Yesterday, Portland Fire & Rescue released a public service announcement featuring Gov. John Kitzhaber talking about the importance of knowing how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The ad followed a May incident in which Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, gave CPR to a woman until Fire Bureau paramedics could take over.
Lars Larson, who hosts a daily talk show on KXL (FM 101), and who generally supports Republican candidates, today filed an elections complaint with Secretary of State Kate Brown, who oversees elections.
Here's Larson's complaint:
ORS 260.432 forbids public employees from providing a “service or thing of value to promote…the election of a candidate…
I believe that Portland Fire and Rescue has done just that by promoting a public service announcement featuring Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. The Public Service Announcement concerns the importance of a type of CPR known as “hands only”.
While the kind of information is important for the public to know about, there are reasons I suspect that this was done to help the Governor in his bid for re-election
1. Oregon voters will cast ballots in less than 70 days in a close Governor’s race between Kitzhaber and Rep Dennis Richardson
2. The Portland Fire and Rescue PIO confirms that the agency has NEVER used the Governor in a PSA in the past (The Governor was involved in giving CPR to a woman this year but as a former emergency room doctor, giving CPR is something that Dr Kitzhaber has likely done more than a few times)
5. The PSA has already generated favorable publicity for the Governor in the Oregonian newspaper and likely other places
I believe that union members of the Portland Fire Bureau staff have used public resources in an effort to promote candidate John Kitzhaber in his bid for re-election to the post of Governor. I believe this use of public employees and resources benefits a particular candidate and is in violation of Oregon law.
We know that in an emergency, minutes, and even seconds count. For each minute a person is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases 10%. This summer, while traveling through Portland, Governor Kitzhaber stopped to provide CPR until the Portland Fire & Rescue crew arrived, greatly improving the person’s chances of survival. PF&R’s participation in, and airing of the 30 second video regarding learning hand-only CPR is solely about our concern for our community and desire to help. As you know, this spring we were awarded Innovation funding to obtain PulsePoint (an app that alerts people to a person triaged as experiencing cardiac arrest in Portland). Simultaneously, PF&R is making a concerted effort to teach CPR to as many people as we can. In addition to classes being offered throughout the City, we have taught hands-only CPR at every Sunday Parkways event this summer. This PSA is solely focused on making a positive difference and supports our mission.Kitzhaber's spokeswoman Melissa Navas echoed that sentiment.