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Sources Say • Mr. Smith considers going to City Hall?

by: L.E. BASKOW Oregon Bus Project founder and state Rep. Jefferson Smith is considering a run for Portland mayor.

That's what we get for last issue's declaration of the field for the 2012 Portland mayor's race.

State Rep. Jefferson Smith now says he is seriously considering running for mayor. If so, he could be a formidable candidate because of his political experience. He has been elected twice to east side House District 47. Before that, he founded the Oregon Bus Project, a grassroots organization which has registered and motivated thousands of voters. And before that, he grew up talking politics with his father, R.P. Joe Smith, a former state representative and Oregon Democratic Party activist.

Smith tells Sources he has always been interested in city issues, including local economic development initiatives. He has spent days making lists of potential campaign issues, from encouraging the Portland police to be the most polite cops in the nation to scaling back the Columbia River Crossing project.

At the same time, Smith has a safe legislative seat and is gaining influence in Salem as policy director of the House Democratic Caucus. Smith says he has no deadline for deciding whether to run for mayor, but notes that campaigns traditionally start around Labor Day.

In other campaign news

Smith's deliberations come as the two other major declared candidates in the mayor's race continue pulling in campaign contributions.

New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady has raised more than $106,000, including a $10,000 family loan. Former City Commissioner Charlie Hales has actually received more contributions, a little over $100,000 without any borrowing.

Neither has yet received any union or downtown establishment business money.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sam Adams has still not said whether he will run for re-election. He has received no major contributions since 2008 and shows a $139.19 deficit.

Full disclosure on Rule tussle

Rick Swart, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson and Portland-area resident, is in a journalistic dispute with notable true- crime author Ann Rule.

Swart recently sold a freelance story to the Seattle Weekly criticizing 'Heart Full of Lies,' Rule's 2004 book about Liysa Northon, who pleaded guilty to killing her husband Chris in Wallowa County in 2000. In his story, Swart argued that Rule ignored extensive evidence that Liysa was a physically abused by Chris for years before she shot him.

As it turns out, Swart neglected to tell the Seattle newspaper that he is engaged to Liysa Northon, who is serving a 12-year prison term in Wilsonville.

After Rule raised the issue of a 'back story concerning the article's author,' the Weekly confronted Swart, who replied that his personal life is his own business. Most commentators on the newspaper's website disagree, accusing Swart of withholding crucial information and unfairly maligning one of their city's best-known writers. A few defend Swart, saying his detailed analysis of Rule's book raises serious questions about its accuracy, even if he has a conflict of interest.

Full disclosure: Swart is the former publisher of the South County Spotlight in Scappoose, a sister newspaper to the Portland Tribune and part of the Pamplin Media Group. Swart became involved in the murder case while at the Wallowa County Chieftain newspaper in Enterprise, Ore.