With Musical Fanfare, Liv Osthus Files for Portland Mayor’s Race

Her move toward a candidacy has been brewing for months.

Liv Osthus Files to Run for Mayor of Portland Liv Osthus files to run for the office of mayor of Portland, at City Hall, Portland, Oregon, on June 5, 2024 © John Rudoff 2024 (John Rudoff/Photo Credit: ©John Rudoff 2024)

Game on.

Liv Osthus, stage name “Viva Las Vegas,” icon of Portland’s music, arts and stripper scenes, formally filed to run for mayor of Portland on Wednesday afternoon. Accompanied by a small band of children, friends, streamers, trumpets and drums, Osthus walked from a gathering on the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge to City Hall, to be among the first candidates formally to file. (About two dozen candidates formally filed yesterday, the first day they could do so.)

Accompanied by four or five children—one of them her own—she entered City Hall, put down the $100 fee, filed the paperwork, and emerged a few minutes later.

Her move toward a candidacy has been brewing for months, with an organizational meeting at Holocene in February, followed by rapidly signing up volunteers—now more than 70—for the details of a campaign: web management, legal advice, graphics, events, and above all fundraising. Her campaign manager, Jessie Glenn, reports that she is about halfway to accumulating the 750 vetted donations she needs to qualify for matching funds.

The candidacy may seem quixotic: Osthus has a storied (and still active) career as a stripper at Mary’s Club, which has fostered material for several of her published books. Her chops in punk rock date back to Satyricon, and she’s been lionized in documentaries, an opera, and endless articles. None of this is typical grist for the grind of politics—any more than was being a barkeeper in Goose Hollow a political career path for Bud Clark. But hers is no goof or vanity project. Her platform sits on the twin supports of science and measurement, hitched to kindness, the power and insight of the local arts community, and optimism.

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