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:


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).


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.


For Democrats, Hass Top Pick To Replace Deckert October 29, 2007

Filed under: Multnomah County,Oregon Senate,Washington County — taoiseach @ 9:15 pm

Tonight, the Democratic precinct committeepersons (PCPs) from Oregon’s Senate District 14 convened in Aloha to nominate a slate of Democrats for the vacancy created by Sen. Ryan Deckert’s resignation yesterday. As you may have read here before, Senate District 14 mostly consists of central eastern Washington County, stretching from SW 209th Ave in Aloha through South Beaverton and into Portland’s West Hills.Hass

Of the 25,204 registered Democrats in SD 14, 23,867 reside in Washington County, with the remaining 1,337 over the border in Multnomah County. The voting members divided up each county’s share of Democrats by the number of PCPs attending from their respective county. With 51 PCPs from the Washington County part of SD 14, each voting member from Washington County at the convention had 467 total votes to cast. Multnomah County’s portion of SD 14 only had one voting member at the convention, which means that he was allocated the full 1,337 vote share of his county.

The convention decided to send all four nominees to the joint Boards of Commissioners of Washington and Multnomah Counties, but with a weighted ranking according to the number of votes each candidate received.  Democratic National Committeeman Wayne Kinney advised the convention that usually such conventions narrow the field of candidates down to three.  But, either in the interest of time or of giving the joint Boards more choice, the convention elected to send all four but advise the joint Boards of its preference by ranking them according to number of votes received.

The candidates standing for nomination at the convention:

-Betty Bode, Beaverton City Councilor

-Mike Bohan, high-tech sector veteran and math/science teacher

-Mark Hass, former state representative (2001-2007) and journalist

-Shantu Shah, electrical engineer and former candidate for the Democratic nomination to U.S. Congress (2006)

After each candidate gave a speech, the convention went into question-and-answer mode, involving questions relating to health care, Measure 49 andeven what kind of tree each would like to be. (Mark Hass’s answer: a Douglas Fir, of course).

The result of the weighted vote:

Mark Hass 12,905 (51.2%)

Mike Bohan 6,746 (26.8%)

Betty Bode 4,662 (18.5%)

Shantu Shah 839 (3.3%)

Because the convention elected to send all four candidates to the joint Boards of Commissioners with an advisory ranking, the result of this vote is non-binding. The joint Boards of Commissioners may pick any of these four candidates to serve as the next Senator for SD 14, or they may choose not to pick any and let Governor Kulongoski appoint a willing Democrat from the district. Of course, the allocation of votes to the members of the joint Boards will be similar to that of the convention, except that the Washington County share will be split 5 ways instead of 51 ways, and the much smaller Multnomah County share will likewise be split 5 ways between each commissioner, rather than having just one person with that share.

The joint Boards have not yet picked a date at which to choose from the four nominees.

For context on this story, see earlier articles at beaver boundary:

Date Set for Democrats to Replace Deckert

SD 14: Return of the Hass, or a New Hope?


Date Set for Democrats to Replace Deckert October 18, 2007

Filed under: Multnomah County,Oregon Senate,Primary 2008,Washington County — taoiseach @ 5:21 pm

The Washington County Democrats have sent out a press release indicating that Monday, October 29, will be the date of the convention to pick nominees for Senate District 14, which Sen. Ryan Deckert is vacating to serve as the Oregon Business Association President.

According to the Washington County Democrats website, Sen. Ryan Deckert intends to tender his resignation, which will become effective October 28, 2007. The website also stipulates the general process for the convention:

All current Senate District 14 Precinct Committee persons are eligible to cast nominating votes [. . .] You must be physically present to cast your votes and may not designate a substitute.

For a more in-depth look at the process, look here.
As referenced in the Boundary’s first substantive post way back in August, there is already a group of local Democrats actively seeking appointment to Sen. Deckert’s seat. According to sources in and close to Washington County politics, the following are likely to jump into the nominating contest on Oct. 29:Senate Dist 14

  • Betty Bode, current City of Beaverton councilor and health/human rights advocate
  • Mike Bohan, former candidate for the Democratic nomination in House District 27
  • Mark Hass, former state representative in House District 27
  • Jennifer Warren, former county party officer

If those four are the only nomination-seekers at the convention, it’s possible that the precinct committee people of Senate District 14, which also includes a small chunk of Multnomah County, will all receive a nomination. Oregon election law allows the party nominating convention to pick between 3 and 5 nominees. The Boards of Commissioners for Washington and Multnomah County will select the replacement from among those nominated by the party, and proportionate to population of the district, the Washington County commissioners (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats) will have a lot more weight than their Multnomah County counterparts (4 Democrats, 1 non-affiliated).

One interesting factor in this race is Mark Hass’s candidacy in the May 2008 primary for this very seat. He is seeking to hold the seat both by interim appointment and by popular election. It seems that if for some reason former Representative Hass is not selected by the commissioners, he will run for the seat anyway, presumably against whoever else is selected. According to Washington County sources, it seems that it’s a possibility that Hass might not get the nod, though he’s by no means the underdog. That he has filed his candidacy for the office in 2008 is proof of this enough–but it does seem a shrewd move on Hass’s part to get the commissioners to acknowledge his name recognition and popularity among his former constituents.

The nominating convention itself probably won’t generate much excitement if the only contenders are those four above. If that’s the case, then look to the joint meeting of the commissioners as a rare moment in local politics: for one of the few times so far in Oregon’s history, Washington County’s decision will significantly outweigh that of Multnomah County.


