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.
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.