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Sources Say • A huge load of endorsements

by: L.E. BASKOW Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz threw her support this week behind former City Commissioner Charlie Hales in the race to replace Mayor Sam Adams.

Vera Katz's endorsement of Charlie Hales for mayor generated a lot of press this week, as might be expected for the former Portland-area state representative and three-term mayor.

But in fact all three major candidates for mayor have been endorsed by former and current elected officials, raising questions about who is the real frontrunner.

For example, New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady has been endorsed by former Portland Mayor Tom Potter, former Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein, and a number of former and current Portland-area state legislators. Hales, a former city commissioner, has also been endorsed by former Metro President David Bragdon and former City Commissioner Mike Lindberg.

Not to be outdone, state Rep. Jefferson Smith has been endorsed by a number of his fellow regional legislators. They include state Sen. Chip Shields and state Reps. Jeff Barker, Michael Dembrow, Margaret Doherty, Lew Fredrick, Chris Garrett, Mitch Greenlick and Chris Harker.

Tick, tick, tick - city's 15 minutes are over

Blame it on the success of IFC's 'Portlandia,' or the constant praise from The New York Times, but a backlash against Portland as a model for the rest of the country is growing in the national news media. For example, in January the Washington Post declared Pittsburgh is now the coolest city in the country. In a piece titled 'Portland, your 15 minutes is up,' the paper's Style writer wrote:

'Portland, with its elaborate facial hair and abundance of strip clubs, represents irony. Pittsburgh, with its working-class pragmatism, is the opposite: earnest and straightforward. It's a place where people drink cheap beer and wave their Terrible Towels without self-consciousness. Hipsters take faux working-class attributes - brusque beards, Pabst Blue Ribbon and occupations such as butchery - and integrate them into their lives with an ironic wink and a superiority complex. In Pittsburgh, you can find all of the above, only without the derision and affectation.'

The conservative Weekly Standard magazine took the criticism much further in a March 5 column titled 'Insufferable Portland.' Written by Mark Hemingway, it declared the region's highly touted land-use planning system an economic disaster before repeating the well-documented moral failings of former Mayor Neil Goldschmidt, current Mayor Sam Adams and former Congressman David Wu.

'Stop reading The New York Times, roll up your sleeves, and fix your city,' Hemingway told city residents. 'It's getting embarrassing.'

Payback could be so tempting

We don't think developer Joe Weston's idea of turning a stalled condominium tower into the Oregon Convention Center headquarters hotel is going to get much traction.

Although the Portland Development Commission awarded Weston Development a contract to build the 31-story Cosmopolitan Tower in the Lloyd District, the project was put on hold because of the bad economy. Now that Metro is again looking at the on-again, off-again headquarters hotel project, Weston is talking about converting the project into a hotel that could serve the convention center.

Regardless of what Metro thinks, we doubt that Mayor Sam Adams, a longtime supporter of the project, will go along. Weston was the major contributor to both recall campaigns against him, donating both money and office space to the unsuccessful petition efforts.

We're not saying Adams will retaliate against Weston by blocking PDC funding for his idea - but we would be tempted if we were him.