Awaiting the results in the close race for Metro president tonight with candidate Bob Stacey were about 200 nervous supporters in the dimly lit, normally laid-back Rontoms bar on East Burnside Street.

At 8:30 pm, KGW reported that Stacey took 57 percent of the vote in Multnomah County, which pleased Stacey—the former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon.

“This is really wonderful to have Multnomah County returns in,” said Stacey, who’s been expected to run strongest in Multnomah County. “But it’s early.”

Indeed. Returns from Washington and Clackamas counties have given a slight edge to candidate Tom Hughes, the former Hillsboro mayor who was expected to run strongest in the suburbs of Metro’s region.

Moments ago, Stacey stood in front of the bar’s fireplace and addressed the anxious crowd with a pep talk.

“It’s going to be a long night, right?” Stacey said to a cheering crowd. “I’m going to be here for quite a while.”

Gregg Woodlawn, a youth mentor from Northeast Portland, said he supported Stacey because he hoped Stacey would preserve the Metro region’s density.

“We’re not Dallas. We’re not Las Vegas. We’re not L.A. or all these other sprawling mega-opolises,” said Woodlawn, who called Portland “the best small city in the country.” “[Stacey] wants a tight Urban Growth Boundary, which is what I want.”