Interstate: Geography and Utility October 17, 2007

Filed under: City of Portland,Geography,Multnomah County — taoiseach @ 5:36 pm

With a stated commitment to ‘Place, Politics and Power in Oregon’, one would think that the Boundary would have alredy weighed in on the current debate over renaming Portland’ N Interstate Ave as César E. Chávez Boulevard. What strikes this blog in the back-and-forth is the lack of discussion about the geographical utility of the name Interstate.

If you’re not familiar with Portland, the first lesson in its geographical division would have to be the five quadrants of the city (yes, that’s right), which may contribute to the most basic sense of place felt by city dwellers. Burnside Street, five blocks north of the Willamette Baseline (also known as Stark Street), serves as the dividing line between the north and south halves of the city. And generally, the Willamette River divides the west and east halves of the city. The exception to this rule is North Portland, which sits as a wedge of sorts between Northwest Portland and Northeast Portland. Williams Avenue serves as the boundary between North and Northeast, and it runs along a north/south axis along an imaginary line that extends from the intersection of the Burnside Bridge with the east bank of the Willamette River.

InterstateNorth Portland has a number of north-south thoroughfares, though the length of each one shortens as one moves from east to west due to the narrowing gap between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Only one major thoroughfare spans the entire length of North Portland, from its origin in the Lloyd District next to the Steel Bridge on up to the Interstate Bridge (which actually contains Interstate 5). Much has already been said about the MAX Light Rail line that runs along the street; a little less has been mentioned about the eventual extension of the line to Vancouver, WA that will create an actual interstate connection.

The name Interstate reflects the simple connection that Interstate Avenue has with Interstate 5. It runs 2 blocks west of the freeway for almost its entire length. Conveniently, drivers attempting to find I-5 in North Portland need only find Interstate to be close to the real thing, and they can even merge on to I-5 North from Interstate at Delta Park. The name Interstate obviously refers to the connection between Washington and Oregon, which is entirely governed by a north-south axis. In terms of transportation for the Portland-Vancouver area, that axis consists of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Interstate 5, Interstate 205 and the ships that cross the membranous Columbia.

Geographically, Interstate has more utility than just about any other street in North Portland, and much of that would be lost if the name of the street changed to a name that did not refer to the north-south characteristic of the street and its proximity to I-5. This is especially important because of North Portland’s eastern boundary is not very well defined for most Portlanders, and I-5 serves as a stand-in of sorts for N Williams Ave. The Boundary would bargain that a poll of most Portlanders would show that most think I-5 is the eastern boundary of North Portland, not the lesser-known N Williams Ave, even though the streets are 13 blocks apart. Changing the name of N Interstate Ave. to a non-geographic term could have the unintended effect of blurring the already tenuous North Portland boundaries.

Of course, utility is but one element of a sense of place. But in a city where diversity and tolerance promote divergent and distinct senses of place, on what can process ride besides utility? The current situation, which may lead the City to a decision that makes no one happy, can only run on plurality.

UPDATE: Blogtown PDX’s Amy Ruiz breaks the news that Mayor Potter has called for a public vote on the proposal to change the name of Interstate Ave. to César E. Chávez Boulevard.


Lengthen Candidate Residency Eligibility October 2, 2007

Filed under: Geography,Multnomah County,Oregon House 2008,Primary 2008 — taoiseach @ 5:41 pm

With at least three Portland-area state representative candidates running in districts in which they have hardly lived for a small number of months, let alone years, it’s high time to consider measures that will curb elective border-crossing. Under current election law, a candidate wishing to represent a district must live in that district at least one year preceding the date of the general election. That means that a future 2008 candidate for the state legislature would need to move into the district they wish to represent by November 4 of this year–leaving fully one month for all sorts of geographical jockeying of our representative democracy. The one-year residency requirement under Oregon election law, especially combined with Oregon’s short legislative sessions, allows well-known insiders to make an end-run around the spirit of single-member districts, and for this reason it should be lengthened to at least two years.carpetbag

Because of Oregon’s biennial and short-running sessions, legislators, as incumbents, are more likely to announce re-election intentions (or the lack thereof) at the end of the session, usually three or four months before the one-year residency deadline takes effect. Just think of how many legislators have announced that they won’t be coming back next time: 8 Republicans, plus at least 4 Democrats seeking higher office, have done this in the state House alone. Insiders are preternaturally attuned to this sort of information and therefore have an advantage in that window between the incumbent’s announcement and the residency deadline.

When a well-known insider, or erstwhile lucky politico wannabe, gets the information that a seat is opening up, they’re not running to serve the best interests of that particular district; they’re running to serve themselves by traveling the path of least resistance. Sure, it’s hard to challenge an incumbent, and sure, some districts have higher ambition rates than others. But in Oregon, our single-member district system comes out of a deep-seated respect for and adherence to the democratic principle of ‘one person one vote’. That’s the reason we had to toss out multiple-member districts in the mid-20th century–because the many diverse parts and communities of interest within Portland were represented at large by a varying number of representatives.

By extending the residency requirement from one year to two, we will dramatically reduce the high level of musical chairs currently underway by a good number of Portland’s legislative candidates. The two year requirement will take district residency outside of the calendar imposed by Oregon’s election cycle and will generate candidates that better reflect the values and attitudes of the district in question. Yet, its relative brevity in terms of elective requirements reflects the dynamic nature of living in Oregon.

This change probably cannot be implemented until the 2012 election cycle, but perhaps its consideration will heighten the awareness of the territory-shifting insider candidate and provoke responses accordingly.