Portland school board race draws newcomers
Three of seven seats on the Portland Public Schools Board of Education will be up for election this May. The filing deadline for the May special election is Thursday, March 18. To date, only one incumbent has filed for reelection.
Current board member Julia Brim-Edwards is running again for Zone 6, which represents Southeast Portland. Challenger Matthew (Max) Margolis, who currently works as a reading tutor and lists a background in nonprofit management and youth program development, also has filed to run for the Zone 6 seat.
In a campaign statement sent to local media, Brim-Edwards emphasized that she would offer "experienced leadership on the School Board to re-open schools safely for students and staff, as well as identify and provide supports for students to make up and accelerate academic gains following the pandemic year." Brim-Edwards said the district needs continued board leadership "to support more equitable outcomes for students of color, special education and emerging multilingual students, as well as bolster confidence in public schools after significant pandemic-related enrollment drops."
In Northeast Portland's Zone 5, one person — Gary Hollands — had filed for the seat as of Thursday, March 11. Another candidate filed but withdrew candidacy, citing a conflicting work travel schedule. Hollands owns Hollands Investment Group Inc. and NESW Transport, a Portland-based trucking company, according to election paperwork on file. Hollands also serves on the board of the Albina Sports Program. He is married to a school district employee, Aisha Hollands, who serves as PPS's director of diversity and workforce development.
Scott Bailey currently serves as the PPS board director for Zone 5. As of Thursday, Bailey had not filed for reelection.
In Zone 4, which represents North Portland, incumbent Rita Moore had not filed for reelection. Four candidates were vying for the seat as of Friday, March 12. If elected, Brooklyn Sherman, a 2020 Jefferson High School graduate now attending college in Portland, would be the youngest member on the board.
Also running for Zone 4 is Margo Logan, who previously challenged Tina Kotek to represent District 44 in Oregon's House of Representative but lost the November 2020 election. Logan cites a career in child and family services, having worked in several Oregon and Washington schools as aides.
When reached by phone Thursday, Logan said she fears children aren't protected in schools from unruly students or predators and said school sites should be open to students, sans masks. "I feel like I have a really deep background dealing with governmental kinds of stuff and regulations and rules and cobbled with a big concern for protecting our kids," Logan said.
During her 2020 run for state office, Logan included a peculiar phrase in a voters guide.
"We go one we go all. Constitution," the candidate's statement read. The "we go one..." phrase is associated with far-right conspiracy theory movement QAnon.
Logan denied having any affiliation with "Q" but also said she's unsure about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.
When asked about the pandemic and challenges facing Portland schools, Logan called COVID-19 a "non-emergency." As of Friday, the coronavirus had resulted in more than 158,000 cases in Oregon and 2,316 deaths.
Logan also voiced concern over the psychological impacts of the pandemic on students and the challenges that lie ahead for teachers.
"I don't think all these teachers are concerned about COVID, I think they're concerned about what is this dynamic of managing kids who are supposed to wear masks?" Logan said. "How many kids are coming back that are emotionally traumatized?"
Erin Michele Brown, a homeless shelter coordinator, is also running for the North Portland zone. Brown lists a background in case management for homeless youth and families.
Anna Metnick, a human resources director for nonprofit Food Corps Inc., is also running for the seat.
Multnomah County voters will be asked to elect candidates to multiple education board seats this spring, including seats on the Portland Community College Board, the Multnomah Education Service District board and, to the east, the Reynolds School District Board of Directors, where only one candidate has filed for four open seats on the board.
This story has been updated with new reporting to note additional candidate filings.
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