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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Oregon Politics: Val Hoyle, Margi Hoffmann, Gas Tax

Friday, January 16, 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.


House Democratic Leader Val Hoyle

When the legislature convened on Monday morning, rules prohibiting campaign contributions kicked in. The week leading up to the start was a banner one for legislators. House Democratic Leader Val Hoyle was the big winner, raising almost double that of Speaker of the House Tina Kotek. Her counterpart in the Senate, Diane Rosenbaum, raised just $30,000.  Hoyle? The legislature’s newest rainmaker raked in in more than $80,000 in donations, including $15,000 from the Low Income Dental PAC. Wowza.

Amy Margolis

Amy Margolis is a criminal defense lawyer by trade but she’s stumbled into a new area with an even faster growing customer base: marijuana. After representing growers in the court room, the one-time lobbyist saw the need for them to have a voice in the political process and began the Oregon Cannabis Growers PAC (political action committee). 

Since its formation this past spring, Amy has led the PAC to become one of the key players in making sure the state implements legal weed correctly. Arguably the most influential PAC in the marijuana movement in Oregon today, the group has hired a lobbyist and peppered elected officials with over $10,000 in campaign contributions in recent days. Looks like they have earned a seat at the table as the state implements last year’s measure to legalize ganja.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

Last week I noted that potential mayoral candidates might already be considering a run, despite the Mayor giving no signals he may be planning to walk. It was noted that my former employer Congressman Earl Blumenauer would be likely candidate should there be an easy target. One of Blumenauer’s main areas of interest is transportation and the current Mayor delegated transportation and it has since been fumbled so maybe he might be interested, but I think it’s far-fetched. Far-fetched but a fun idea. Oh, and meanwhile, sources say that Hizhonor is of course planning to run again.

Sam Adams

One political insider ripped me for not including former Mayor Sam Adams as a prospective future Mayoral candidate.  Adams, decided against running for a second term and took a job with the Portland City Club, signaling he would not soon fade into the background. In a story first reported by GoLocalPDX this week he announced a big new job on the East Coast. Don’t worry, he’s not giving up his Portland residency, leaving political watchers to wonder if he will consider an encore performance someday. 

Marcus Mariota

On Monday night this week in his final college game and the first ever College Football Playoff Championship (the king is dead; long live the king!) Oregon Ducks Quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a rare loss. Yet he is red hot. 

The type of attention that a world class program also comes with dollars that help the entire system of higher education. We should be lucky to have such a nice player be an ambassador for our fair state. He announced that he would be going pro not even two days later. Of course he should.


Margi Hoffmann

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber enters his fourth term with the largest Democratic majority in the legislature that any previous session. One would assume that his priorities would be met with some enthusiasm. Nah. 

This week, according to a Capitol insider, Margi Hoffman, the Governor’s Energy Policy Advisor “got brutalized at the Association of Oregon Counties” when she presented on the low carbon fuel standard. Getting excoriated by a group of elected officials is never fun. Ouchie. It’s going to be a long session for the staff on the front lines.

Gas Tax

Selected as a compromise to a Democrat/Republican tied Senate in 2003, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney has gone on to be the longest serving presiding officer in the history of the Oregon legislature (by comparison, he has served alongside 7 House Speakers!). When all the votes were counted, he had 18 Democrats out of 30 in the Oregon State Senate. Should be easy for him to get some key Democratic priorities passed, right? Especially a gas tax since prices are at record lows? Not so much. Courtney told a group of legislators and staffers this week he didn’t have 18 votes. Yes folks, Betsy Johnson still matters.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

Just days after learning the FBI was investigating Cylvia Hayes, John Kitzhaber was sworn into his fourth term as Oregon’s Governor on Monday. On Tuesday, he announced he had been diagnosed with mild form of skin cancer. The same day it was revealed he fired the volunteer Transportation Commission Chair who didn’t go quietly. To cap the week off he hired private attorneys for himself and the First Lady. Unfortunately, those attorneys already reap windfall profits representing the state. Whew. About this point, I wonder if the Gov is looking for another job yet.

