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City, county deserve the best

Portland-area voters may be concentrating the bulk of their election attention on the historic race for the White House and the grinding battle for a U.S. Senate seat representing Oregon. But closer to home, voters have significant decisions to make about who will lead the city and Multnomah County during the difficult months ahead.

Here are our recommendations in these races:

Portland City Council

Position 1 - Charles Lewis

Sam Adams is giving up this seat to become mayor, and the vacancy attracted a swarm of candidates - six to be exact - in the May primary.

As voters consider the two finalists in the November election, they will find a lot to like about Amanda Fritz, a former Portland Planning Commission member who could bring years of activist experience to the council. But our preference remains with Lewis, founder of the nonprofit Ethos Music Center.

Lewis has actual business experience, a sense of mission for the City Council and a well-defined list of priorities - job creation, small business assistance, investment in affordable housing and city support for schools.

These attributes will make a difference on a council that needs less process and more action.

Multnomah County commissioner

District 3 - Mike Delman

For East Portland voters, Delman is the obvious choice in this race.

District 3, which stretches from about 39th Avenue to as far east as 148th Avenue, would benefit greatly from Delman's knowledge of county operations and his ability to get things done for his constituents.

His opponent in this runoff election is Judy Shiprack, who recently was exposed in Willamette Week for her $1.8 million debt to the Portland Development Commission. That story was troubling, but the truth is we thought Delman was the better fit from the beginning. Voters should give him their support.

Multnomah County commissioner

District 4 - Carla Piluso

Voters can't go wrong in this race, whether they support Piluso or her opponent Diane McKeel. Both candidates have deep roots in this East County district, strong values and a passion for service.

McKeel emphasizes economic development in her campaign, and we agree the economy is an important issue of the moment. But we also recognize that county government takes the lead in social services and jailing criminals - not economic development.

It's clear that Piluso, who is retiring as Gresham police chief, has experience in dealing with crime, and she has spent years volunteering for organizations such as Human Solutions and the Police Activities League.

Multnomah County sheriff

Bob Skipper

Bob Skipper, who served as county sheriff from 1989 to 1994, returned to the office as interim sheriff in July when Bernie Giusto resigned after months of controversy.

With more than five years of experience in the job, few can argue that Skipper doesn't understand the role or have the knowledge to be a good sheriff. He is opposed by Muhammad Ra'oof, a sheriff's office sergeant with a deep law enforcement background.

But right now, the troubled sheriff's office needs a tried-and-true leader who can get the department on track. Voters should elect Skipper.