Northwest Oregon Labor Council Endorses City Council Candidates

The endorsements suggest the Labor Council will have significant crossover with the Portland Metro Chamber’s political action committee.

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council's annual picnic. (Justin Katigbak)

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council in late May released its endorsements for Portland City Council, a 12-member body that will be decided on the November 2024 ballot.

The endorsements were issued a little while ago, but they’re worth noting now because of the pivotal role organized labor plays in Democratic Party politics—and the middle ground it occupies between business interests and social justice nonprofits, which are expected to be at each other’s throats this fall for control of a remade City Hall.

The Labor Council is a collection of local unions that include IBEW Local 48, AFSCME Local 189 and LiUNA Local 483. The council’s annual Labor Day Picnic is the kickoff of election season and a can’t-miss event for Democratic candidates (this year, it will held at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds).

While some of the candidates endorsed by the Labor Council are notably progressive (Candace Avalos, executive director of the climate nonprofit Verde, and Tiffany Koyama Lane, a teacher at Portland Public Schools), others are more moderate, including Eric Zimmerman, who currently works as chief of staff to Multnomah County Commissioner Julia Brim-Edwards, and current City Commissioner Dan Ryan.

The Labor Council’s endorsements suggest that the labor union picks will have significant crossover with the endorsements of the political action committee United for Portland, which was set up by the Portland Metro Chamber, which historically has helped bankroll the campaigns of business-friendly candidates. Likely crossover candidates include Zimmerman, Olivia Clark, Dan Ryan and Tony Morse.

Meanwhile, some of the Labor Council’s endorsements are likely to align with endorsements made by progressive nonprofits that tend to favor younger, more progressive candidates. The endorsements likely to overlap include Avalos and Steph Routh in District 1, Jonathan Tasini in District 2 and Koyama Lane in District 3.

The endorsed candidates are as follows:

District 1, Portland east of I-205: Steph Routh, Candace Avalos, Jamie Dunphy

District 2, North and Northeast Portland: Jonathan Tasini, Dan Ryan, Elana Pirtle-Guiney

District 3, Southeast Portland west of I-205: Steve Novick, Tiffany Koyama Lane

District 4, west of the Willamette River: Tony Morse, Olivia Clark, Eric Zimmerman

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