The Oregon Sustainability Center that Mayor Sam Adams considers one of his top priorities is still facing resistance.
Adams says the so-called Living Building proposed to be built near Portland State University is needed to keep the city on the cutting edge of sustainable development. Although the Oregon University System has agreed to help fund the building, they and Adams are having trouble closing the deal. Last Wednesday, the City Council split 3-2 in support of the $62 million project, with commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz calling it financially risky.
The next day, a subcommittee of the Oregon Legislature's budget-writing Joint Committee on Ways and Means referred it to the 2012 session with no recommendation.
Some committee members were also worried about the project's financial viability. State Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford) said the proposed $475 per-square-foot rental cost is too high, while state Rep. Dennis Richards (R-Central Point) questioned whether the building would be able to generate as much electricity as it uses, as promised.
Labor splits in 1st District race
Just because you're Oregon labor commissioner doesn't mean you can count on union support in your political campaigns. At least not all of it, as Brad Avakian is learning in the race for the Democratic nomination in Oregon's 1st Congressional District.
Before the start of this week's annual Oregon AFL-CIO convention, Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt had split the labor endorsements. Witt sent a press release Monday listing 15 union endorsements. Avakian's website listed 13.
Both are apparently beating state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, however. The third major Democratic candidate has no union endorsement listed on her website so far. The special primary election to replace Congressman David Wu, who resigned, will be held on Nov. 8. The general election is schedule for Jan. 31, 2012.
What will Amanda do?
Looks like City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has to decide whether to seriously begin raising campaign funds or not. Opponent Mary Nolan has kicked her fundraising into high gear, collecting about $70,000 since announcing for the City Council in early July. Meanwhile, Fritz has only collected about $3,000 in small contributions in addition to the $25,000 she has loaned her campaign.
Fritz denounced private campaign contributions when she ran on public funds in 2004 and 2008. But now that Portland voters have repealed the city Voter Owned Elections program, Fritz has to decide how to compete against Nolan, a state legislator who represents parts of Southwest Portland.
Nolan's recent contributors include several well-known names, including Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson ($1,000), businessman Al Jubitz ($500), former Portland Office of Transportation Director Vic Rhodes ($500), developer Mark Edlen ($350), former Portland Development Commission Director Don Mazziotti ($150) and Portland Streetcar Executive Director Rick Gustafson ($500).