Sellwood Cycle Owner Mulls City Council Run Against Steve Novick

Portland Commissioner Steve Novick may have another opponent in his 2016 re-election campaign. 

Erik Tonkin, the 40-year-old owner of Sellwood Cycle Repair, says leaders in the bicycle community and others have approached him about running for Novick's seat. 

The small business owner (no relation to the family of car dealers) says it's not the botched street-fee proposal that's motivating him to consider a bid, although he says he is concerned about the way city officials handled that. 

He's been interested in city issues for years, he says. More recently, he was irked by the city's decision in March to ban bicycling in Southwest Portland's River View Natural Area—a move led by Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz, not Novick. 

So why target Novick? 

As WW reported last month, Novick's unfavorable rating with voters has jumped to more than 40 percent, making him vulnerable, despite the fact that incumbents rarely lose their seats on the Portland City Council. 

If he ran, Tonkin says he wouldn't limit himself to issues concerning bikes or small businesses.

“I care a lot about the role of bikes in this town,” says Tonkin. â€œBut I wouldn’t want to get pigeonholed in that way.” 

Nicholas Caleb, a Concordia University instructor who ran against Commissioner Dan Saltzman last year, already announced he's running for Novick's seat. Charles McGee, co-founder of the Black Parent Initiative nonprofit, has also said he is considering running.