It took a while, but Loretta Smith issued a statement following her loss in the Aug. 11 special election runoff to fill the seat vacated in January by late Commissioner Nick Fish's death from abdominal cancer.
Smith, who served on the Multnomah County Commission from 2011 to 2019, lost her first race for City Council in 2018 by 62% to 37% to now-Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.
Smith came much closer this time, losing to Commissioner-elect Dan Ryan by 51% to 48%, a difference of 5,374 votes.
Although media outlets, led by The Oregonian, called the race for Ryan the morning of Aug. 12, Smith's campaign did not concede or respond to requests for comment until late on Aug. 14, when she issued a statement on Facebook.
Here is that statement:
I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your support during this election, and although the outcome was not the result we had hoped, I could not be prouder of the campaign we ran. Our focus on giving voice to people struggling to survive—in every ZIP code, and our audacity to think big and demand our city reimagine public safety and policing by eliminating $50 million from the Police budget and reinvesting these resources in community-centric approaches were positions worth running on— and policies still worth fighting for. This moment was never about any one campaign or any one individual—it was about our collective call to action to dream bigger, to live bolder.
We cannot merely find satisfaction in our neighbors' display of Black Lives Matter signs when yet still we have only one Black elected official in Portland. We cannot merely find solace in our neighbors marching in a Black Lives Matter protest, when far too many of our Black youth are disproportionately represented in our jails and are falling through the cracks of our schools. And finally, we cannot continue to find satisfaction in the Black Lives Matter movement itself, when Black people in our community continuously experience living under the rule of a double standard, whether it be in our local press, our corporate board rooms or indeed our political establishment.
For all of us who genuinely believe that Black Lives actually do matter, I call on you to stop being silent and complacent to the anti-blackness that has permeated every facet of our community. Indeed, we cannot truly call ourselves a progressive city when progress is not being made for Black people in Portland.
I will continue to fight the good fight in whatever chapter lies next for me and invite you to get in good trouble, necessary trouble, with me as well.
In love and spirit,