With filing closed, Dirksen a lock for Metro Council; two seats will have races
FLICKR PHOTO BY THOMAS LE NGO
Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen, seen here at the 2010 opening of WES commuter rail, is unopposed in his campaign for Metro Council.
One Metro Council election was all but decided Tuesday, when only one candidate filed to represent District 3.
Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen will be the only name on the ballot this May in District 3, which includes southern Washington County, as well as Wilsonville.
Two candidates filed in the central Portland District 6; five candidates filed to represent District 5, which is mostly in northern Portland.
Dirksen will likely replace Carl Hosticka, who is term-limited after serving on the Metro Council since 2001.
The Tigard mayor was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as part of a group of members of the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation who are meeting with Oregon's congressional delegation.
"I'm very transportation oriented, making sure we have a transportation system that's functional for the future," Dirksen said between meetings. "With the anticipated growth for the Metro area, how do we end up with a transportation system that supports that?"
He says his view on that hearkens to his political moderation. Dirksen will become the first registered Republican elected to the nonpartisan Metro Council since at least 1998.
"We need a complete transportation system, and that includes all modes," he said. "We can't look to one to the detriment of others – it includes a highway system, a transit system and a multimodal system that complement one another so they all function."
Tigard is a microcosm of that mindset – at the intersection of two freeways, it's also on the WES commuter rail line and is a key part of the Southwest Corridor study. That study is focused not only on transportation, but on zoning and economic development.
"It all balances together," Dirksen said of the Southwest Corridor work. "The past 10 years I've spent on the Tigard City Council and as Tigard's mayor have had me looking at those issues on the local level. We need to look at it and find common ground on the regional level."
Dirksen has been Tigard's mayor since 2003. He was elected to his third and final term as mayor in 2010, and will join Metro Council President Tom Hughes as former mayors on the council.
That comes at a time that the region's mayors have been working closer together, in part because of perceived dysfunction at Metro Policy Advisory Committee. Dirksen said adding that perspective will benefit the council.
"Because I have good relationships with the mayors of the region, that will help," he said. "The tension there is, when you're looking at competing issues, we've got limited dollars and big needs, and I think from one end of the region to the other, there's a lot of diversity of views."
As for being the only Republican on the council, Dirksen said his conservative leanings are at the federal level. "If I'm critical of the federal government, it's because they're involved in programs that would be better served if they were done at the local level," he said. "The closer I get to home, the more liberal I become."
An industrial designer for CH2M Hill, Dirksen, 59, has recently been assisting with the design of facilities at Intel's Ronler Acres campus. He moved to Tigard in 1977, and two of his three sons live in Tigard. He also has seven grandsons.
District 6 to be decided in May
At least one other Metro Council race will be decided by summer. Only two candidates, Jonathan Levine and Bob Stacey, filed to represent District 6, which includes much of Portland south of Interstate 84 and U.S. 26.
Levine is a graduate student at Portland State University, and is a research project manager and program manager. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona. On his candidacy filing, he said he does not expect to spend more than $750 on his campaign.
Stacey came within 1,003 votes of winning the Metro Council presidency in 2010, losing to Hughes in the region-wide race by a 0.25 percent margin. He is the former director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, and has had management roles in the office of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., at TriMet, and in the office of former Oregon Gov. (and current Metro Councilor) Barbara Roberts. He completed his law degree from the University of Oregon after graduating from Reed College. His campaign has raised more than $120,000 in the last 14 months.
Five for District 5
Only one race has a chance of being decided in the November election. If none of the five candidates running for District 5 – Portland north of U.S. 26 and I-84, including downtown – get 50 percent of the vote in May, the top two candidates will head for a November run-off.
The five to file are Sam Chase, Michael (micro) Durrow, Terry Parker, Brad Perkins and Helen Ying.
Chase, the director of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, is the former chief of staff for Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. He also has been the director of the Oregon Opportunity Network. Chase is a graduate of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. He's raised about $42,000 for his race.
Durrow, a Realtor, has worked as a computer engineer and a staffer at the Bonneville Power Administration. He is a graduate of Portland Community College. Durrow has reported no donations to his campaign.
Parker is a retired account representative in the yellow page industry and a graduate of Madison High School. According to his filing, he's served on ODOT's Banfield Citizens Advisory Committee. He reports $230 in donations.
Perkins owns a real estate firm, and has owned Oregonized Design Restoration Renovation Company and Preservation Development Company, according to his filing, and has served on several advisory committees and task forces. He has a degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. Perkins has reported no donations to his campaign.
Ying is a consultant and an educator, having served as vice principal at Parkrose and Molalla high schools, and teaching and counseling at Cleveland, Franklin and Madison high schools, as well as Portsmouth Middle School. She has a master's in education and a bachelor's in math from Portland State University. Ying was a member of the creation committee for Portland's Office of Equity, and was part of the Oregon Health System Transformation – Coordinated Care Organization Criteria work group. Ying reports about $32,000 in donations.
The voter registration deadline for the May 15 primary is April 24. Voters can register on line at the Oregon Secretary of State's website.