Jasun Wurster told WW
this morning that he will turn over what he says are 30,000 signatures to a new group that will try to recall Portland Mayor Sam Adams.
Today is the deadline for the Wurster-led recall effort to turn in the signatures it's gathered if it hoped to put a recall of Adams on the ballot for Portland voters. Wurster claims 700 volunteers will have gathered more than 30,000 signatures. But he says rather than turning those signatures in, he will give them to the new group, Portland Future PAC.
Wurster says he has two reasons for not turning in the signatures: first, he doesn't think he has the 32,183 valid signatures needed; second, the names of those who signed would become a public record and he says he does not want to expose them to the wrath of Adams and his supporters.
Wurster says several people approached him a couple months ago and expressed interest in mounting a professionally-managed effort but wanted to give him a chance to meet the statutory requirement of 32,183 signatures first. About a month ago, those people came back, this time with indications of financial support from people Wurster calls "business leaders."
"These are people who want to take the city in a better direction," says Wurster, whose recall effort was all-volunteer and had little financing. "They think Adams' behavior is having an economic impact on the city and hurting our reputation regionally and nationally."
He declines to name either the people who approached him orginally or those who have said they will support the new recall effort
"People fear retaliation," Wurster says. "We found that gathering signatures. It's very troubling when people fear participating in a democracy. It makes you wonder do we really have a democracy?"
Wurster, a 34-year-old political science student at Portland State University, says he is disappointed that he did not meet the recall threshold but feels he accomplished two goals: "We're on a path to hold Sam Adams accountable for lying," he says. "And we've got people talking about this issue rather than ignoring it."
Asked whether he wants to replace Adams or is a stalking horse for another candidate who hopes to replace Adams, Wurster answered "no," to both questions. He says he'll be ready to assist the new group but will leave the heavy lifting to new leaders and to paid signature gatherers.
"I'm ready for a vacation," Wurster says.