Democratic Super PAC Seeks Oregon Trackers
Gov. Kate Brown never stopped campaigning after winning the election last November to serve the remainder of former Gov. John Kitzhaber's term, and the 2018 governor's race is already beginning. Last week, American Bridge, a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, posted a list of job opportunities online, saying the group is "hiring tracker/field-researchers in Oregon to hold Republican gubernatorial candidates accountable for their public statements and actions." Trackers now follow candidates in many competitive races in hopes of catching them on video making mistakes, like the one in the 2010 governor's race, for instance, when a cellphone video captured Republican Chris Dudley's damaging remarks on the minimum wage in a close race. Brown's campaign manager, Thomas Wheatley, says neither the campaign nor the governor knows anything about hiring a tracker. Dawn Le, a spokeswoman for American Bridge, says that's as it should be—because, as a super PAC, the group must act independently of campaigns. "We are investing early nationwide," Le says. "I hope she knows nothing about what we're doing—she's not supposed to."
Washington High Won't Be Community Center
Southeast Portland's 15-year fight to open a community center on the old Washington High School campus has hit the end of the line. The deadline for the city to purchase a 1.3-acre parcel of the campus from Portland Public Schools is May 29, but the city has no plans to buy it. Instead, rights to buy the land will pass to the developer Venerable Properties, which previously bought the main high school building, currently home to the music venue Revolution Hall. Venerable's Craig Kelly confirmed the developer plans to purchase the property, but did not respond to a question about the space's intended future use.
Schools Administrator Gets a Parachute
A series of high-profile gaffes was apparently no obstacle to the career advancement of Portland Public Schools' human resources director, Sean Murray. In November, the district made a job offer to a general counsel candidate who had pleaded no contest in Florida to breaking the state's public records law. This month, the district lost a $1 million lawsuit over failure to address racial harassment. Murray is leaving the district June 3 to take the job of human resources director at the city's urban renewal agency, Prosper Portland, where he'll make $160,000 a year—$6,600 more than he's currently earning. "He is leaving to pursue other interests," said PPS spokesman David Northfield.