beaver boundary

place, politics and power in oregon

Breaking: Mark Hass Appointed to Oregon Senate November 20, 2007

Filed under: Multnomah County,Oregon Senate,Washington County — taoiseach @ 4:12 pm

Breaking News

Mark HassThe Boards of Commissioners from Multnomah and Washington Counties, meeting jointly, have just appointed former representative Mark Hass to represent District 14 in the Oregon Senate. Hass will serve out the remaining term of former senator Ryan Deckert, who is now president of the centrist Oregon Business Association. Hass has also filed his candidacy for the Oregon Senate in the 2008 primary election.

Hass and 3 other candidates for the seat had been nominated by a Democratic Party convention representing area Democrats. The other candidates were Mike Bohan, Beaverton City Councilor Betty Bode, and Shantu Shah.

No word yet on how close the vote was to appoint Hass over the other three.

UPDATE: Kathleen Gorman of the Oregonian has a detailed rundown of the selection process, including the vote count:

Eight of the 10 commissioners voted for Hass during a 2 1/2-hour meeting at Beaverton City Hall. Washington County Commissioner Desari Strader abstained, citing her displeasure with the Legislature usurping local control on various issues. Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts was absent.

[. . .]

“I think you have the experience and that experience is going to speak volumes in the state,” Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers told Hass.

“In this particular case, experience matters,” Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler said by conference call before casting his vote.

For more background, see these previous Boundary posts:


Emerald Empire: Eugene Reclaims Second-Largest City Status

Filed under: Geography — taoiseach @ 2:33 pm

Kudos to the people of Eugene, who have once again saved the state of Oregon from relative embarrassment by reclaiming its status as the second-largest city from Salem. The populations of each city hover around 150,000, and the vibrantly crunchy Emerald City has just recently outpaced the drab and dull Cherry City in growth. This information is according to the Population Research Center at Portland State University (warning: Excel file) and comes courtesy of the Eugene-based Oregon Ecology blog.

Even if you prefer Salem for cultural or provincial reasons, you may root for a faster-growing Eugene if your politics are left-of-center. Of course, Eugene is a liberal haven that almost always supports Democrats (though its home county, Lane, is particularly against local taxes). All of the Eugene area‘s state representatives and senators (5 of the former, 3 of the latter), are Democrats, and future growth may mean more seats allocated to the Emerald City and its environs. By contrast, the Salem-Keizer area is served by 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats in the House, with 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat in the state House. Though the Salem area may be politically moderate, it consistently sends Republicans to the statehouse. Moreover, in contrast with the Eugene-Springfield area, Salem-Keizer seems to disproportionately claim a larger share of legislative district.

Should Eugene’s growth as the second-largest city continue apace until the 2010 census, the Democrats could hold out hope for a shift of one or two Salem-area districts further down I-5. Of course, this may make the Emerald districts more competitive for Republicans, but one would hope that the GOP would simultaneously lose their geographic advantage in Salem-Keizer.

But for now, the Boundary will take the consolation that Salem has been bumped down another notch among Oregon’s largest cities. Though, it should be said, even its status as third-largest city greatly overstates its prominence among Oregon’s cultural attractions.


Now Exiting Post-Election Dormancy November 16, 2007

Filed under: meta — taoiseach @ 5:29 pm

In case you missed it, the Boundary has been off on a post-election sabbatical after the close of the 2007 special election. Now that primary season has began its inexorable climb to May 2008, there’s no more delaying in store–and Beaver Boundary is slowly coming back to life with the detailed updates on which you may have come to depend.

But first, enjoy the weekend–forecasted to be a true rainy Oregon-style couple of days. See you on Monday…


(Not to steal from Amanda Fritz‘s guess-that-place blog motif, but if you want, you can guess the mountain in the comments…)


And Now, Back to the (non)Partisan Racetrack! November 7, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,City of Portland,Multnomah County,Primary 2008 — taoiseach @ 8:23 pm

With the 2007 special election over, it’s time to put full political energy into the candidate races coming up in May 2008. Yes, that means less out-of-state money coming in to outspend and upend the progressive agenda that Oregon voters gave a mandate in 2006. But it also means that we can renew that mandate and build on all of the successes of the 2007 session and Measure 49, and come back for failed efforts like Paid Family Leave and Healthy Kids.

