Portland Public Schools board member Julia Brim-Edwards today officially entered the race for the open seat on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
That seat is on the May ballot because Jessica Vega Pederson, who formerly held Position 3, won election to the county chair spot in November. Former Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), who was Vega Pederson’s designated successor, will occupy the seat until the May election is decided.
Brim-Edwards, who left her position as a senior director at Nike in 2022, is in her third term on the Portland Public Schools board and also serves as a trustee at Oregon State University. She will face Ana del Rocio, a former aide to Vega Pederson and onetime member of the David Douglas School Board, in May and Albert Kaufman, a longtime community activist.
Like del Rocio, Brim-Edwards has lined up a long list of supporters, including former Gov. Barbara Roberts, former state Sens. Avel Gordley and Margaret Carter (D-Portland), and Albina Vision Trust chair Rukaiyah Adams.
At the top of Brim-Edwards’ list of priorities: housing. She’d like to “create more housing options more quickly as well as a continuum of shelter options with bathrooms, showers, trash collection, security, and mental health and drug treatment services.”
The May 16 ballot, as in most off-year contests, is relatively thin: It will feature school board races and, in Multnomah County, a proposal to impose a new capital gains tax to fund lawyers for tenants facing eviction.
That will give voters a chance to focus on the county board, which, with its control of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, commands vast resources—$256 million this year—to tackle the region’s most pressing challenge.
“We all want the same thing: a safe, affordable, and thriving place to live, work and raise a family,” Brim-Edwards said. “I have a long track record of fixing problems to make life better for people in this community. That kind of effective, hands-on leadership has never been more important.”