Readers Respond to Earl Blumenauer’s Retirement

“He’s a good egg.”

The race to succeed U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer began moments after he told WW on Oct. 30 that he would not seek a 15th term representing Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District. Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales are running; state Reps. Maxine Dexter and Thuy Tran are considering it. (But not former County Chair Deborah Kafoury or state Rep. Travis Nelson. See page 5.) What nobody can do is replace Blumenauer, a singular figure in Oregon public life whose signature bow tie and annual holiday fruitcakes belied a cutting intelligence and disdain for fools. Blumenauer offered a gloomy self-assessment to our newsroom (“Exit Interview: Earl Blumenauer,” Nov. 1) but said he hoped to help Portland recover its equilibrium. Readers were more generous in their appraisal of him.

Streetsblog New York, via Twitter: “America, we have lost a giant in Congress.”

Davero, via wweek.com: “Not sure what he ever did for anyone other than bicycle riders or pot smokers, but he himself became fabulously wealthy during his career of public service.”

Dizzy Django, via Reddit: “He’s a good egg. He always makes himself visible, open to interviews and isn’t afraid to take stances.

“Politics aside, he embraces the ‘public’ in public servant. Something we desperately need more.”

Matt Rice, via Twitter: “I genuinely love to see members give exclusives to their hometown papers rather than D.C. outlets.”

Sophlady, via wweek.com: “U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer is mistaken in his assumption that no Willamette Week readers care about issues of public policy, such as flood insurance and other environmental concerns. Some of us do. Having kept his nose to the grindstone has helped society.”

flashsteve, via wweek.com: “I was listening to Earl being interviewed on OPB on Tuesday. The fawning host allowed him to spew about his great success, particularly in the area of transportation. I no longer live in Portland (left in ‘94), but when I return to visit, transportation via any mode (bike, MAX, driving, etc.) is much less efficient, and much more dangerous than when I lived there. During the Earl years, things have gone downhill dramatically. Of course, it is not his fault, but I would love to see someone do a bit of a mega-analysis of the impact of government policies/decisions on the worsening of transport in PDX.”

AdvancedInstruction, via Reddit: “2024 is going to be a bloodbath in Portland.

“An open CD3 primary, all 12 City Council seats up for grabs, several county commission and Metro Council seats, the mayorship, ballot measures, the three central-city state senate seats being up for reelection, as well as every state rep seat.

“People are going to be jostling and jockeying for what races to run in, and we’re going to have some very odd outcomes because of the sheer number of people running and low percentages to win primaries.

“There are already three candidate boot camps, one for the Democratic Socialists of America, one for labor, one for the Portland Business Alliance...and I’m sure there are more that Willamette Week hasn’t reported on.

“A game of thrones, with (at least for CD3) all of the candidates being worse than the person being replaced. Kill me.”

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: P.O. Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296 Email: mzusman@wweek.com

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