Former state Sen. Avel Gordly signed up for a role today as chief petitioner and spokesperson for the second attempt to recall Mayor Sam Adams.
Gordly, 62, retired from the Legislature in 2008 after 17 years of service and now teaches at Portland State University
. Her new prominent role in the second recall could thrust Gordly back into the kind of partisan battles she decried as a lawmaker. But she's among a group of Portlanders who believe voters should have another chance to decide who should be mayor, given that Adams acknowledged lying about his relationship
with then 18-year old Beau Breedlove in order to win the mayor's seat in 2008.
During Gordly's tenure in Salem, she earned a reputation for independence. In 2006, she left the Democratic Party and became the only lawmaker not affiliated with either major party in protest over what she saw as excessive partisanship. (She became a Democrat again in 2008 to vote for Barack Obama
in the presidential primary).
Gordly joins a nascent effort that began earlier this month after the first recall campaign failed
to gather the 32,183 signatures required to place a recall on the ballot.
In the last week, The Portland Tribune
and The Oregonian
have identified two local business leaders -Tim Boyle, the CEO of Columbia Sportswear; and car dealer Ron Tonkin- as two of the deep pockets interested in backing a second recall campaign.
Here's a brief interview WW
conducted with Gordly late Tuesday afternoon.
Why did you agree to get involved with the recall?
I remain convinced that Portland voters should have an opportunity to decide whether the mayor should stay in office.
: You're likely to face criticism from the mayor's supporters. Was it a difficult decision to get involved in the recall?
: No. I've thought long and hard about the issue and believe strongly that we're at a crossroads at the city and state. This is about the character and values of our city—not just about one person. It's about how we move forward. And I don't think we can diminish the importance of voters having their say.
: Some people say that recall proponents had their chance and now it's time to move on and deal with the pressing issues Portland faces.
: I disagree. This is unfinished business. It's about what we as a city communicate to the rest of the nation and the world about our values.
I recognize that we have a "status quo" culture in this city that would like us to be satisfied [with the failed recall attempt] and move on. But what are the missed opportunities that are not coming to our city as a result of crippled leadership? We can't move on until we finish the business of defining who are we are and what the values are that set us apart in this city and this state.