MARSHALL PARK - For Chris Garrett, growing up in Southwest Portland was pretty great: wild parks, a close-knit community and great schools. That is, he said, until Measure 5 came along and fouled up that last little bit.

Garrett, who was the editor of The Statesman, Wilson High School's newspaper, said high school was a really exciting time for him.

'We just felt really lucky to have the resources we did,' he said. Those resources helped him compete at the private Reed College and then at University of Chicago Law School.

But by the time he graduated, the effects of Measure 5, which capped property taxes for schools at $5 per $1,000 of assessed property value, were starting to lead to budget cuts.

Now, as part of his campaign for the House 38 seat, which covers Lake Oswego and some of Southwest Portland, Garrett said he hopes to fight for school funding in the Oregon Legislature.

'Going to a great public school system made me a real believer in the value of a quality free public education for everybody,' he said. 'I've seen firsthand that it can be done, and I'm ready to do what I can to make sure the state provides it.'

Garrett also noted the state's status as 46th in the nation for funding higher education.

'That is not a recipe for long-term success for our economy,' he said. 'That sends a message to our high school students to look elsewhere for college and for businesses to look elsewhere for employees.'

Growing up in Southwest also provided Garrett with another resource. Parents of his elementary school friends, old neighbors and his parents' friends all still live in the area and are campaigning for his May 20 election.

'So I have people helping me who've literally known me my whole life,' he said. 'It's a neighborhood where people are very rooted.'

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