The brunt of May 2008 will be borne at the local level in Portland and Multnomah County. These governments use a non-partisan primary to narrow the field of candidates to 2 for the November general election. That is, unless a candidate in an election garners over 50% of the vote outright, in which case she wins the post without a November electoral duel.

And it’s already crowded.

There’s three races for the City of Portland offices this May: Commissioner 1 (Public Utilities), Commissioner 4 (Public Safety) and Mayor. Of the three, only Randy Leonard is staying put and running again for Commissioner 4, while Commissioner Sam Adams is running for the mayor post, which incumbent Tom Potter is vacating after one term.

The open Commissioner seat (Number 1) has generated the most formalized interest, with the following individuals already jumping in to the race:

  • Jeff Bissonnette,
  • John Branam
  • Amanda Fritz
  • Charles Lewis
  • Chris Smith

All of these candidates are attempting to qualify for Portland’s public campaign financing system, which requires 1,000 $5 checks/cash from eligible Portland voters.

Strangely, the open seat has generated no bizarre outsider candidates in comparison to the contest for Commissioner 4, for which Randy Leonard is seeking re-election. That race so far has drawn the interest of Rev. Jerry Edward Kill, who prefers to have his name appear as just “Ed” on the ballot.

Also running is Emily S. Ryan, an employee of the Chinese Classical Gardens with experience on Portland’s Charter Review Commission and the Multnomah County Commissions on Poverty and Children/Families.

Emily Ryan is participating in Portland’s unique public campaign financing system; Leonard and Rev. Kill are not.

The Mayoral race is looking pretty crowded, albeit largely with unknowns aside from the high-profile Adams. Here’s the listing as of today:

  • Sam Adams
  • Kyle Burris
  • Craig Grier
  • Lew Humble
  • James B. Lee
  • Beryl McNair
  • Nick Popenuk
  • Jeff Taylor

Of that field, besides the juggernaut Adams campaign, Nick Popenuk is an interesting candidate. He’s a 23-year-old U of O graduate who’s worked for Metro and was recently hired by ECONorthwest, a firm which also employs State House candidate Jules Kopel-Bailey (who’s running in the crowded HD 42 primary). Who knows what kind of campaign he intends to run, but those with a municipal political inclination can find his website here.

The Multnomah County races are a little less interesting ever since Karen Minnis decided against vying for a seat on the Commission. Three seats are opening up, as incumbents Maria Rojo de Steffey, Lisa Naito and Lonnie Roberts have decided against running again or are barred from another term. It’s a little harder to find out who’s filed to run for these seats, so this information is from ORESTAR.

For district 1 (west Multnomah County):

  • Deborah Kafoury, former state representative
  • Wesley Soderback

Rojo de Steffey’s former Chief of Staff, Shelli Romero, had also been mentioned as a possible contender for seat one.
Here’s what the Willamette Week had to say about this race in September:

Soderback, a retired deck officer with the U.S. Merchant Marine, is a relative unknown compared to Kafoury, who has one of Portland politics’ more well-known last names. He previously made an unsuccessful bid for the District 3 state Senate seat in 1988, when he was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary by Bob Shoemaker.

For district 3 (Mid-County south of I-84):

  • Roy Burkett, Intel Manufacturing Technician
  • Mike Delman, public affairs manager with Portland Habilitation Center
  • Rob Milesnick, public relations association with ODS Plans
  • Judy Shiprack, former state representative and director of Local Public Safety Coordinating Council

For district 4 (‘East County’):

  • Diane McKeel, director of West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce
  • Carla Piluso, Gresham Police Chief

According to the Oregonian, former state house candidate Rob Brading may also seek this seat, as might Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby and Troutdale City Councilor Jim Kite.
The Boundary will make an effort to cover these nonpartisan races as they develop, hopefully with assistance of the local-savvy bloggers over at Witigonen (they’re way ahead on their coverage).


Just 5% to Go… November 6, 2007

Filed under: 2007 Special Election — taoiseach @ 2:17 pm

In order for Multnomah County to get up to 50% turnout, which may be critical to the efforts to pass Measures 49 and 50, we need 5% of registered voters to turn in ballots before 8:00 PM.

As of 11:00 AM, Multnomah County is reporting that 45% of ballots have been returned.  We’re so close!

Get in touch with the Healthy Kids or Yes on 49 campaigns, make some calls, walk some blocks, and then head to the victory parties!

