UPDATE, 11:10 pm: At the Casa Colima Mexican Restaurant in southwest Portland, Dr. Sharon Meieran was in good spirits, as returns showed her with a 37 percentage-point lead in her race for a Multnomah County Commission seat.
The latest results showed Meieran with an insurmountable lead of 68 percent to 31 percent.
"My first order of business, my passion and my priority is addressing the mental health care crisis. We really are in a crisis," Meieran said. "I think voters appreciated that I had the real world experience of the implications of the policies that represent how politicians think."
On the day of her election, Meieran was already dishing up mental health support. With presidential results still too close to call, she weighed in on the balance between national and local governments.
"If Trump wins? Vomit. But at the local level, we really can move the dial," Meieran said. "We really can have an effect on our local communities. And whatever the resources are that we have, we need to use them in the most effective way possible to help the most people that we can."
The scene at the Old Town gay bar Hobo's, where Eric Zimmerman held his campaign party, was subdued.
Zimmerman made his own concession speech.
"It's been a long couple of months, and it's not going to happen tonight," Zimmerman said, his voice cracking with emotion. "But I have a feeling, of all the losing campaigns, this is the best party tonight. I love this town and I'm not done."
Zimmerman stood huddled with friends and family, waiting to watch on four TVs stationed over the bar the results that his fundraiser, Jay Clark, discussed with a reporter.
"He should run again, but I don't want to say that too loud," Clark said, glancing nervously at his candidate.
As the results posted on TV, a supporter stepped up to offer a toast.
"We will have Eric in as city commissioner or as city councilman as a step toward mayor," said Steven Lin, owner of the downtown boutique Under U 4 Men.
A cheer went up.
"And now back to the Trump shit show," someone in the crowd yelled.
ORIGINAL POST, 8:23 pm: Dr. Sharon Meieran is leading the race to represent District 1 on the Multnomah County Commission with 68 percent of the vote, according to partial returns at 8 pm.
Opponent Eric Zimmerman, chief of staff to Commissioner Diane McKeel, drew 31 percent of the vote.
The match up between Meieran, an emergency room doctor making her second run for public office, began as an uneven one. Meieran far outpaced Zimmerman in the May primary, winning 42 percent of the vote compared with the 22 percent of votes that put Zimmerman in second place in the seven-way race.
But Zimmerman seized the public debate about homelessness to his advantage, declaring he would turn the mothballed Wapato Jail into a temporary homeless shelter, a move that pleased downtown business interests who are part of District 1's constituents. (District 1 covers Multnomah County's westside, downtown Portland and parts of inner-Southeast Portland.)
Meieran, though, vastly outspent Zimmerman, raising about $400,000 compared with his $166,000. They split the endorsements from major Portland newspapers, with WW and The Portland Mercury going with Meieran and The Oregonian and The Portland Tribune siding with Zimmerman.
The winner replaces Commissioner Jules Bailey, who declined to run for his seat again so he could make a bid (unsuccessful) for mayor of Portland.
Meieran previously ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature.
—WW staff writer Beth Slovic contributed reporting to this piece.