Buck, Lewis headed for Metro Council runoff
Lake Oswego City Councilor Joe Buck easily won the primary for the Metro Council District 2 seat Tuesday night, but not by a large enough margin to win the race outright.
Unofficial returns at midday Wednesday showed Buck with 38.1 percent of the vote, followed by Christine Lewis at 23 percent, incumbent Betty Dominguez at 20.6 percent and Carol Pauli at 17.8 percent.
The nonpartisan seat can only be won outright in the primary if a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Because no candidate passed that threshold, the top two finishers — Buck and Lewis — will face each other in a runoff during the November general election.
"I'm overwhelmed with the results and couldn't be happier," Buck told The Review. "I'm just honored to have all the support. I feel good about the race and I'm proud that all the candidates in this race ran really strong campaigns, but honest and respectful campaigns too, so a big congratulations to my opponents."
Reached for comment Tuesday night, Lewis noted that the race appeared to be heading for a runoff, but she said she was waiting to see final results.
"I'm very grateful to the voters of District 2 for their confidence, and to my supporters for a strong showing this evening," she said. "I'm really proud of the race I've run, and I'm committed to running that same style of race moving forward."
District 2 includes most of the part of Clackamas County that lies within Metro's jurisdiction, as well as a small portion of southwest Portland in Multnomah County. The cities of Lake Oswego, West Linn, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Gladstone and Happy Valley are all located in the district.
The district was represented until late last year by former Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, who resigned in preparation for a move to Corvallis. The winner of this year's election will officially take office at the end of Collette's term in January 2019.
Buck, Dominguez, Lewis and Pauli all applied to serve out the remainder of Collette's term, and all four applicants also registered as candidates in the primary before the appointee was chosen. Dominguez was selected for the appointment by the other Metro councilors in March and is currently serving as the District 2 councilor for the remainder of Collette's term.
Buck, 37, is a city councilor and restaurateur from Lake Oswego. He emphasized his role as both a local elected official and a small-business owner during his campaign, which focused on livability and affordability issues such as transportation and housing. In particular, he has stressed the need for residents to be able to live near where they work.
Buck said he wants to fight to make sure Clackamas County doesn't get left behind as the region pushes to ease traffic bottlenecks. He said he will advocate for several projects, including widening I-205 near West Linn, expanding the Sunrise corridor in Happy Valley and building a bike/pedestrian bridge between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove.
"Clackamas County is well known as the stepchild of the region," Buck said, "and so it's imperative that my voice is very strong in advocating for the needs of our communities here."
He received endorsements from a long list of elected officials in District 2 and throughout the Metro region, including the mayors of Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Happy Valley and all five of his fellow Lake Oswego city councilors.
Lewis, 33, put a strong campaign focus on affordable housing and transportation, with a particular emphasis on solving gridlock on I-205. A resident of West Linn, she currently serves as the legislative director for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Although she's never held elected office, Lewis said she'll be able to draw on her broad history of work for multiple government agencies in order to effectively bring together groups of agencies and constituencies.
One of the best examples of the congestion currently faced by the region, she said, is in her own neighborhood near Willamette Falls Drive in West Linn.
The community is routinely slowed to a crawl during rush hour when drivers attempt to bypass traffic on I-205 by getting off at Stafford Road and driving through on Willamette Falls, she said. The issue also illustrates the ways in which local communities have been shut out of discussions about regional planning, Lewis said.
"The conversation has been, 'What happens if we toll? How do we prevent diversion?'" she said. "If you bring community voices forward, you'll find that's the wrong question. We already have diversion — what do we do about it?"
In addition to a handful of endorsements from present and former local elected officials, Lewis was supported by a number of unions and organizations, including the Portland Association of Teachers; the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO; the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Oregon Working Families Party.
Oak Grove resident Dominguez, 65, joined the race in January. Since moving to Oregon in 1996, her career has focused on affordable housing as well as combating broader causes of poverty, and housing became the centerpiece of her campaign for Metro.
She received endorsements from a number of elected officials in District 2, including the mayors of Milwaukie and Wilsonville, Clackamas County Commission Chair Jim Bernard and Metro Councilors Shirley Craddick, Sam Chase and Bob Stacey.
Pauli, 51, currently lives in Oak Grove but is a longtime former resident of Oregon City, where she served as a city commissioner. Her campaign focused on housing and transportation, as well as jobs and local economic development. In particular, she emphasized her role in developing Oregon City's main street and said there were similar revitalization opportunities elsewhere in District 2.
She received endorsements from several current and former Oregon City elected officials and business leaders.
(Unofficial results as of midday Wednesday; totals do not include write-in votes or minor-party candidates)
METRO COUNCIL DISTRICT 2
Joe Buck 12,518 (38.1 percent)
Christine Lewis 7,532 (23 percent)
Betty Dominguez 6,773 (20.6 percent)
Carol Pauli 5,842 (17.8 percent)