September 7th, 2010 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Seating Arrangements at Oaks Park and Political Contributions, Celebrity Edition


Monday's Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park provided leading Democratic pols a chance to rub shoulders with the rank-and-file union members who are Democrats' leading source of cash. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden; U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, David Wu and Kurt Schrader occupied places of prominence on the dais and warmed up the crowd for a brief but fiery speech from gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber.

"We're going to put Oregon back to work," Kitzhaber told the crowd. "We're going to drive per capita income above the national average." (Oregon's per capita income is currently about 90 percent of the national average).

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler got the unenviable task of following Kitzhaber. Wheeler, an heir to a substantial timber fortune, gamely thanked his "labor brothers and sisters" and delivered a primer about the position he was appointed to after the death of his predecessor, Ben Westlund.

Amid all the other Democratic luminaries on stage, there was one notable absence: Portland Mayor Sam Adams. Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish filled in for him. Also present on stage: Metro Council President candidate Tom Hughes, whose strong support for building a new bridge over the Columbia has made him the labor pick over rival Bob Stacey, the former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, who watched from the audience.

Candidates hit Labor Day picnics and knocked on doors but few of them reported notable campaign contributions over the weekend. Here are two, however, that stood out more because of the names of the contributors than the amount they gave:

Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge gave a modest $1,000 contribution to his brother Doug, who is running for the Oregon House in District 30.

And Portland photographer Christopher Rauschenberg, whose father Robert was one of the leading American artists of the 20th century, gave Kitzhaber $1,000.
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