Ever since Portland voters repealed the city's public campaign finance program, political observers have been wondering how Commissioner Amanda Fritz would finance her re-election campaign. Fritz ran for the City Council twice on public funds, winning her seat on the second try in 2008. Each time, she denounced the time required to raise campaign contributions and the potential influence of large donors.
So, the obvious question is, how will Fritz fund her 2012 campaign?
As it turns out, Fritz has delayed the answer by loaning her campaign $25,000. The loan was reported to the Oregon secretary of state's office on June 9, as required by state law.
In the report, Fritz says it will be repaid 'at end of election cycle or when funds are available.'
That could postpone her need to seek contributions until after next year's general election. Of course, Fritz might need to borrow more money or seek contributions sooner if she gets a serious opponent.
Surprise - you've got new legislators
Multnomah Neighborhood Association Chairman Moses Ross was shocked to learn that the Oregon Legislature's redistricting plan divided the neighborhood among three state representatives. For the past 10 years, the Southwest Portland neighborhood had been within House District 36, held by Democrat Mary Nolan. But the plan rushed through the state capitol last week also put part of it in House District 35, which is held by Democrat Margaret Doherty, and House District 38, which is held by Democrat Chris Garrett.
Although Ross thinks the change will complicate his association's relationship with the legislature, he is trying to make the best of it.
'Another way to look at it is, we've just tripled our representation in Salem,' says Ross, who has invited all three House members to the association's next meeting.
Neverending CRC dispute
Despite their protests and friends in the alternative media, opponents of the Columbia River Crossing have not made much headway toward stopping the controversial project. For example, the Metro Council recently voted 5 to 1 to continue supporting the Interstate 5 bridge and freeway improvement project, even after opponents testified at length against it.
But Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire's decision not to seek re-election could be a watershed moment. When she appeared with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber at a press conference announcing the replacement bridge design choice, Gregoire came across as the project's strongest advocate.
Not only that, but she has more experience than Kitzhaber pushing controversial transportation project through the political process.
Although potential candidates to replace Gregoire are just beginning to emerge, the estimated $3.6 billion could become a major issue in the 2012 race to replace her.