Healthy Kids will be at the Benson Hotel (SW Broadway and SW Oak, downtown Portland) and Yes on 49 is at the McMenamins Kennedy School (NE 33rd between Killingsworth and Ainsworth).

See you there!


Turnout in Special Elections: Then and Now November 5, 2007

Filed under: 2007 Special Election — taoiseach @ 10:48 pm

With all the talk of anemic turnout by state Elections Director John Lindback, it has come to the attention of the Boundary that many sources claim low turnout in this election without citing similar elections in the past.  Luckily, that same elections division keeps a detailed record of past elections, including cross-sections of voter turnout, all available on their website.

According to the elections division, here’s the overall turnout for the special elections of this decade:

September 2002:  44%

January 2003:  66.9%

September 2003:  35.4%

February 2004:  63.1%

Now, that’s the final count of voters measured against the voter rolls when the election’s all over and the lights have dimmed in county offices across the state.  Here’s a closer look at turnout with a snapshot the day before each election, with the overall turnout and last-day composition of that vote in parentheses:

T-Minus One

September 2002:  33% (44%/10%)

January 2003:  57% (66.9%/9.9%)

September 2003:  29% (35.4%/6.4%)

February 2004:  53% (63%/10%)

So, with the exception of September 2003, one can expect the turnout in a special election to jump 10% on the day of the deadline for ballots.  But because the elections division has not released the number of ballots received today, Monday November 5, it’s necessary to look at the turnout two days previous:

T-Minus Two

September 2002:  29% (44%/15%)

January 2003:  53% (66%/13%)

September 2003:  26% (35.4%/9.4%)

February 2004:  48% (63%/15%)

As of Nov. 2, the last count available, the Secretary of State is reporting that 38% of ballots have been accounted for by an elections office.   With an intervening weekend, it could mean that the data for ballots received on Nov. 5 will be a healthy 5% of total turnout, just like the February 2004 trajectory.  That would put it well on its way to a 50% turnout, which would be right in the middle of the turnouts for past special elections.

If the number is 3% or under like in Sept. 2003, then turnout probably won’t make it to 50%, as the last-day turnout may not get to that normal 10% last-day burst.

Make a difference and help us get 10% more tomorrow!  Volunteer with the Healthy Kids campaign or the Yes on 49 campaign today–it’s the last day.


Frankly, Mr. Smith, I Don’t Give A Damn

Filed under: 2008 General,Ethics,Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:59 am

The Congressional Franking privilege, which allows members of Congress to send correspondence to constituents without cost, dates back to the seventeenth century in the British House of Commons. Over four centuries, it’s been subject to quite a bit of abuse by politicians to use official dollars for electoral pandering come campaign time. That doesn’t mean that Gordon Smith won’t take that abuse to new levels in order to save his Republican hide in blue Oregon.

The Boundary obtained a copy of Smith’s latest direct-mail piece franked newsletter form a source residing in the Portland metropolitan area. Based on Smith’s sweater-wearing peacenik persona that’s featured in the piece, it would seem the flyer probably went only to Portland-area voters. (More franking crankiness after the jump.) (more…)


Commissioners Will Pick New Senator Nov. 20 November 2, 2007

Filed under: Multnomah County,Oregon Senate,Washington County — taoiseach @ 12:54 pm

This just in from the Washington County bureau of the Boundary:

Washington County and Multnomah County commissioners will hold a joint meeting in the afternoon of November 20 to appoint the successor to former Sen. Ryan Deckert, who resigned Oct. 28 to serve full-time as President of the Oregon Business Association. The two Boards of Commissioners will meet jointly at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM in the Beaverton City Council Chamber, inside City Hall.

The commissioners have five options of the table. Four of them are the individuals nominated by the Democrats of Senate District 14. Here are their names, followed by the number and share of the vote each received at the Democratic nominating convention on Monday:Senate Dist 14

Mark Hass 12,905 (51.2%)

Mike Bohan 6,746 (26.8%)

Betty Bode 4,662 (18.5%)

Shantu Shah 839 (3.3%)

Click the link above to learn more about each of the nominees.

The fifth option available to the Boards of Commissioners under Oregon vacancy law is the refusal to appoint from the list of candidates. Should the Boards refuse to pick any of the above-named nominees to fill Sen. Deckert’s seat by November 27 (30 days after the nominating convention), then Governor Kulongoski may appoint any qualified Democrat to serve.

