Portland Will Have a Contested Race for City Auditor

A notable candidate to unseat Commissioner Dan Ryan withdrew her candidacy last month.

A Portland City Council meeting in December 2017. (Thomas Teal)

Two candidates are vying to become the next Portland city auditor—the official who oversees how well the city’s bureaus function.

The first candidate, who filed with the city’s elections office in December, is Simone Rede, who has worked as a senior management auditor at Metro and prior to that was a staff auditor with the state of Oregon. She previously worked in some of Portland’s alternative schools as an advocate for continuing education.

“I am running for city auditor because I want to make city government more accountable and accessible to the public,” Rede said in a statement. “I’m excited to build on the office’s efforts to protect its independence, ensure that services are provided equitably, and grow public understanding of city functions.”

The second candidate, who has not yet formally filed with the city, is Brian Setzler, a certified public accountant who previously worked as an auditor for two international accounting firms, and also worked for Washington state in its revenue department. He’s a board member for Livelihood NW, a nonprofit that helps minority business owners grow their businesses.

Portland’s current auditor, Mary Hull Caballero, has served in the position since 2015. She’s delivered scathing reports on the Office of Civic & Community Life, and battled Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty over the phasing out of the Independent Police Review, which Hull Caballero oversees. She announced she would not be seeking reelection last October.

The city’s next auditor will oversee a $11.6 million annual budget and around 50 employees.

Meanwhile, two candidates have dropped out of the race to unseat Commissioner Dan Ryan.

Jamila Dozier, who works for the Portland Housing Bureau as a housing policy coordinator, announced her decision to withdraw from the race Dec . 21. On the withdrawal form, she stated her reason for withdrawal: “There is nothing more important to me than finding real solutions to the housing crisis. In order to focus on building capacity within community based organizations that are already doing the work on the ground, I am withdrawing my [candidacy]”.

Dozier told the Portland Mercury last week: “Our city’s problems are systemic, and at this time, they cannot be solved from within the system that created them.”

A right-wing videographer named Brandon Farley withdrew from the race for the position, too, stating mental health reasons.

On Jan. 3, a man named Michael Simpson filed his candidacy for Ryan’s seat. He attended Portland Community College for two years and listed two prior jobs as a canvasser for the AFL-CIO and a “balloon artist for kids’ parties.”

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty faces a growing list of challengers, nearly all of them men.

Joining the list this week are Dale Hardt and Chad Leisey. Both are white men. Hardt listed no prior government experience and no current occupation. Leisey listed himself as a longtime business owner who is now pursuing a pilot’s license. He also said he was a volunteer firefighter for eight years.

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