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Sources: Late candidates jump into City Council races

Tuesday was the last day to file for the 2016 Primary Election and last minute entries boosted the number of candidates in the 2016 City Council races.

They included four candidates who filed late against Commissioner Amanda Fritz, ending what had looked like a free ride to a third term for her.

One is Ann Sanderson, a small business owner who helped lead the opposition to the failed street fee proposals by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick.

Ironically, Fritz opposed all of their proposals. Sanderson said her concerns with City Hall are much broader, however.

“I really believe that at its most basic level, local government is ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ That hasn’t been the case for the past few years here in Portland. We can do better,” Sanderson said.

The other Fritz opponent is David Morrison, a rare-book dealer and anti-Wi-Fi activist. In his filing papers, Morrison lists his campaign website as wirelesswatchblog.org, which contains numerous articles claiming Wi-Fi is a health hazard.

“The Portland City Council is Not Doing Enough to Keep Cell Towers Out of Residential Neighborhoods and Schools. The City Council Should Inform the General Public of the Biological Effects of Chronic Microwave Exposure, Especially to Children and Pregnant Women,” it said.

The other two are former Eliot Neighborhood Association board member Sara Long and Grassroots News NW owner Lanita Duke.

Also on Tuesday, perennial candidate Bruce Broussard announced he would run for mayor. That pushed the total number of candidates seeking the open seat to 15. The best known are Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

Another late entry is Leah Dumas, a workforce development specialist, who filed Tuesday against Commissioner Steve Novick. Her filing brings the total number of candidates running to replace Novick to nine.

The 2016 primary election is May 17. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election.

The full list of City Council candidates can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/544311.

Walk, bike priority not enough for candidate

The City Council raised some eyebrows recently when it considered prioritizing city streets for pedestrians and bicyclists over drivers. The new ranking is being discussed as part of the Comprehensive Plan update the council is expected to approve in May or June. It is intended to increase safety for the most vulnerable users and encourage alternative transportation.

Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone went even further during last week’s debate sponsored by numerous environmental groups. An urban planner at Portland State University, Iannarone said she wants a car-free city center.

“It’s not very popular, might not get me elected mayor, but I believe in it,” she said.

Shocking change at Oregon Legislature

Most current Oregon legislators and political reporters don’t seem to understand how remarkable it was that Republican lawmakers tried to block a major energy transition bill supported by Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp during the recent session.

For many years, Republicans were the utility companies’ strongest supporters at the Oregon Legislature — and the companies contributed disproportionately to their election campaigns. This was especially true in the 1960s and 1970s, when public power activists were trying to create more peoples’ utility districts in the state, usually with the support of Democratic legislators from Portland and Eugene.

But that era apparently is over, after Republican legislators tried but failed to stop the energy bill supported by virtually all Democrats. It was a compromise negotiated by the utility companies and environmentalists, intended to head off an initiative campaign that would have cost PGE and PacifiCorp more to switch from coal to renewable energy.