Sue Stahl, a tireless advocate for people with disabilities who ran for Portland City Council last year, died on Nov. 14. She was 42 years old.
Stahl's family reported her death on social media. "Sue was a smart, beautiful, articulate and determined advocate for the disabled community in Portland," wrote her mother, Mary Stack. "Sue, you were also a hero to us and we will miss you forever. You fought the good fight."
Stahl served on the Portland Commission on Disability starting in 2010, and rose to run the commission. Stahl, who used a wheelchair, was among the loudest voices calling for City Hall to comply more quickly with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2014, she led a push to remove obstacles from city properties, including dozens of city parks and the Portland Building, that blocked access to people with disabilities.
Stahl's run for City Council was fueled by her frustration serving on a city task force writing the rules for ride-hailing services like Uber. She was alarmed by the lack of access Uber offered people with disabilities, and ran for City Commissioner Steve Novick's seat with the backing of cab drivers.
She finished fifth behind Novick and the eventual winner, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, in a 10-candidate field, receiving 6.6 percent of the vote.
"Portland is growing at a very fast pace and leaving a lot of people behind," Stahl told WW last year as she prepared her run for office. "There's a lot of opportunity…to step up and do the right thing. And this is what I'm going to do."
After the race, Stahl led the charge for BikeTown, Portland's bike-sharing program, to add rental bikes modified for people with disabilities. That program launched in July.
"She fought and fought and fought," says Stahl's father, Bob Stack. "Portland is now the first city in the in the nation to initiate the adult disabled bike."
A memorial service will be held at 10 am Wednesday, Nov. 22, at Prestige Senior Living Beaverton Hills, 4525 SW 99th Ave. in Beaverton.