Adviser to Portland Mayor Mulls Bid for Senate Seat, Calls on Sen. Rod Monroe to Drop Out of Race

Andrea Valderrama, who works in the mayor's office as a senior policy adviser and serves on the David Douglas school board, is weighing a run.

A policy adviser to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says she's mulling a run for state Senate and today called on Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland) to drop his reelection bid, saying renters needed better leadership in Oregon's housing crisis.

Monroe already faces a significant challenger: former Rep. Shemia Fagan, a fellow Democrat, who has positioned herself to the left of Monroe for the May 2018 primary.

Now Andrea Valderrama says she may run too, but only if Monroe steps aside.

Primary challenges for an incumbent are uncommon, but Monroe opposed Democrat-backed legislation to restrict "no-cause" evictions and end the state's ban on rent control during the legislative session this year.

Fagan, who cited Monroe's record on the housing vote, has lined up a Democratic establishment endorsements for her campaign, including County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer.

Multiple sources told WW that Valderrama was also considering a run, but she says she won't enter the race unless Monroe drops out.

"There is a housing crisis in our community and we need strong and representative leadership who will stand up for renters and those struggling with housing instability," says Valderrama, who has also served on the David Douglas School Board.

"As a constituent of Sen. Monroe and a locally elected leader, I urge him to not seek reelection and allow for new leadership," she adds. "I am considering running if the seat becomes an open primary."

Monroe did not respond to requests for comment. On July 31, he told The Oregonian he would mount a "well-run, well-funded campaign" to rebuff Fagan.

The next day, a former tenant of an apartment complex Monroe owns in East Portland sued him and the property management company for $3 million in Multnomah County Circuit Court, saying she was injured by slipping in a puddle caused by a leaky roof Monroe failed to fix.

Related: Sen. Rod Monroe endures a challenging week.

Wheeler is not endorsing in the race, but offered praise for Valderrama's work.

"Andrea is a trusted member of my team, a dedicated member of the David Douglas School Board, and would bring an important and necessary perspective to this campaign," Wheeler said.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.