The Portland region's most important local government election

Jonathan Poisner

Other races may get more media attention, but the most pivotal local government election happening right now in the Portland Metro area is the race for Chair of the Clackamas County Commission.

Current chair, Charlotte Lehan, has been fighting for 25 years to make Clackamas County a better place. As Wilsonville Mayor and on the Clackamas County Commission, she has a record of job creation, public safety, and protecting Clackamas County farmland and open spaces for the next generation.

Lehan believes that Clackamas County’s future depends on being an active and equal regional partner with Multnomah and Washington Counties. That includes having a transit system that provides options for all, a public safety system that’s effective and fair, and great neighborhoods that people will be proud to call home. She has a 25 year history of moving the ball forward on each of these fronts.

Her opponent, John Ludlow, is also a former Mayor of Wilsonville, but that’s where the similarity to Lehan ends.

Ludlow’s vision for Clackamas County’s future is to withdraw from regional partnerships and let businesses and developers do what they want, assuming the benefits will trickle down to others. He has a well-documented record of calling for abolishing land use safeguards and the urban growth boundary, as well as having Clackamas County secede from Metro. Light rail is a Portland conspiracy in his world and Clackamas County’s future depends on “stopping Portland creep.”

There's little surprise that Ludlow has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from from developers and those who profit from sprawl. Indeed, two years ago something called the Oregon Transformation PAC was formed with the stated goal of putting Republicans back in charge of Clackamas County. They’ve been joined by the Tea-Party backed Americans for Prosperity, along with scores of developers and timber companies who have an axe to grind.

The goal of these special interests isn’t just to defeat Lehan and another Commissioner, Jamie Damon. It’s also to use Tea-Party leadership in Clackamas County to fundamentally change the regional and state conversation.

And that makes the race for Clackamas County Chair one that will be a tipping point for our region.

Will Clackamas County turn its back on strong land use safeguards, light rail, and a friendly relationship with Multnomah and Washington Counties by electing John Ludlow?

Or will it reelect Charlotte Lehan and work responsibly to balance strong land use safeguards, a tight Urban Growth Boundary, a thriving economy, and a transportation system with choices for all.

Charlotte’s been fighting this fight for us in the trenches for 20 years. Now she needs us to have her back.

That’s why I’m devoting both my time and wallet to Charlotte Lehan and urge you to do the same.

The most important thing you can do to help Charlotte fight back is to donate so she can communicate with voters about the contrast between her record and Ludlow's.

Donate today.

The second most important thing you can do is connect on Facebook and volunteer knocking on doors, making phone calls, and spreading the word on social media.

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      The front line for the battle for Truth and Justice has moved to Clackamas County. Three cheers for Charlotte and her courage and consistency!

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    This column needs to be shared, posted and spread out everywhere by everyone reading Blue Oregon. Charlotte is arguably the finest public servant we have at the local level and it would be a shame to lose her. Please give whatever time and money you have to this campaign. Ludlow is heavily financed and as Jonathan says, if he wins, this is just the first strike in an aggressive right wing strategy to take over local governments here.

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    With the most sprawl-friendly leadership we've had in years at both Metro and Washington County, it's absolutely essential to all of the region that we keep Charlotte as Clackamas County Chair! Do send money, do spread the word!

    Thanks to Carla for this great article, too.

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    Lehan is a prime example of a liberal politician who believes that the bulk of her constituency are "rednecks and peckerwoods" and that their opinions count for nothing. The end run that the commission did to get around the will of the people with regards to the Portland-Milwaukie light rail clearly shows the contempt that Lehan holds for the great majority of Clackamas county voters. Does anyone with half a brain see Multnomah county as a role model? Does anyone think that Portland with 50% of its available property tax receipts going to unfunded city employees' pensions and crony urban renewal projects, is a laudatory "partner"? And, of course, let us not forget that the dreaded "Tea Party" is involved. I mean how can any progressive person call for a smaller and more efficient government that doesn't provide free health care for life after 10 years of work (see trimet) or 41k a month in retirement benefits (see Belloti).

