Readers Respond to the Unconventional Candidacy of Betsy Johnson

Her critics include Steve Novick and Sarah Iannarone.

Last week, WW kicked off 2022 with interviews of five people with demands to change Portland (“Voices,” Jan. 5, 2022). The most provocative remarks came from Betsy Johnson, formerly a Democrat and state senator. Now she’s running for governor as a candidate unaffiliated with any political party. That’s not entirely a departure: Johnson, the Scappoose heir to a timber fortune and owner of a helicopter company, has long served as a brake on Democratic policy ambitions. She now pledges to save Oregon from Portland, which she describes as “an accelerating death spiral disaster.” Here’s what our readers had to say.

Steve Novick, via Facebook: “I like Betsy Johnson personally, a lot. But she is firmly opposed to doing anything about climate chaos. I would hope that, for many people, that will count as much as if she opposed vaccinations.”

Sarah Iannarone, via Twitter:Willamette Week thinking Betsy Johnson has answers for Portland when (a) she doesn’t live here, and (b) all she does is slam us left and right every chance she gets is some next-level political you-know-what-ery. “But hey, they endorsed Ted Wheeler, too, so [shrug emoji].”

Doug Larsen, via wweek.com: “I’m tired of seeing tribal, partisan hacks in government. Despite what many people seem to believe, most Oregonians are NOT card-carrying Marxists or Trump-worshiping cultists. Most Oregonians are center-left or center-right. If Johnson is pissing off extremists on both the left and right, that tells me she’s probably onto something.”

Willyz house, via wweek.com: “For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling optimistic as an Oregonian. If she just follows through on the accountability point, she’ll turn this state around. “If I didn’t have personal experience with her, I’d be wondering if this was all talk. But I do have experience with her as a constituent, both as someone who needed something done and as the person that needed to be moved to get something done for someone else. In both cases, her follow-through, no-bullshit approach, and tenacity got the problem solved. “She’s got my vote.”

thedeadtext, via wweek.com: “That she would even hint at being like McCall should be disqualifying. What is her big cross-party success? Other than being a curmudgeon to Dem efforts.”

Jake Dockter, via wweek.com: “Why is @wweek platforming Betsy Johnson as possible positive? She has ties to Timber Unity that have not been addressed and should be of concern.”

Suzanne Puttman, via Facebook: “I have heard only good things about Betsy Johnson. After seeing how Democrats have destroyed Portland, they lost my vote.”

KarlaV, via wweek.com: “She had me until her milquetoast answer grading Trump. Maybe she’s just making sure she turns off any Trumpers, but anyone who doesn’t call him out for the dangerous man he is…well, she won’t get my vote now.”

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296 Email: mzusman@wweek.com