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Handful of residents show up for Wu visit

by: RAY PITZ MAKING A POINT — Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays, left, chats with U.S. Rep. David Wu, right, on July 16 inside the Sherwood City Council chambers as resident Kurt Kristensen looks on.

U.S. Rep. David Wu's latest venture into Sherwood was markedly different from his last trip to the city when he held a forum here two years ago.

At that time, Wu took questions from a slightly hostile standing-room-only crowd of 100 at the Sherwood Police Station.

However, his visit to Sherwood July 16 drew fewer than 10 residents (including Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays) during the roughly 45 minutes a reporter was present. Wu spoke individually with those who attended in what was billed as an 'open door office.'

Over the last year, Wu has been under scrutiny for strange behavior, which drew national media attention along with the exodus of numerous staff members.

Still, Wu seemed relaxed and at ease at the Saturday event, dressed casually in slacks, a polo shirt and Nikes. He said he had just finished participating in the Robin Hood Festival parade and gave a positive review to the Sherwood Volunteer Firemen's famous barbecued chicken, which marked its 40th appearance at the festival.

Wu pointed out that only a year earlier, he had been knighted during festival activities.

'I expect it will be the only knighthood I'll have in my life,' he said.

Wu said the biggest concerns he's currently hearing from constituents involve possible changes in Medicare and Social Security. He also said he's been working on job creation, hoping to get a small business innovation grant bill passed.

A strong advocate of space exploration, Wu said he recently watched the final launch of the space Shuttle Atlantis while in Washington, D.C.

'It's kind of a bittersweet moment,' he said, noting that several countries have tried to duplicate the U.S. space program but no one has ever been successful.

He said his biggest concerns are about the United States not having immediate access to space and said he disagrees with privatizing space exploration.

'When that rocket goes up, there needs to be one with the American flag on its side,' he said.

Meanwhile, Wu's campaign recently reported that he still has broad support, evidenced by having raised almost $230,000 in the second quarter of this year.

Both State Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, and Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian say they plan to challenge Wu in the 2012 Democratic primary.