September 02, 2003

(Updated) Congressman Earl Blumenauer Announces He Will Not Launch Mayoral Campaign

Note: This post has been updated. Any and all updates appear at the end of the original post.

In a sometimes emotional statement, Congressman Earl Blumemauer this morning announced that he will not be mounting a campaign to become Portland's next Mayor.

"This was an extremely difficult decision," said Blumenauer. "The issues here in Portland are compelling to me. This is my home, and we have many challenges to meet.

"But as I look at what is happening to our nation and the world -- and how those issues also affect Portland and its people -- it has become clear to me that what Portland needs is strong, effective leadership in the United States Congress. And I believe this is the place I can do the most good."

Expressing his belief that running for re-election to Congress is the best way for him to make a difference, Blumenauer added, "At the end of the day, making a difference is what it's supposed to be about."

"We could be an island here," he said, referring to Portland, "but if we lose the national battles, it's not going to matter."

Asked about the obvious emotionality and sincerity which showed through his reading of a prepared statement, he said: "I think that's what politics is supposed to be about."

Earlier this year, Congressman Blumenauer held a series of events across Portland to discuss a vision for the city. "I will put together a 30-minute presentation," he said, "or a 30-page report on where we are and where we're going."

"Portland is on the right track," he said. "The issue is we're entering a new era." And that, he added without elaborating any specifics, means there may be some hard things we're going to have to do.

Now, we await word from Commissioner Erik Sten, who has been considering his own mayoral campaign in the event Blumenauer bowed out of the race.

September 02, 2003


Other coverage: KGW, KATU, AP.

September 02, 2003


It's of course no surprise that I am disappointed by Blumenauer's decision. I think that his would have been an invaluable contribution to the rather important conversation about Portland's future that the forthcoming mayoral campaign absolutely needs to be.

While Commissioner Sten certainly qualifies as being in the same general political ballpark for me, I'm just not convinced that he's ready to be Mayor -- and not merely because he's going to get hammered by the Water Bureau billing system fiasco.

It is my hope that Blumenauer's eventual presentation or report on finding a vision for Portland (largely an outgrowth of the series of conversations he had around town) can still manage to serve as something of a centerpiece for the campaign, and that perhaps Blumenauer himself can still find for himself a role to play in what is sure to be an utterly critical mayoral election.

September 02, 2003


Word out of Sten's office is as follows: "At this point, Erik has given a great deal of thought to the Mayor's race but he is not ready to make any announcement. I think he'll have something to say in a week or so."

September 02, 2003


For those who'd like it, here (pdf) is the text of Blumenauer's prepared statement.

September 02, 2003


KOIN finally put their story up as well.

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Comments (6)

  1. Dave Lister on 02 Sep 2003

    I, for one, am surprised by Blumenauer's decision. Especially since most everyone thought he would win handily if he ran. I have my own theory as to why he made his decision and I don't think it has to do with making a greater contribution to the common good by remaining in Congress.

    Portland politics has become a hornet's nest in the last year or so and the rank and file citizenry are becoming more and more vocal concerning "Smart Growth", transportation issues, business retention and taxation. I think Congressman Blumenauer is absolutely in touch with this wind shift and realized that the causes he would like to champion as mayor would be met with extreme resistance. Folks are much more concerned with the here and now than they are with a future vision for Portland. Maybe the Congressman figures four more years will let some of these issues shake out and the economy to improve. After that, "Sim City" style city government might come back into style. I don't think it's in style right now.

  2. Noah@AllianceWatch on 02 Sep 2003

    I am interested about how Earl's announcement will affect Sam Adams political career. Adams had previously announced that he would either go for Earl's seat in congress (if Earl ran for Mayor) or Francesconi's City Council seat. Does this put Sam Adams clearly in competition with Nick Fish for the City Council seat?

    P.S. I get to call him Earl since he is my neighbor. :)

  3. Matt on 02 Sep 2003

    I'm feeling kind of shocked by his not running... I was all set to volunteer for his campaign and work to help get a public figure I actually like and have a fair amount of trust in into the mayor's office.

    It's a good thing we have a long time before the election to get a feel for who'll be best for Portland.

  4. The One True b!X on 02 Sep 2003

    Well, some links over heresay that Adams indeed was running for Blumenauer's seat if Blumenauer ran for Mayor, but a Council seat if Blumenauer stayed put. But I could have sworn that something had come out in which Adams ruled out a Council run altogether.

    But anyway there are in fact two spots open on the City Council, so who knows who is up against whom.

  5. The One True b!X on 02 Sep 2003

    In surreal news, there I was watching tonight's late edition of the news on KGW, and there's a shot of Blumenauer at his news conference. In the background, there's this blurry, out-of-focus figure looking downward at his Steno pad as he flips through its pages.

    Hey wait, I think to myself. What the Hell? Oh, that's my shirt. And that's my hat.

    That's me. Blurry, out-of-focus, and in the background.

  6. Jack Peek on 25 Sep 2005

    Stealing it all from "the BOG":

    , Earl the Pearl, has been making news. He was the Capitol Hill Nostradamus on Hurricane Katrina. Now he's made a list of top 35 members of Congress for taking trips at private groups' expense over the last six years or so. He's number 34 out of 633. That's just two behind Hillary!

    Check out the story. He sure has embarked on some interesting junkets on other people's dimes. Istanbul (scroll down), Beijing, Switzerland, Rome, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska... $86,770 worth. And here I thought he was working his a*s off in D.C. for me.

    When he cried at that press conference announcing that he wouldn't run for mayor of Portland:

    I looked at some of your posting and thought, ARE THESE PEOPLE REALLY OK WITH THIS IDIOT?

    In keeping with the notion of "keep Portland weird!" GUESS NOT!

Trackbacks (1)

  1. Have bow tie, will travel on 21 Sep 2005

    My congressman, Earl the Pearl, has been making news. He was the Capitol Hill Nostradamus on Hurricane Katrina. Now he's made a list of top 35 members of Congress for taking trips at private groups' expense over the last six...