State Rep. Rob Nosse Explains Why He’ll Vote Against Proposed Portland Charter Changes

The inner Southeast Portland lawmaker is as progressive as they come, but he’s a hard “no.”

As measured by the number of registered Republican voters, House District 42 in inner Southeast Portland is the bluest in the state. (Democrats outnumber the 1,833 Republicans in the district by more than 18 to 1.) It is represented in the Oregon House by state Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland).

When Nosse, 54, came to WW’s office for an endorsement interview Sept. 30, we asked the four-term incumbent to cite an example of where he’d demonstrated independence by taking a position at odds with the progressive groups that support him. (Nosse is a former employee of Service Employees International Union and the Oregon Nurses Association and one of them most reliably progressive members of the House.)

Nosse, who chairs the House Committee on Behavioral Health, pointed not to a legislative issue but to a hot topic at City Hall—the three-pronged charter reform measure on the November ballot. (The proposed reforms would implement a version of ranked-choice voting; create four geographic districts with three representatives each; and turn control of bureaus over to a mayor and city administrator.)

Nosse announced his opposition Sept. 30 in his regular column in the Southeast Examiner newspaper.

He expects his opposition to the proposed reforms will be unpopular with many historical allies. “When I go to the website of the people that are in favor it it—it’s all my friends, all my organizational buddies,” Nosse said. “I think I’m going to have a couple of bad weeks.”

Watch his full answer here.