Sources Say • Embattled Wu faces real fight in 2012 race


Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian might be the strongest challenger Democratic Congressman David Wu could face in 2012.

Avakian announced Monday morning that he will run for the 1st District office. Wu was re-elected in 2010 to his seventh term in the district post.

Although his current job is nonpartisan, Avakian is a well-established Democrat who already has won two elections in the district - Oregon House District 34 in 2002 and state Senate District 17 in 2006. Avakian did well throughout the entire congressional district when he was elected labor commissioner in 2008.

Although Wu is known as a tenacious fundraiser, Avakian raised more than $328,000 in his campaign for the obscure statewide post. He received contributions from a broad range of labor and business groups, including numerous unions and construction-related organizations.

The list of Avakian's supporters released at his press conference was a virtual Who's Who of political leaders in Wu's district. In contrast, Wu is spending a lot of time these days trying to convince voters that he's not too politically damaged to continue to represent them.

Don't bother calling

Some members of the Portland Business Alliance were puzzled that no one on the City Council attended their 2011 Annual Meeting at the Oregon Convention Center on Tuesday.

Chairman Roger Hinshaw introduced other elected officials in attendance from the podium, including Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, Metro President Tom Hughes, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle and even Vancouver, Wash., Mayor Tim Leavitt. But Portland Mayor Sam Adams and the rest of the council were conspicuous by their absence.

'You'd think at least some of them would want to be seen here,' one member of the business organization told Sources afterwards. 'These people make campaign contributions.'

Streetcar fallout

One opponent of the proposed Portland-to-Lake Oswego streetcar extension must be secretly happy it is still alive. He is Len Bergstein, the political consultant hired by residents in Lake Oswego, Dunthorpe and Riverdale to stop it. Despite Bergstein's best efforts, the Lake Oswego City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to recommend continued study of the project. The Portland City Council took it up the next day.

But that just means Bergstein can keep working on the other funding partners that will vote in the next few months - the Multnomah and Clackamas county commissions, the TriMet board of directors and the Metro Commission.

The fight in Lake Oswego got personal before the vote, with opponents accusing Mayor Jack Hoffman and Councilor Bill Tierney of having conflicts of interest on the project. Hoffman is a partner in a law firm that represents Oregon Iron Works, the local company that would build the streetcars. Tierney is a manager with Portland General Electric, which would sell power to the line.

Both said the Oregon Ethics Commission cleared them to vote on the project, and they both supported further study.

The mystery continues

Five months after author Phil Stanford named him a likely suspect in the murders of Larry Peyton and Beverly Allan, admitted serial killer Edward Edwards died in prison without confessing. Stanford built a strong circumstantial case against Edwards in his book 'The Peyton-Allan Files,' which was released last October.

Although three other men were convicted of the 1960 Portland killings, Stanford revealed there was little actual evidence against them. Edwards, who was in town at the time of the killings, was picked up by the police but escaped before he could be questioned. After he was arrested on unrelated charges in 2009, Edwards confessed to killing five people, including two couples who died under circumstances similar Peyton and Allan.

He died of natural causes in prison on April 7.