That last option is unlikely, as the Boards will have four candidates from which to pick instead of the three, which is normally the number of nominees selected by a political party for a vacancy. What’s more, since Mark Hass has already filed for the seat in 2008, the Commissioners will be hard-pressed to pick someone who will only serve out the remainder of Deckert’s term should they find Hass lacking for whatever reason. The Democrats on either Commission (Commissioners Desari Strader and Dick Schouten from Washington, and all Multnomah Commissioners except for Ted Wheeler) may well want to avoid a high-profile primary contest in a district likely to be targeted by the GOP in the 2008 general election. And, because today marks the 200 days before the primary election, such a primary race would have to start almost immediately.

So, if you need pre-holiday wonkiness to hold you over for the season, clear your calendars for the afternoon of Nov. 20th. You get your fill of multiple levels of government in one meeting: it’s on city turf with county officials, including a former state representative and three others seeking a state senate seat. And if Congressman Wu or Senator Wyden show up, the feds will be there as well!

Beaverton City Hall is located at 4755 SW Griffith Dr., Beaverton 97005.


Collusion or Coincidence? A Mutuality of Interests Between Steve Novick and OR GOP November 1, 2007

Filed under: Primary 2008,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 2:18 pm

Democratic Senate candidate Steve Novick has already been taken to task for his use of Republican talking points in smearing rival candidate Jeff Merkley on the war in Iraq. Apparently, the withering criticism of Novick’s negative campaign method by Representatives Mitch Greenlick and Mary Nolan hasn’t deterred the Novick campaign from its smear strategy. And that strategy has at least the appearance of collusion with the Oregon Republican Party, as both have the objective of stopping the growth of Jeff Merkley’s grassroots candidacy against Gordon Smith.

The perpetuation of the perceived collusion is nowhere more clear than in David Steves’ latest blog entry about Jeff Merkley’s criticism of Gordon Smith’s vote to approve far-right judicial nominee Leslie Southwick. In it, Steves notes that both the OR GOP and the Novick campaign sent him(and presumably most local media) a post by Stu Rothenberg that takes Merkley to task for a ‘partisan attack’ on Smith.

From Steves’ post:

The upbraiding of Merkley by an old D.C. hand was welcomed news both to the Oregon Republican Party and the campaign of Merkley’s Democratic rival, activist and former attorney Steve Novick; both camps emailed the punditry to Oregon political reporters before 9 a.m.

Oh? The Novick Campaign wants media to know that it thinks Rothenberg’s post about Merkley is being ‘too partisan’ is interesting? If Novick doesn’t agree with Merkley that Gordon Smith’s vote to confirm Leslie Southwick is “one more example of how [Smith is] out of step with the people he’s supposed to be representing”, then perhaps he does have a mutuality of interests with the OR GOP that transcends electoral politics. But that’s unlikely.

Most likely, Novick doesn’t disagree with Merkley on Smith’s vote for Southwick. But he does have a mutuality of interests with the OR GOP when it comes to stopping Jeff Merkley. And whether or not Novick designed this situation, it sure appears that the Novick campaign and the OR GOP are using the same strategy to attack Jeff Merkley.

It’s intellectually dishonest for Novick to promote a criticism of Merkley when they ostensibly share the same position on the issue in question. Memo to the Novick campaign: You’re running in the Democratic primary. Stop playing nice with the Oregon Republican Party–they’re the opponent, remember?


Smith: Bush’s Scary Political Doppelganger October 31, 2007

Filed under: Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 2:02 pm

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (yes, that DSCC) may strike fear into the hearts of Novick supporters, but they can probably get behind the latest video from the organization, which features the Republican ‘monsters’ that inhabit the U.S. Senate.

Sure, it’s no Willamette Week‘s ‘The Good, The Bad and the Awful’ (which has absolutely sucked recently), but it’s timely :

Ah, dig that 1930s Universal production value!

And of course, they save the scariest Senator for last: Oregon’s own Bush doppelganger Gordon Smith, who has perpetrated a 90% pro-Bush voting record on his own Oregon constituents.

The Boundary just watched 1980s horror classic The Reanimator last night. And while Smith’s political career may well be dead, there’s no limit to the amount of re-agent his campaign coffers can buy.

But who can stop him…?