Former longtime Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten is inching his way back into politics, taking a gig as a senior advisor for Strategies 360, a Seattle-based political consulting and lobbying firm.
Sten, a Portland native who served as a commissioner from 1996 to 2008, left the city shortly after resigning mid-way through is fourth term.
He moved first to Bend and later to Seattle, where he continues to work in housing: For the past decade, he worked on a foreclosure prevention program with the state of Oregon and recently began working for Centri Capital, an affordable housing development and preservation fund started by Rey Ramsey, a former state of Oregon housing official.
Sten, now 51, got his start in City Hall as a staffer to then Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury (whose daughter, Deborah, is now the Multnomah County chairwoman).
Sten won election to city council when he was just 29. He focused on housing and led an effort, ultimately unsuccessful, for the city to purchase Portland General Electric when its then-parent company, Enron, slid into bankruptcy.
On Feb. 1, Sten joined Strategies 360, which is based in Seattle but has offices in 12 states.
Tim Raphael, a former spokesman for Gov. John Kitzhaber is stepping down as head of the 360's Oregon operation and moving to New Mexico to build the company's operation there.
Amy Ruiz, a former reporter for the Portland Mercury and aide to former Mayor Sam Adams, will succeed Raphael, with former House Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone) serving as the firms top Salem lobbyist.
Sten says he'll continue to live in Seattle but hopes to work on projects in Washington and Oregon. "I'll help with whatever makes sense in both states," Sten says. "In the Trump era, I've got the itch to be to a little more political than I've been in recent years."