Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Light Rain

43°F

Portland

Light Rain

Humidity: 86%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 28 Dec 2014

    PM Showers 46°F 36°F

  • 29 Dec 2014

    Partly Cloudy 39°F 24°F


Our Opinion: Jules Bailey is right pick for county

Can you name three things Multnomah County’s government does?

The sad reality is that most ordinary people don’t have a clue. But we are pleased to note that the two candidates running for Multnomah County District 1 commissioner are both deeply knowledgeable about county government and eminently qualified to help lead it.

That’s positive news, because county government is immersed in functions vital to everyday life in this region. Among many other things, it runs the county jails and libraries, maintains most of the Willamette River bridges and provides mental and physical health services to vulnerable populations.

The county is led by four district commissioners and a chair who’s elected countywide. The former District 1 commissioner, Deborah Kafoury, had to vacate her seat to pursue her own campaign for county chair. Both candidates now running in District 1 — which covers downtown Portland, the inner east side of Portland, and the western portion of the county — can point to a wealth of relevant experience.

Brian Wilson, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from Fordham University, works for his family’s business and has several years of volunteer experience with multiple county-related boards.

Nonetheless, our endorsement in this race goes to state Rep. Jules Bailey.

Bailey attended Lewis & Clark College and later did graduate studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to serving nearly three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, Bailey worked for the ECONorthwest consulting firm, before opening his own firm, Pareto Global, in 2009.

Bailey and Wilson both understand that the primary role of a commissioner is to connect people who are in need with the services provided by Multnomah County, but they have differences in style and approach.

Bailey places greater emphasis on promoting economic growth as a means of aiding those residents in need of public assistance. That’s a position we can support.

More jobs would mean more opportunities for people to get work and to lessen their reliance on public support. Beyond that subtle difference, we also believe Bailey’s experience with state politics will benefit the county and his constituents in District 1. The county’s relationship with the state Legislature has a great deal of impact on county funding and policies.

While serving in the Legislature, Bailey was recognized for his intelligence, economic background and willingness to consider all sides of an issue. In the 2014 session, he chaired the Energy and Environment Committee and was vice chairman of the Revenue Committee.

While Bailey has shown his support for environmental causes, he also has voted for projects that support the economic well-being of Oregon — including the Columbia River Crossing.

His opponent Wilson is far from a slouch when it comes to knowledge of county and economic issues. Wilson deserves great credit for his volunteer work, which included chairing a county charter review committee and spearheading the election campaign to approve a county library district. We are troubled by his 2007 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, but that blot on his record was not the deciding factor in our endorsement.

With his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of county issues, Wilson would be a fine addition to the board of commissioners, but we are swayed by the promise we see in Bailey. Voters in Multnomah County District 1 should elect Jules Bailey as their next commissioner.