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April 25th, 2012 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Cover Story

Election is Coming

For the City Hall throne and other races, we reveal our picks for the 2012 primary.


Metro Council District 5 (Northeast and West Portland)

SAM CHASE (Nonpartisan)

Five candidates want the Metro Council seat three-term incumbent Rex Burkholder is surrendering. At least four of them—retired school administrator Helen Ying, nonprofit director Sam Chase, realtor Brad Perkins, and Terry Parker, a retired Yellow Pages salesman—have paid enough attention to the sometimes obscure regional government to speak intelligently about its challenges.

Ying and Chase are running the most serious campaigns and, with some reservations, we are endorsing Chase.

Chase, executive director of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, brings 20 years of experience in housing and other policy work to the race. He has served as a staffer for former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury, chief of staff to Commissioner Nick Fish and director of the Oregon Opportunity Network, which advocates for low-income and senior Oregonians. Chase knows Metro’s issues and he knows politics. Our concern is he’s something of a cookie-cutter Portland insider.

But we’ll take that over Ying’s inexperience, Parker’s focus on getting cyclists to pay for road usage, and Perkins' focus on jobs, which is great but not Metro’s bag. Michael “Micro” W. Durrow is also running—and may be the first candidate ever to quote from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in his Voters’ Pamphlet statement.

Worst thing Chase has done for money: “Selling french fries at the Great American French Fry for $3.25 an hour. The owner went bankrupt and I didn’t get my last paycheck.”

Metro Council District 6 (East Portland)

BOB STACEY (Nonpartisan)

Bob Stacey really, really wants to serve on the Metro Council. Stacey boasts an impressive résumé: former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, planning director for the City of Portland, holding a senior position at TriMet, and the longtime executive director of the environmental group 1000 Friends of Oregon. 

He also spent three years doing land-use legal work for developers at the Ball Janik firm. But that résumé was not enough in 2010 when Tom Hughes defeated him in a close race for Metro Council president. When Stacey’s pal Robert Liberty resigned his Metro Council seat last year, the Council snubbed Stacey by naming former Gov. Barbara Roberts to the vacancy.

Stacey can be abrasive and difficult to work with. But he’s smart and well versed in the land-use issues Metro faces, and there’s some evidence his election loss humbled him. He’s been an effective critic of the bloated Columbia River Crossing project but says he’ll have no trouble working with Hughes, a bridge booster.

Stacey’s opponent, Jonathan Levine, a grad student at Portland State, struck us as pleasant and intelligent, but he’s still trying to grasp Metro’s role in the community, and he’s no match for Stacey.

Worst thing Stacey has done for money: Asked for campaign contributions—“you need to explain to people you’ll listen to them even if they don’t give but will not be unduly influenced if they do.”


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