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Another Portland Blog

Friday, November 05, 2010


A week embedded in the trenches of Oregon politics

Measure 74 failed (WTF, people?) but Johnny K, AKA "The Kitz," AKA Johnny Bluejeans, AKA the Next Governor of Oregon made it back into office by the skin of his teeth over "The Man Who Once Set the NBA Record for the Most Missed Shots During One Consecutive Trip to the Foul Line." A former classmate of mine at Wilson High School, Will Rasmussen, lost his bid to snag a seat in the Oregon Legislature to a woman who calls herself "Hot Coupon Mama" on Twitter. And the Republicans snagged the House but the forces of hope/goodness/golden light continue to march onward.

All in all, things could worse right now.

It's been an interesting week over here. I spent Election Night embedded with the Oregon Democrats over at the Hilton. I met Steve Novick, an impossibly friendly guy who radiates good will out of every pore. He came over to look at my laptop for an update on the governors race before two gorgeous women pulled him aside to chat. Bill Bradbury spent the evening zooming through the crowd on a Segway.

Among the evening's highlights: Kitzhaber marching into the ballroom for an enthusiastic speech. "I'm in the same spot Senator Merkley was at this hour back in 2008," he said. At that time, he was down by 2,000 votes or more to Chris Dudley. Sure enough, the turnout in Multnomah County put him over the edge, leaving Dudley to conceded and chug margaritas out at El Ranchito out in Lake Oswego 20 hours later.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to briefly meet Portland mayor Sam Adams. While I have my problems with his behavior and many of his proposals, there's no denying that the guy has "presence." He confidently marched into the office where I'm interning this term like a lion. "Hi, I'm Sam," he said with a voice that oozed pure confidence as he reached across my desk to shake my hand. He was traveling with an entourage of 20-somethings and had a grip that could bend steel.

Now I'm sitting over at the Fehrenbacher Hof coffee house where former mayor Bud Clark is outside raking leaves on another golden autumn morning here in the City of Roses. He and his family own three businesses in the Goose Hollow neighborhood. He tossed a big smile my way as he lifted up a garbage can full of leaves. The man's damn near 80 years old. I nodded politely back, wishing I'd had the guts to talk to him. Inside, I chatted with one of the baristas about him while she wiped up a hazelnut mocha. "Yeah, he comes by all the time to tidy up," she said. "He's so adorable."

On my way to class, I chatted with Mr. Clark for a bit about the coffeehouse and the failing newspaper industry, strangely enough. He was sitting at a table outside enjoying the sun with a pint of brew.

I feel like I've been living in the Portland-equivalent of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles since Tuesday. Here's hoping I encounter the ghost of Tom McCall next.


Did you notice if Bradbury was utilizing the cupholder on the Segway? He and I were at some event last year, and it was cracking me up that he was zooming around with a plastic cup of wine in his cupholder.

Also, I have to correct you on one account. I think you misquoted Kitz's speech. It was Merkley who was running for Senate in 2008, and was trailing (like Kitz) before Multnomah County votes rolled in.
Thanks for the correction. I've fixed the error. I didn't notice if Bradbury had any wine in his cupholder but he was certainly hooting and hollering like he had packed away a few glasses of pinot.
Hi there, I was just passing by and i got this story nice, I enjoyed reading it.
"Measure 74 failed (WTF, people?)"

And measure 73 passed. Also WTF. Though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Yeah, that one shouldn't come as a surprise. It's hard for most people to vote "no" on something like that. They see the words "drunk drivers" and "pedophiles" and look no further.
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