Readers Respond to an Endorsement Omission and the Sorry State of Portland’s Roads

“Oregonians are tired of sending representatives to serve us in Salem only for them to be bought by corporate donors.”

PBOT filling potholes (Chris Nesseth)


Why did you leave out the presidential primary option in your WW May 2024 endorsements?

There are two choices on the ballot for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden and Marianne Wiliamson. Yes, we know Biden has enough delegates, and he is the Democratic nominee. Yet ignoring this part of the Oregon primary ballot, as if it doesn’t even exist, is not complete reporting or accurate journalism.

With all the disgust for Biden being expressed in Portland and across the country in protest over his continued tolerance for funding the war on Palestine, you think the choice for another candidate who stands for a cease-fire would be an obvious choice to send Biden the message, and an easy endorsement for WW to make.

Usually, I respect your endorsements and consider them thoughtfully. But it makes me question the rest of your analysis if you intentionally leave out a vitally important part of the primary ballot completely. What else are you afraid of addressing? It seems cowardly that instead of making a choice, you simply refuse to address it at all.

Elysia Scholl


(Editor’s note: Marianne Williamson does not appear in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, our threshold for a meaningfully contested race.)


We appreciated the in-depth analysis of the context that led to the miserable state of Portland’s roads (“See Portland’s Biggest Pothole,” WW, April 24), as well as Willamette Week’s endorsement of a renewal of the local gas tax as a Band-Aid on our backlogged street maintenance needs. Unfortunately, the article contained a significant omission: The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s woes are in no small part due to the failure of the state Legislature to find more funding for city and county needs.

Despite commitments to climate action and financial responsibility, the Legislature has for decades recklessly pursued endless freeway expansion over maintenance of their existing roads, spending literal billions on megaprojects that don’t fix congestion while local communities face daunting rises in traffic fatalities and deteriorating streets. The Legislature has the opportunity next year to take a “back to basics” approach and prioritize developing sustainable funding for local communities over giving the Oregon Department of Transportation a blank check to continue with adding multiple new lanes through the Rose Quarter. Local streets across the state will continue to suffer without legislators undertaking a difficult conversation about whether addressing the uptick in fatalities is more important than appeasing the powerful bipartisan highway lobby.

Chris Smith and Joe Cortright

No More Freeways


This May, I was thrilled to see WW’s endorsement of Rep. Farrah Chaichi, who is running for reelection in Oregon’s 35th House District (Aloha, Northwest Beaverton, Cedar Hills). As a former union organizer, Farrah’s dedication to safeguarding collective bargaining rights of Oregon’s workers is just one of many reasons why I am supporting her campaign. During the 2022 election cycle, I managed the Oregon AFL-CIO canvasser team, and of all our endorsed candidates, Farrah was the easiest to pitch at the doors. Her lived experience with housing displacement and her social justice efforts in Beaverton garnered support from voters who were just hearing her name for the first time. During her first term in office, Farrah proved her unwavering commitment to progressive ideals by sponsoring legislation that resisted the status quo of Oregon’s Democratic Party. She introduced House Bill 3505, protecting employees from being exploited by the independent contractor classification loophole, and House Bill 3501, prohibiting the sweeps of unhoused people.

Oregonians are tired of sending representatives to serve us in Salem only for them to be bought by corporate donors. Their endless pandering and empty promises are becoming redundant and exhausting. Farrah is a refreshing alternative to what we have grown used to expecting. Her allegiance lies with working Oregonians, who elected Farrah for her lifelong advocacy of our fundamental human rights to quality education, living wages, accessible health care and affordable housing. A vote for Farrah’s reelection is a step toward a more truly representative state democracy.

Gabby Mijalski-Fahim

South Portland

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