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Brady touts business acumen in mayors race

Adams still hasn't declared as others start campaigns early
by: submitted photo

The Portland mayor's race is suddenly off to a fast start, with two major candidates taking not-so-subtle jabs at incumbent Sam Adams, who has not yet said whether he will seek reelection in 2012.

The most recent challenger is New Seasons cofounder Eileen Brady, who announced for the office on Tuesday with a posting on her campaign website. In it she said 'effective leadership' was needed to 'get Portland back on track.'

Although Brady probably agrees with Adams on environmental issues, she also appeared to chide his multiple agendas and support for water and sewer rate increases by saying we can be the greenest city in the world, 'but only if we manage our costs, establish our priorities, and stick with them.'

During a Wednesday morning interview, Brady pushed her private-sector and family experience in Portland.

'My husband and I know what it's like to risk our life savings and children's college education to start a business that makes the community a better place to live,' said Brady, referring to New Seasons' cofounder Brian Rohter.

Brady said the experience made her understand the importance of creating local jobs in city neighborhoods.

'I enter this race totally focused on the need to improve the local economy and include all neighborhoods in the decision-making process, especially those on the east side that are really coming on,' Brady said.

Brady has already raised more than $55,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, including a $10,000 family loan. Supporters include Nature's Fresh Northwest grocery founder Stan Amy and former Portland Development Commission economic development director Erin Flynn, who is now an administrator at Portland State University.

Another major challenger is former City Commissioner Charlie Hales, who announced for the office late last month. He is even more critical of Adams, with a campaign slogan that says, 'I know we can do better.'

In a recent campaign fundraising letter, Hales was even more direct, saying, 'Instead of vision, we've seen 'process.' Instead of action, we've had postponement. Instead of building community, we've been mired in division and mistrust.'

Hales has not yet reported his fundraising.

Adams, Brady and Hales are all considered social liberals and environmentalists. Brady said she is not sure where they disagree on the issues, but insists that a key difference sets her apart from the other two.

'I have not spent 20 years in City Hall,' Brady said, referring to the time Adams and Hales have served on the City Council. 'I have served on some boards when asked, but I bring an outsider's perspective to the race.'

In response to Hales' announcement, Adams released a statement saying: 'I will be considering my political future soon, but am focused at the moment on city business: passing a budget that makes investments in our city's future, growing Portland's job base through strategic recruitments like SoloPower, creating fundamental and long-lasting educational improvement to prepare our youth for success, and addressing key public safety issues like gang violence, illegal guns, and human trafficking.'

With less than 12 months to go before the May 2012 primary election, a number of other potential candidates are also thought to be considering the race. They include U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, former City Commissioner Jim Francesconi and political consultant Steve Novick.