NIKE EXECUTIVE MULLS MAYORAL BID: The race for Portland mayor may soon get more interesting. Piper Crowell, who works as Nike's director of global and innovation policy, has been quietly preparing to enter the race against incumbent Mayor Ted Wheeler. Crowell, 34, started at Nike in June 2017 after a stint working for Pandora, the streaming music provider, in Washington, D.C., and, earlier, four years working for U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.). She is a 2007 graduate of Amherst College, where she played goalkeeper on the soccer team. If Crowell enters the race, she will join leading challenger Sarah Iannarone and nine other candidates seeking to unseat Wheeler in May. Crowell has missed the deadline to file for public financing and so would have to raise money in the traditional fashion. She'll have to look outside the Nike berm—her employer already has given Wheeler $10,000 for his re-election campaign. "Yes, I'm seriously exploring a run for Mayor," Crowell tells WW. "I love Portland and am proud to call this city home, but we are not living up to our full promise in so many areas. It's not a question of opportunity or the potential of our people, it's a question of leadership and priorities. We can and we must do better."
CONTROVERSIAL POST COMMANDER RESIGNS: Gregory Isaacson, a conservative protester and city of Portland employee, resigned Feb. 3 as commander of American Legion Post 134 after a unanimous no-confidence vote held at the post's Northeast Alberta Street headquarters. Isaacson's election as post commander drew scrutiny in January from military veterans who said his attendance at Patriot Prayer protests ran counter to the post's mission of being a welcoming space. American Legion officials from state and district offices were in attendance for the no-confidence vote, along with about seven Post 134 members, according to a person who was present. Isaacson is still welcome to attend post events and vote in elections, including the Feb. 16 vote for a replacement commander. He declined to comment on the vote, but tells WW he wants the post to be "a place of common ground."
BUDGET GROUP WANTS CHANGE: It's budget season at City Hall, and the citizen advisory committee to the Bureau of Development Services included a highly unusual request: to change the city's form of government. The committee requested that city government change from its current form—in which elected commissioners who may lack managerial experience oversee bureaus—to a city manager form of government, in which a professional manager runs them. "The commissioner form of government encourages the siloing of culture and processes between bureaus and decreases collaboration," the committee wrote Jan. 14. "This dynamic negatively impacts programs and services that cross multiple City bureaus, such as the development review process." Mayor Ted Wheeler agrees. "I share their concerns," Wheeler says. "I am determined to be the last mayor of Portland who serves under this form of government."
SOBERING STATION CLOSURE LEADS TO LAYOFFS: Ripple effects continue from the Jan. 3 closure of a sobering center where Portland police took intoxicated people. Twenty-three employees were laid off from the Sobering Station run by Central City Concern. Mercedes Elizalde, public policy director at Central City Concern, said employees were notified of the layoffs Jan. 2, and will receive pay for 30 days following that notification. David Kreisman, communications director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 75, told WW that the station's "abrupt closure puts undue stress not only on the employees who proudly operated it but the community members who found themselves in need of its services." The Sobering Station had operated for 40 years. Central City Concern cited an increase in "agitated" patients, particularly from stimulant drug use, in shuttering the facility.