Portland Cabbies

This week Portland Cabbies finally responded to Uber’s foray into their long protected turf. They formed an alliance. It might be a day late and a dollar short, though. Their limited availability has been highlighted by the instant demand for Uber. Their first attempt to raise awareness? Making cabs even less available for a while. It might be time already be time for them to find a new public relations firm. Their first incursion in this war was a rather tone deaf.

Have any suggestion for who is hot or who is not? Email them to me at [email protected].

Jesse is an East Portland resident, political junkie, snowboard fanatic, and former pub owner.


Related Slideshow: Timeline of Sam Adams’ Political Career

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Adams & Peter DeFazio

Sam Adams began his political career in 1986 working as a staffer for Peter DeFazio's campaign for the House of Representatives in Oregon's 4th district. DeFazio won and still holds the position today. 

Photo: Peter DeFazio via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams & Vera Katz

Adams went on to work for Vera Katz's mayoral campaign. After Katz won and was elected mayor, he served as her chief of staff for 11 years. 

Photo: Vera Katz via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams Defeats Nick Fish

In 2004 Adams ran against city commissioner Nick Fish for a seat on the Portland City Council. Although Adams received significantly fewer votes than Fish in the primary election, he ultimately defeated Fish in the general election. 

Photo: Nick Fish via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams Runs for Mayor

In Oct. 2007 Adams announced his plans to run for Portland Mayor. His main opponent was Sho Dozono, a civic leader and businessman.

In the primary election, Adams received 58 percent of the vote and was elected without the need for a run-off. Dozono received 34 percent of the vote.

Photo by Byron Beck 

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First Openly Gay Mayor

When Adams took office on Jan. 1, 2009, Portland became the largest U.S. city to have ever elected an openly gay mayor.

During his inaugural speech he announced his top three priorities as mayor: creating more family-wage jobs, reducing the high school dropout rate, and making Portland more sustainable.

Photo: Sam Adams via Wikimedia CC. 

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Beau Breedlove Scandal

In 2005, Adams met Beau Breedlove, a 17-year-old interning for Oregon State Representative Kim Thatcher. 

In September 2007, Adams denied rumors of a sexual relationship between the two, but in January 2009, after being confronted publicly with the allegations, Adams admitted that he lied about the nature of their sexual relationship to avoid allegations and the disruption of his mayoral campaign.

A criminal investigation on Adams ensued but by June 2009, Attorney General John Kroger announced that no charges would be filed and that there was "no credible evidence" that Adams had inappropriate sexual contact with Breedlove before the age of consent.

Photo: Sam Adams and Beau Breedlove by Byron Beck 

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Achievements as Mayor

As mayor, Adams had a number of achievements:

  • Established curbside composting.
  • Banned single-use plastic bags.
  • Adopted a transgender-inclusive health plan for city employees.
  • Invested $340 million in the city's infrastructure, including a lead City investment to replace the Sellwood Bridge.
  • Recruited several TV and movie companies to do business and spend about $100 million on production in Portland.
  • Established a $2.1 million seed fund to help start-up businesses in Portland.
  • Cracked down on gangs with a 14-month police undercover operation that resulted in the arrests of 31 gang members.

Photo by Byron Beck 

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Adams Goes to City Club

Just 16 days after the end of his term as mayor of Portland, Sam Adams was hired as executive director of the City Club of Portland, a non-profit organization best known as the host of public civic policy meetings.

Adams was selected from a pool of 80 applicants for the position.

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Adams' TV Roles

Adams has had a recurring role on the IFC show Portlandia as assistant to Portland's fictional mayor, played by Kyle MacLachlan. He also appeared as himself in "The Hour of Death", a 2012 episode of the Portland-based NBC show GRIMM.

When asked what he thinks should happen with his role on the show he said he thinks it's time to kill off his character. 

"I think a funny but fatal accident should kill off the mayor's assistant or maybe he should be abducted by aliens and taken to a secret base in Vancouver, Washington." 

Photo: Adams (top left) on Portlandia via tvguide.com

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New Job in D.C.

Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams plans to leave his position as the executive director of the City Club of Portland for a new job based in Washington, D.C.  

Adams has been hired as director of U.S. Climate Initiatives at the World Resources Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to environmental sustainability. 


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