Sources Say: Race for Saltzman's council seat heats up
Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith has retained Hilltop Public Solution to manage her campaign for the City Council seat being vacated by Commissioner Dan Saltzman. The consulting firm previously managed Ted Wheeler's successful 2016 campaign for mayor, former Commissioner Steve Novick's unsuccessful 2016 race, and Commissioner Nick Fish's successful 2014 re-election campaign. It also is working on Fish's curent re-election campaign.
But Smith cannot officially enter the race until January without losing her spot on the county commission. Two other candidates already have filed. They are NAACP of Portland President Jo Ann Hardesty, whose campaign was temporarily being assisted by Hannah Howell, and Downtown Neighborhood Association Chair Felicia Williams, who has not yet reported paying a campaign manager.
Political promises to reduce homelessness are proving hard to keep
When Portland, Gresham and Multnomah County officials created A Home for Everyone two years ago, they said the additional money it received would be used to cut the number of homeless in half by 2019. Instead, the number of people without permanent housing increased from 3,801 in 2015 to 4,177 this year, according to the most recent homeless count.
Now, in a memo released last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler is backing off his campaign promise to ensure a safe space for everyone to sleep by the end of his second year in office. He said the city and county only needs to fund 1,800 emergency shelter beds and put the rest of its efforts toward creating more permanent affordable housing — which takes many years to build.
"While we continue to focus on the short-term challenges to ensure that shelter is available for those who want and need it, we need to begin planning in earnest for strategies that will lead to sustained success over the long-term," Wheeler said in a memo sent to the City Council, county commission and others.
Peterson's name high on politicians' "it" list
If politicians were the only ones who voted, former Clackamas County Commission Chair Lynn Peterson would easily be Metro president next year. When she filed for the office last week, her news release listed just about every current and former elected official in the region as supporting her. About the only one missing was Metro Councilor Sam Chase, who is considering running for the office or for Commissioner Dan Saltzman's seat on the City Council.
If Peterson is elected, she will be the second president in a row who has not previously served on the Metro Council. Incumbent Tom Hughes, who is term-limited out of a third term, previously was the mayor of Hillsboro. He was preceded by David Bragdon, who served on the council before being elected president in 2008. Both have endorsed Peterson.
Despite not serving on the council before, Peterson strongly supported Metro's land-use planning policies as Clackamas County chair and while serving as a transportation policy adviser to former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.