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Carr's net goal: Oregon governor

On Sports


TIM CARRTim Carr is a story-teller and a talker, but he is also a listener.

Carr has a résumé that includes decades in business, but he has no experience at all in politics.

Maybe that’s all the more reason why Carr, 55, is an intriguing candidate for governor.

The Portlander is one of a half-dozen Republicans who have filed for next month’s primary election, and the only one from the metropolitan area.

“I have to be the one to save the Republican party,” Carr says.

Not sure about that, but he might wind up being the right candidate to battle incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber in the fall election.

A political novice is always fighting an uphill battle, and especially in this state as a member of the Republican Party. A Republican hasn’t won a statewide race in Oregon since Senator Gordon Smith was re-elected in 2002. A Republican hasn’t been elected governor since Victor Atiyeh was re-elected in 1982.

Republican Chris Dudley, political novice virtuoso, nearly scaled the mountain before losing a very close gubernatorial race to Kitzhaber in 2010. Now comes Carr, who doesn’t have near the name recognition as former Trail Blazer Dudley but shares an athletic background and the belief that sports can be an important part of the fabric of a community.

Carr was a standout tennis player as a junior, ranked No. 1 in singles in the Northwest from ages 12 to 18 and a major contributor to a Jesuit High team that won four straight state championships from 1973-76. He played one season at the University of Portland before getting his degree from Portland State in political science and business, and worked six years as a tennis pro at Eastmoreland Racquet Club.

If Carr is elected, sports fans have an ally. He is a proponent of construction of a stadium that could lure major-league baseball to Portland, and likes the idea of seeking a major contribution from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

If you remember, the tribes offered $350 million to help build a stadium in 2003 in exchange for being allowed to put a casino in the Portland area. Then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski turned them down cold.

Carr believes now is the time to take the tribes up on their offer, and likes friend Brian Parrott’s idea to have a floating casino on the Columbia River as long as Portland gets a percentage of the action. Carr feels a major league franchise would be beneficial to the area in many ways.

“It would help downtown Portland economically,” Carr says. “It would attract people and provide entertainment dollars. Restaurants would be humming. We can do some things that would be fantastic. A lot of the cities around the country would go, ‘Portland really knows what it’s doing.’ ”

Beyond that, it would be great for the area’s psyche, says Carr, a Trail Blazer fan who attends several games a year.

“Major-league sports bring a community together,” he says. “Look at the popularity of the Timbers. And it’s the entire state that gets behind the Blazers. We can handle a major-league baseball team here.”

The Seattle Mariners draw a percentage of their fans from Oregon and claim major-league territorials rights. Carr chafes at the notion.

“Who cares about that?” he says. “There are enough fans in Washington to support the Mariners. To heck with Seattle. Let’s talk about our state.”

After surviving a heart attack (brought on by type 2 diabetes) and January 2013 open-heart surgery, the 6-foot Carr has dropped his weight from 270 to 205. He works out regularly at the Multnomah Athletic Club, walks five miles a day, is playing a little tennis again and feel he is physically up to the rigors the governor’s office demands.

“I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a long time,” he says.

Carr has held a variety of jobs through his three decades of professional life. He headed sales for a start-up company, Racor Sports Storage; worked for Rikus, which sold bottles to wineries in the Northwest; was vice president of DePaul Industries, a company designed to find jobs for people with disabilities, and until recently served as CEO of CoSource USA, which supplies truck parts to such companies as Freightliner.

“I’ll be a very good governor because I understand business and the fiscal issues,” says Carr, who has two children with his wife of 33 years, Rosana.

He endorses a major adjustment to PERS.

“The guys who will fight me are legislators — 75 percent of them are Democrats,” he says. “If I can’t get them to come over, we’re doomed. PERS will bankrupt this state. The stock market isn’t going to be up high forever.”

Carr says thumbs down on the Columbia River Crossing — “there is nothing we can do until the state of Washington joins us,” he says — and suggests “using another state’s software” to fix Cover Oregon. “All the other states’ operations systems are working. It’s the fastest and most affordable way to get it operational.”

He is for the legalization of marijuana to provide tax money and increase employment, and believes there is potential for industrial hemp to become a major source of revenue, especially in southern Oregon.

“It’s used for such things as clothing, pharmaceutical products, detergents and all types of industrial items,” he says. “It can help us alleviate economic issues.”

Carr has a special place in his heart for the needy, given his father’s role in starting Portland’s Blanchet House more than 60 years ago.

“We need to do more for our homeless,” he says.

Carr is a proponent of setting up a tax structure similar to Washington’s, with no income tax.

“A lot of changes need to be made,” he says. “It’s time for Kitzhaber to go.”

Carr describes himself as a moderate Republican.

“Many of my friends are moderate Republicans,” he says. “A couple of them are staunch Republicans, but I have a lot of friends who are Democrats, too.”

He has spent the past few weeks knocking on doors of businesses through cities such as Hillsboro, Beaverton and Lake Oswego.

“I’m doing it the old-fashioned way,” he says. “I need to get the word out to the public, but I’m playing catch-up.”

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Twitter: @kerryeggers