic candidate for Oregon’s 2nd congressional district is in for a tough campaign. Her opponent, Republican Rep. Greg Walden, is the incumbent and is quite popular in his district, which includes virtually all of Eastern Oregon. Christofferson, a political newbie with little cash and name recognition, will need to make some more airwaves if she is to seriously contend with Walden. Jeff Mapes provides a good analysis of the campaign so far.

Gus Wendel is a writer, organizer, and musician. Originally from Eastern Oregon, he now resides in Portland.


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