March 1st, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

City of Portland Gives Mayoral Recall Campaign The Boot From Office Space

Sam Adams recall
The City of Portland won't give a new office-space lease to the campaign that wants to force a recall vote on Mayor Sam Adams. In a strange twist of geographic fate, the recall campaign had been using city-owned retail space on the corner of Southwest 10th Avenue and Morrison Street as the home base for the campaign since Feb. 1.

That will end officially on March 10. Recall volunteer Teresa McGuire says the city has declined the campaign's offer of upfront rent to keep the campaign in the city-owned building until April 20, the recallers' deadline for submitting the 32,000-plus valid signatures they'd need to force a recall election. A spokeswoman for Portland's Office of Management and Finance, Laurel Butman, confirms this.

How the campaign got to this point is not exactly straightforward.

The canvassing company, VOTE Oregon LLC, had the lease for the office at 940 SW Morrison St., for use on other campaigns. When VOTE Oregon didn't need the space anymore, it donated use of the space to the recall campaign as an in-kind donation of $750 —one month's rent. But VOTE, which won't be providing paid signature gatherers for the campaign, is giving up the lease on March 10.

McGuire says that when the recall campaign asked Portland's property managers if the campaign could stay through April 20, the answer was no. Butman, a city spokeswoman, says the decision has nothing to do with the nature of the campaign. Instead, the city's Downtown Retail Vision Task Force decided it wanted a long-term tenant in the spot, she says.

The task force acts under the direction of the mayor. McGuire thinks there may be something more to its decision. "It's an embarrassment to them that this is city-owned property," McGuire says from inside the office. "Maybe they feel we're tweaking their nose a bit."
 
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