With just two months before ballots are counted in the May primary, what has been a remarkably polite mayoral race is beginning to heat up.
On Monday, former City Commissioner Charlie Hales
blasted one of his rivals in the mayor's race, Eileen Brady
, in an email to supporters.
"Once again my opponent, Eileen Brady, has successfully pressured a debate sponsor to alter its format to a watered-down forum that suits her. Days ago she insisted that the Downtown Portland Rotary Club, a respected civic organization, alter its well-publicized Lincoln-Douglas style debate to a substantially shortened two-minute question-answer forum.
Brady’s refusal to participate in this debate unless its format was changed to her preferences was a no-win for the Downtown Rotary Club. Unfortunately, this has been a familiar story for almost all of our numerous forums: insisting on questions in advance, limiting time for answers - no event has allowed real debate between the candidates."
On Wednesday, Jon Isaacs
, a consultant to the Brady campaign, hit back with this statement:
"Earlier this week, Eileen Brady's opponent - former city commissioner Charlie Hales - unloaded a dishonest, false attack by e-mail," Isaacs wrote. "Rather than talking about the critical issues facing our city, he whined about the format of a debate (arguing, strangely, that there should be fewer questions with longer answers - rather than more questions with more concise answers).
This "attack by press release" mentality is exactly the sort of petty politics that Portlanders are ready to move past."
Then on Wednesday night at at a candidate forum at the Aladdin Theater, hosted by the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association, Hales was asked a question about Portland's reputation for hosting delegations from around the country to look at innovative projects. He used his answer to poke at Brady's claim to be a co-founder of New Seasons Market.
Hales noted the question posed a conflict of interest for him because his wife runs a group called First Stop Portland
, which arranges tours for visiting officials.
"My wife Nancy is here," Hales said. "She is the founding director of First Stop Portland and in fact I have helped her a lot with that around our kitchen table. You know, spouses have these conversations around kitchen tables and help each other with their projects. I have helped her as a volunteer on a bunch of tours but I’d never describe myself as the co-founder of First Stop Portland."
Brady supporters booed Hales, but Brady herself appeared unfazed.
"I thought we were having a gentle conversation about planning tonight," she said.
"I have spent thousands of hours in our family business, New Seasons Market. And let me tell you some of the things I did.
I was the human resources advisor for many years, she said. I was the marketing advisor for New Seasons Market. I wrote the copy for those ads you see in The Oregonian. I did site selection with my husband, Brian. We visited every possible site and by the way, it’s really hard to pick sites for grocery stores."
"I have been involved in helping finance the company. I have sat on boards and committees for the company,” Brady continued. "I have been a spokesperson for New Seasons Market for 12 years. I have been called a co-founder of New Seasons Market for 12 years. This is our family business."
Asked if he'd like to jump in on the "founder" issue, the third candidate on stage, State Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland), replied, "Nah."