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Murmurs: Two of Three Major Candidates File to Run for Governor

In other news: Evictions ramp up in Multnomah County.

TWO OF THREE MAJOR CANDIDATES FILE TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR: State Treasurer Tobias Read and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) have filed to run for governor in the Democratic primary, on Nov. 15 and 16, respectively. Nicholas Kristof, the former journalist who has raised as much as his two foes combined, has not. One significance of filing, WW has learned, is that it triggers an automatic check by the Secretary of State’s Office to confirm the candidate meets the constitutional qualifications to run. For Kotek and Read, who’ve held elected office since 2006, that won’t be an issue. For Kristof, who voted in New York last year, meeting the three-year residency requirement to run for governor could be a hurdle. His attorney insists he meets the standard, but voters won’t know until the secretary of state rules. Kristof’s spokeswoman Melissa Navas says the delay is not intentional. “There is no requirement that a candidate file immediately after announcing for office, and it hasn’t really been the norm here in Oregon,” she says. “Right now, we’re focused on building up the campaign.”

EVICTIONS RAMP UP IN MULTNOMAH COUNTY: Landlords have filed for 62 nonpayment evictions in Multnomah County since Nov. 1. In October, they filed 126. That number is likely to spike, says Becky Straus of the Oregon Law Center, as more tenants lose their 90-day safe harbor from eviction, which applies if they sought state rental assistance but the money still hasn’t reached their landlord. One of the county’s biggest evictors is Legacy Property Management. Since July 1, when the state’s eviction moratorium ended, Legacy has filed for 43 nonpayment evictions with the court. That number does not necessarily mean 43 households have been kicked out of their homes; if tenants showed up for their court date, it’s possible they were helped by a county team to apply for rental assistance, setting over their court date an additional 90 days. A representative for Legacy declined to comment.

CITY MUST TURN OVER POLICE CELLPHONE NUMBERS: Public interest lawyer and political activist Alan Kessler won another public records case against the city of Portland in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week. This win is different from his recent victories to get personnel numbers that identify Portland police officers who covered up their name tags during street protests. In the new case, Kessler prevailed in a dispute with City Hall over whether employees’ personal cellphone numbers constitute public records. At issue were text messages Kessler requested from the city that included messages from personal cellphones. The city declined to share the personal cellphone numbers attached to some of the texts; Kessler argued Oregon law says such numbers are public information. “The City’s interpretation is inconsistent with both the plain language of the statute and with the Attorney General’s interpretation of that statute as set out in its Public Records and Meetings Manual,” Judge Shelley Russell wrote in a Nov. 10 opinion. “The Oregon Public Records Act is a disclosure law, not a secrecy law,” Kessler says, calling the ruling a “vindication of my yearlong effort to get the city to release metadata about communications to and from city-owned cellphones.” The City Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

PORTLANDERS PROVE EVEN MORE GENEROUS: Give!Guide surpassed $750,000 in donations to local nonprofits on Nov. 15. That’s a full four days ahead of the pace in 2020, six days ahead of 2019, and 12 days ahead of 2018. Give!Guide is Willamette Week’s annual campaign to raise funds for—and draw attention to—the good works of local nonprofits. Donate $10 or more on Nov. 18 and you could win one of four $250 gift certificates from Atlas Tattoo. You can join the giving at giveguide.org.