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Open seat on regional government drew five candidates, none holding a majority in early Election Night returns.

Former state Rep. Mary Nolan seems to be headed to a runoff for a seat on the Metro council. But she may wait a while to find out who her opponent is.NOLAN

Early results Tuesday showed Nolan with 36% of the vote in a hotly contested five-way race.

She was followed by Chris Smith, who had 22% of the vote and Cameron Whitten, with 19% of the vote. Karen Spencer was garnering 15% of the vote in early returns, while Mary Peveto had 8%.

If no candidate gets more than 50%, the top two will appear on the November ballot.

The seat on the seven-member regional government is being vacated by Sam Chase, who ran to fill the unexpired term of the late Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.

Nolan, a Chicago native, was in the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth and graduated with a degree in math. After serving as Wall Street banker, she ran two of the city of Portland's biggest bureaus, public works and environmental services, from 1986 to 1990. She then left public employment to cofound a Hillsboro company specializing in custom engineering for the airline industry.

In 2000, she jumped back into public life after winning an Oregon House seat. She rose through the ranks of the Oregon Legislature, serving as House Majority Leader from 2009-11, before leaving Salem in 2013.

After an unsuccessful bid for the Portland City Council — she lost in November 2012 runoff with Amanda Fritz — Nolan went on to serve in leadership positions with a pair of non-profits, FamilyCare Health Plans and Planned Parenthood.

Smith, a longtime transportation activist and blogger, is a member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission and has served on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee.

Whitten made his second run for office in this race. He first ran at the age of 20 in a losing 2012 bid to become Portland mayor. He now serves as executive director of Q Center, where he is a champion for LGBTQ+ rights. He also is the founder of Brown Hope, focused on highlighting racial disparities in the region.

Spencer spent 15 years at Nike and became one of the highest-ranking African American women at the company. A graduate of MIT and the Harvard Law School, she has served on a variety of boards and advisory bodies, from the Oregon Youth Development Council and Portland Parks Foundation to the Portland Business Alliance and Metro' own grant review committee.

Peveto has been an effective advocate for cleaning up the regional airshed in her role as founder and director of Neighbors for Clean Air. The former Nike and Adidas manager backs up her environmental activism with data and a relentlessness that would serve her well at Metro.

The regional government, serving the urban portions of Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, has a wide array of oversight, including solid waste, the Oregon Zoo and Expo Center, and the urban growth boundary, the imaginary line around Portland's suburbs, beyond which urban-style development is prohibited.


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