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Sources Say • Saltzman smiles at mayors race

It looking more and more like Commissioner Dan Saltzman won't be running for Portland mayor in 2012. After Mayor Sam Adams took the Portland Police Bureau away from him last year, Saltzman said he would run for the office if no other serious candidate stepped forward.

But now Saltzman tells Sources that he thinks major contenders are coming forward. One is former Commissioner Charlie Hales, who filed for the office last month. Another is New Season co-founder Eileen Brady, who announced on Tuesday.

'I said I would run if voters weren't being offered a choice, but I don't think that's going to be problem at this point,' Saltzman told Sources.

Water rates coming to a boil

Could increasing water rates be an issue in the 2012 mayor's race? Portland Water Users Coalition Director Kent Craford thinks so. He believes many voters are opposed to the annual increases that have helped make the cities combined water, sewer and stormwater charges among the highest in the nation. He notes that water rates alone are predicted to increase more than 80 percent during the next five years, in part to fund politically unpopular federal mandates.

Craford, whose group opposes the increases, was pleased to see recently announced mayoral candidate Eileen Brady at the City Council budget hearing on rates. And he says political consultant Steve Novick, a rumored council candidate, called him a short time ago to discuss the situation.

A spin doctor in the House?

A recent attempt by Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian to keep other Democratic candidates out of the 1st Congressional District primary election actually raised questions about the depth of his support.

Avakian announced that he would run against incumbent David Wu in April. In late May, the Avakian campaign released a poll about how he and other challengers would do against Wu. The poll by the Beneson Strategy Group actually shows Wu leading Avakian by 45 percent to 24 percent. If state Rep. Susan Bonamici gets into the race, she picks up 10 percent of the vote and Avakian's support drops to just 12 percent.

Wu leads both of them with 39 percent.

Avakian is trying to spin the poll as showing he has the best chance to beat Wu in the primary if other Democratic challengers stay out. He also highlighted a March Survey USA poll that shows Wu will have a hard time winning re-election. According to the poll, 53 percent of voters think he is doing only a fair or poor job, a far larger negative rating than President Obama, Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Gov. John Kitzhaber received.

The poll also shows that if the 2010 general election were held today, Republican challenger Rob Cornilles would beat Wu by a margin of 41 percent to 33 percent.