North Portland entrepreneur and community organizer Fred Stewart
is “95 percent” sure he'll join the race for departing Commissioner Erik Sten's seat on the City Council.
“I've always wanted this job. I know I can do this job,” says Stewart, who now works in finance, has worked in real estate, and once turned a North Greeley strip club into a neighborhood bar (which then failed).
Stewart, 43, ran for the Oregon State House against State Sen. Margaret Carter
in 1992. Despite winning WW
's endorsement, he lost the race.
What would he add to the Council?
“Where to start? Everything from understanding what it's like to live in Portland if you don't have an education, all the way down to what it's like to be a black man in a town that's got very few of them,” Stewart says.
Mayor Tom Potter
recently called for more diversity on the City Council, and it seems like Portlanders are listening. Another black man, Harold Williams Two
, is also seeking Sten's seat, in what has quickly become the city's most interesting electoral contest. Other would-be Sten replacements, all white folks, include his chief of staff, Jim Middaugh
, Commissoner Dan Saltzman's chief of staff, Brendan Finn
, lawyer Nick Fish
, policy analyst Nick Popenuk
, psychotherapist Ed Garren
and land-use planner Tamara DeRidder
Stewart suggests that its more important for the Council to have “a diversity of experiences” than a diversity of skin colors. During the nasty debate over renaming North Interstate Avenue after César Chávez, the people calling the all-white, all-male Council a bunch of racists were “just idiots,” Stewart says.
“They're not racists, period,” he says.
Stewart certainly has an interesting background. A roving Army brat until his family settled in Portland when he was 11, he graduated from Cleveland High School and served six years in the Marines. He takes courses at Portland State University when time permits, though he has not finished a degree. He is divorced and has a daughter.
On the Council, Stewart says he'd like to carry on Sten's work on affordable housing and poverty. “When you've got a housing problem, you've got a poverty problem, period,” Stewart says.
“Once we get all those other issues resolved, we've got to deal with this issue of glorifying war,” Stewart says. “We need to start honoring the peace workers we've got in town. They're putting their lives in every bit as much at risk as my Marine brothers and sisters who are at war right now, except they're not doing it with guns.”
Mayoral candidate Sho Dozono
has hired a campaign manager.
has left a full-time job at the Portland Business Alliance to join the Dozono campaign, she tells WWire. Abbott says she's known Dozono for about 14 years, since she volunteered to work in Mayor Vera Katz
's office in 1994.
The campaign's press release follows:
SHO DOZONO NAMES AMIE ABBOTT CAMPAIGN MANAGER
PORTLAND, OREGON- With a little over one week to go until he turns in enough signatures to qualify as a candidate for Mayor, Sho Dozono today announced that Amie Abbott will be his Campaign Manager. Abbott brings a wealth of knowledge about City Hall and extensive contacts
with neighborhood and civic leaders from her years as an Assistant to Mayor Vera Katz and as Assistant to the President of the Portland Business Alliance.
"Amie Abbott is exactly the multi-talented person this grass-roots campaign needs", said Sho Dozono. "She knows the issues that Portlanders care about and she has the skills to organize the hundreds of volunteers I will ask to campaign for Portland's future", Dozono added.
Gale Castillo, the Chair of the Sho for Mayor Steering Committee had this to say about Amie Abbott: "I worked with Amie when she was a hardworking and effective Deputy Chief of Staff under Mayor Vera Katz and I look forward to working with her now in this exciting campaign that will reach out to involve Portlanders in every neighborhood of our City.
Abbott will be in charge of the campaign's day-to-day activities and will be the point of contact for media. ...