Sources Say • Dwight Holton for Oregon AG?


If timing is really everything in politics, expect former interim Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton to announce for the Oregon attorney general's position.

The race became wide open with AG John Kroger unexpectedly announcing Tuesday that he would not run for re-election because of unspecified health issues. Holton was just replaced as head of the federal version of the Oregon Department of Justice, making him a logical candidate. He gained visibility this year by brokering a deal that brought Portland back into the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, something many political observers thought was impossible.

Holton and Kroger are both Democrats and friends. They worked together on one of Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns. And Kroger has more than $322,000 in his campaign account he could give Holton, if his backers don't object.

Lawyer Greg Macpherson, who lost to Kroger in the 2008 primary election, is also considering the race.

Business asks, candidates respond

The Portland Business Alliance has released the answers it received on a 34-question survey of major Portland mayoral and City Council candidates. Topics ranged from the Columbia River Crossing to the proposed 300-acre industrial park on West Hayden Island. The results will help the local business organization decide who to endorse in the races, although political consultant Steve Novick faces no serious opposition in the race to replace Commissioner Randy Leonard.

All of the candidates agreed on most questions, including support for the West Hayden Island project, although Commissioner Amanda Fritz waffled by saying she would support it 'if the facts show it is needed, economically viable, cost-effective for taxpayers, and not detrimental to the health of nearby residents.' Mayoral candidate Eileen Brady was the only one unequivocally in favor of moving the Columbia River Crossing proposal forward, although state Rep. Mary Nolan, who is running against Fritz, says she favors a '21st century bridge.'

Novick was the only candidate to flatly oppose creating a new urban renewal district to benefit Portland State University. He was also the only candidate to seriously question reducing the city business license tax by raising the owner's compensation deduction from $85,000 to $125,000, one of the PBA's top priorities.

Is that the same Mary Nolan?

Some PBA members may be surprised to see that Nolan claims to strongly support business and job-creation. Nolan was an outspoken supporter of Ballot Measures 66 and 67, the legislative tax increases that voters ratified in January 2010. The PBA and many other business organizations strongly opposed the increases, calling them 'job killers.'

The PBA also felt the 2009 Oregon Legislature cut business leaders out of the discussions on the increases. But on her PBA survey, Nolan said, 'By philosophy, temperament and personal skill, I am an accomplished team-player and negotiator.' Perhaps fortunately for Nolan, Fritz has alienated some PBA members by supporting new environmental restrictions in the Portland Harbor as part of the River Plan that has stalled at the council.