Former Oregon House of Representatives candidate James Ball has announced his candidacy for the District 4 seat on the Metro Council.
The district represents much of Washington County in the Portland-area regional government, which handles land use and other regional issues. Metro also manages several recent bond measures to pay for affordable housing, homelessness services and parks.
Ball, a U.S. Army veteran who grew up in Bend and served three tours in Afghanistan, owns the Portland-based business ProLift Garage Doors.
In 2020, he lost an election bid by a wide margin in House District 36, which covers much of Southwest Portland. He was the Republican nominee but was defeated in the November election by Democrat Lisa Reynolds, who won over 80% of the vote.
Ball has since relocated from Portland to Hillsboro, according to his campaign finance filing on the Oregon secretary of state's website.
Although elections to the Metro Council are nonpartisan, Ball is a registered Republican. He has aligned himself with the more moderate wing of the party and voices support for immigrants and the LGBTQ community.
On his campaign website under the "fighting extremism" tab, he says that he has decided to keep his party affiliation during his campaign for the nonpartisan seat despite being advised to drop it.
"I haven't done it for one reason: influence," the website states.
Lower down in the page, Ball describes how he tried unsuccessfully to remove anti-trans language from the Oregon Republican Party's platform at a convention in 2019. He also says he successfully pushed this year to remove a policy goal to require all government business to be conducted in English.
"I am running for Metro Council because we need our local elected officials to work for all Oregonians, regardless of their political affiliation," Ball said in a statement announcing his candidacy on Monday, Nov. 8. "Between the ongoing pandemic, homeless crisis, and our aging transportation infrastructure — now, more than ever, we need leaders who can effectively leverage existing taxpayer dollars to build more affordable housing, invest in our local infrastructure and support small businesses."
Noting Metro's unique role dealing with a regional housing plan, environmental initiatives, transportation planning, and managing the Oregon Zoo and other amenities like Portland'5 Centers for the Arts, Ball said Metro needs to work constructively with all levels of government to make effective policy.
"Unfortunately, little has changed for the Westside of the Metro region in recent years," Ball continued. "While the 2018 affordable housing bond is finally getting units built, the vast majority are being built across the river. Washington County cannot afford to subsidize Multnomah County forever. It's time to take a more balanced approach to Metro's governance and invest in all the communities Metro governs."
District 4 is currently represented by Juan Carlos González, who announced last month he will seek re-election for the seat.
The election is set for May 2022.
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