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Three candidates line up for Bailey's seat

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A returning candidate, a county insider, and an emergency room doctor.

With Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey leaving his post to run for mayor, the race for his replacement is shaping up to be a competitive one.

Three serious candidates so far are vying to occupy the District 1 seat, and there’s still two months until the filing deadline for the May primary election.

As of Tuesday morning, one candidate officially filed: Dr. Sharon Meieran, an emergency room doctor, medical director and Southwest Portland mom of two children in Portland Public Schools.

The other two candidates had not yet filed but announced their intentions to run. Brian Wilson, a Southwest Portland resident who won 26 percent of the vote against Bailey in the 2014 county District 1 election, is back with endorsements from many local leaders.

Eric Zimmerman, meanwhile, has worked as chief of staff to Commissioner Diane McKeel for the past 2-1/2 years.

In that role he touts his work on economic development, anti-human trafficking, veterans housing and mental health services.

Here’s the rundown on each of the three candidates:

COURTESY: BRIAN WILSON  - Candidate for Multnomah County District 1 seat Brian Wilson made the bid once before. Brian Wilson, 48, a native Oregonian, works as a financial consultant and formerly managed operations and finances for his family’s business, Kalberer Company.

He’s an avid volunteer for numerous community organizations and served on more than 15 boards or commissions at the city and county level.

Among his major accomplishments, Wilson touts helping to lead the recent Multnomah County Library funding campaign to success; improving the county’s Home Rule Charter through five successsful ballot measures; and serving on the Portland Housing Advisory Commission.

Wilson says he wants to work for safe, affordable neighborhoods; long-term solutions to the homeless crisis; and getting local governments to work together, more efficiently and transparently.

“With relatively stable budgets in good economic times, the challenge for the county is not what programs and services to cut, but rather which to responsibly invest in with an eye toward an unpredictable future,” he says. “We have to look at the whole system, not just a part of it.”

His endorsements so far include former Mayor Sam Adams and former Clackamas County Chair Lynn Peterson.

COURTESY: ERIC ZIMMERMAN  - Candidate for Multnomah County District 1 seat Eric Zimmerman has helped shape public policy for the past few years. Eric Zimmerman, 31, who grew up in Clackamas County, cites his role in county leadership in helping to secure the funding to launch the Unity Center — the county’s first psychiatric emergency room — and leading outreach for the county’s homelessness initiative.

“The county plays a vital role in addressing the challenges Portland faces — homelessness, affordable housing, and creating economic opportunity,” Zimmerman says in a statement. “We are at a critical point in the direction of this community. With my experience, knowledge, and values, I’ll be ready to jump in day one to begin making a difference.”

Zimmerman is also a captain in the Oregon Army National Guard, having served in Iraq in 2009 as a platoon leader with distinction, where he earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

As an Army officer, Zimmerman led the effort in his unit to prepare for the lifting of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, as well as the restriction on women serving in combat units.

He’s collected numerous endorsements from local leaders, including Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton and Stephen Marc Beaudoin, Multnomah Education Service District director.

COURTESY: SHARON MEIERAN  - Candidate for Multnomah County District 1 seat Sharon Meieran is immersed in health issues. Sharon Meieran, 51, a San Francisco native, worked in law and international health before moving to Southwest Portland with her husband.

She works as an emergency room physician and medical director at the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health. She also serves on numerous local boards including the Community Oversight Advisory Board, which oversees implementation of the Department of Justice settlement agreement with the city of Portland and Portland Police Bureau, regarding the use of force against people in mental health crises.

With her medical background, and as a former attorney, she wants to help the county provide access to reproductive health care for all women, coordinate care for the community’s most vulnerable, and ensure housing for all.

“Working in the ER, I care for people who are in crisis, and who for a variety of reasons have nowhere else to go for help,” Meieran says in a statement. “This means that every day I see not only where our current systems fail, but also interconnections and unique opportunities for improving our systems of care.”

@jenmomanderson