Murmurs: Kristof Files Appeal, Continues Fundraising

In other news: City Council to hear public testimony in protester settlement case.

KRISTOF FILES APPEAL, CONTINUES FUNDRAISING: Democratic candidate for governor Nicholas Kristof filed his brief with the Oregon Supreme Court on Jan. 14, arguing why he should be included on the May primary ballot. Kristof’s attorneys say Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a fellow Democrat, “erred” by excluding him from the ballot based primarily on his having voted in New York in 2020 and conducted various other aspects of his life there. Instead, Kristof argues, the determinative factor should be where he believes he resided: a “resident” is “someone who intends to be at home in Oregon and acts pursuant to that intent,” his brief says. Meanwhile, donations keep rolling in: LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman gave Kristof $50,000 on Jan. 13—a week after Fagan disqualified the onetime New York Times columnist—and former Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger gave him $15,000 on Jan. 3.

CITY COUNCIL TO HEAR PUBLIC TESTIMONY IN PROTESTER SETTLEMENT CASE: The Portland City Council will hear public testimony Jan. 19 before it votes to approve a $22,500 payout to a Tigard woman who filed a battery lawsuit against the city. Lydia Fuller alleges a Portland police officer shot her in the chest with a projectile from about half a block away as she fled a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020. As WW first reported, the city agreed to the settlement with Fuller in October. The case garnered public scrutiny because the City Attorney’s Office sought to dismiss it on the grounds that Fuller could not prove that the officer who fired the munition was with Portland Police Bureau and not the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office or Oregon State Police, agencies that assisted PPB during that protest. In response to WW’s story detailing the city’s deposition of Fuller, state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) called the city’s line of questioning “unethical and disgusting to me.”

LABOR COMMISSIONER RACE SHAPES UP: Two candidates to succeed Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle stepped forward this week. (Hoyle is running for Congress.) The first to announce: trial lawyer Christina Stephenson, who ran unsuccessfully for a House seat in Washington County in 2020 but attracted strong support from organized labor and trial lawyers. The second candidate is Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla, who was the first elected official to enter the Democratic primary for governor last year but has decided instead to set his sights on the nonpartisan position, which regulates workplaces and promotes apprenticeships and job training. Kulla says the labor commissioner’s responsibilities for protecting workers and promoting a more just, sustainable economy dovetail with the concerns that drew him into the governor’s race. “I’m very excited about it,” Kulla says.

RENTAL VACANCIES WILL CONTINUE TO DROP: An annual report by investor advisory agency Marcus & Millichap on multifamily housing says vacancies in Portland this year will continue to plummet, rent will rise moderately, and more people will shift to renting as prices of single-family home rise. “Housing shortages across the metro have resulted in single-family home prices surging to over six times the median household income, above the same ratio for the nation as a whole,” the Jan. 18 report reads. Construction of new multifamily buildings has slowed, meaning vacancy rates will once again fall. Developers are expected to increase available rental units by just 2% in 2022, according to the report—and vacancy is supposed to drop down to 2.8% by the end of the year. Rent is forecasted to rise just shy of 4%, a drop from last year. And the number of people moving to Portland from out of state remains steady, the forecast reports.