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    All true, Jonathan. But just as pivotal for regional livability is the Clark County Commissioner race, where strong-ish land-use safeguards, light rail, and any relationship with Metro are in jeopardy. Two seats of the three-member board come before voters -- and the local Tea Party/GOP is salivating at the chance for a coup.

    While C-TRAN's "plebiscite" on CRC and light-rail in Clark County garners media on this side of the river, we're clueless about the juicier prize in their county commissioners' race, which pits Ludlow-dite incumbent Tom Mielke and hobby politician David Madore (a Robert Pamplin Jr wannabe) against two moderates, Joe Tanner(D) and incumbent Marc Boldt(R).

    Yes, donating to a Clark County race seems counter-intuitive here -- if not treasonous -- but you may want to broaden your gaze. Today's Columbian endorsement gets it right:

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      Actually Pat, I LIVE in Clark County. I'm looking forward to voting for Tanner and Boldt. Tanner would be a dramatic improvement over the incumbent (Mielke) and Boldt is one of the last reasonable R's (with Madore being a right-wing disaster movie). But neither race in my opinion will have as much impact on the region as Lehan-Ludlow.

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        Ludlow's land-use promiscuity in Wilsonville is legend, and Tootie Smith is a seperated-at-birth Tom Mielke.

        I truly hope that activists here don't wake up Wednesday morning after election night to the shock of a 2-1 troglodyte majority in Clark County. It comes down to whether incumbent Mielke and self-bankrolled Madore can both win. They've branded themselves as double-down Tea Party -- if only one wins then nothing's gained.

        Keep this in mind: In the 2010 Census, Clackamas County's population was 375,992. From 2000 (pop. 338,391) to 2010, its growth rate was 11.1%

        In the 2010 Census, Clark County's population was 425,363. From 2000 (pop. 345,238) to 2010, its population growth was 23.2% Twice the rate of Clackamas -- much more than twice the sprawl.

        Viva Charlotte, Viva Jamie!

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    If the Clark County GOP wasn't amped enough by visions of a double-play Republican president and governor this November, the chance to humiliate light-rail backers (C-Tran) and usher in Tea-Party control of the Clark County Commission is better than any catnip...

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    From Jack Bog's Bog: The only right outcome in Clackistan

    The Bluebirds are circling their wagons around Clackistan county chair Charlotte Lehan. She's in a close re-election race against John Ludlow. Here's Jonathan Poisner over in Jefferson Smith Land crowing about how important it is to the county, the region, and indeed the world that Lehan be re-elected.

    We agree with Poisner that this is an important election, but we come out the other way. The voters of Clackistan have made it clear, on multiple occasions, that they do not want light rail from their area to Portland. Lehan and her colleagues on the county board have decided that they know better than the voters about that. When that sort of thing happens, the voters' only recourse is the vote the rascals out. As was graphically illustrated in the recent light rail bond fiasco, the courts aren't going to help, even when laws appear to have been broken. And so now the only right thing to happen is for Lehan to be replaced. She can go work for Metro, or Portland State, or some other refuge for local political burnouts. She really does not deserve a paycheck from taxpayers whose clear wishes she chooses to ignore.

    Friends tell us that Lehan is a wonderful person, and that Ludlow is a hothead. Even if that's true, it's important that a change be made.

    Read more:

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      So, Jack Bog has moved to Clackamas County? Making county government totally dysfunctional would be change. That is what Ludlow would accomplish.

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    Ludlow was elected for 4 years and as I understand it quit after 2 years as Wilsonville mayor. With his hot temper he would be a disaster. I hear the County is already with these Tea Party nutcases swarming having a difficult time getting well qualified applicants to apply for key positions. We will be Alabama of the north if Ludlow and Tootie Smith are elected. Smith is so clueless she said she would reject money from the State or Feds if it came with strings about how the money could be used. How does she think it works? That piles of money flow in without strings attached? LOL. And come visit Tootie's Decayville Molalla if you want to see what Tea Party policy brings: urban decay, low quality of life and insolvency.

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    oh, my Gosh, the Tea Party? Chicken Little didn't hold a candle to the lefties posting in this forum. Must be a bunch of Jefferson Smith kool aid drinkers.

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