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Murmurs: Election Shows Portland Still Divided

Cutting the cords at food-cart pods.

  1. What can you say about a once-promising politician who lost? That he showed, even in a crushing defeat, Portland’s east-west divide still persists. State Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) says he got into the mayor’s race in large part to help bring attention to the needs of the city east of 82nd Avenue. In Charlie Hales’ 61 percent-to-31 percent victory, Smith lost in every precinct in the city, including his eastside home turf. (About 8 percent of voters cast write-in ballots.) The official results released by Multnomah County show Smith topped 42 percent of the vote in only eight of the city’s 102 precincts—all in East Portland. (See light-green areas above.) Hales won 70-plus percent of the vote in the monied westside precincts and his neighborhood, Eastmoreland (dark-green areas.)
  1. Gov. John Kitzhaber next week will name a new director for the embattled Oregon Department of Energy, still recovering from the lengthy 2010 Oregon Department of Justice investigation of agency contracting practices. She is Lisa Schwartz, a former senior staffer at the agency and the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Schwartz—currently with  the Regulatory Assistance Project, a national nonprofit that works on energy issues—will replace interim director Bob Repine.
  1. Someone is cutting the power cords to food carts, and two eastside pods are being hit hard: Green Castle, at Northeast 20th Avenue and Everett Street, and Rose City, at Northeast 52nd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard—both lots owned by developer Joe Westerman. Police think it’s vandals targeting specific carts. Flyin’ Hawaiian co-owner Jason Manolian relocated his cart to a pod at Southeast 50th Avenue and Foster Road after his cords were cut and stolen five times between May and October at Green Castle. “It’s $100 to $200 to replace,” Manolian says. “If it happens every few days, in the food-cart business that’s big.” Kate Edmonds, Westerman’s assistant, says security cameras are going in, and Westerman now fixes the damage without charge. “We’ve had concerns it’s competition,” she says. “But we don’t want to be conspiracy theorists about it.”