Portland political "machine" comes to an end?

Goldschmidt_neil1Phil Stanford, from the Portland Tribune, has a pretty extraordinary column this week. Here's the punchline:

In any event, it looks like the political machine that’s called the shots in Portland for almost 50 years is crumbling.

Who is this political machine?

The old Neil Goldschmidt machine, struggling to maintain the hold it’s had on the city’s purse strings for the past several decades.

Stanford's centerpiece example?

[Erik] Sten, of course, is also the author of the so-called Clean Money bill, which has the Goldschmidt crew on red alert. Just take a look at all the Goldschmidt stalwarts behind the campaign to repeal the measure.Why, what a coincidence —Laura Imeson, the wife of Goldschmidt’s former partner in a consulting businesses, Tom Imeson, was head honcho.

Once upon a time, the Goldschmidt folks privately courted Sten, expecting that he would become their new fresh-faced representative in City Hall. But if their efforts at seduction were successful up to a point — after all, he voted for their pet projects in the Pearl and South Waterfront — it’s all over now.

For them, the last straw was his role in spiking the Texas Pacific takeover of PGE, which would have been a big payday for all. Now he’s their No. 1 enemy, and they’re coming after him with a vengeance.

If there’s a moral in there somewhere, it’s that once-successful political machines do not give up their power willingly.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • Ron Ledbury (unverified)


    Just as the Oregon Investment Council plops 300 million more dollars into the Texas Pacific Group, who just announced they have taken a liking to even more risky investments than in the past.

  • Benkay (unverified)

    Power structures reinforce themselves.

  • NNW (unverified)

    This is to black & white - politics don't work like this. Yes, of course there's a difference in philosophy on how the Rose City is being ran, but don't think for a minute that that any power structure is "crumbling," as Phil wrote. The power structure is alive and well in the City of Portland.

  • (Show?)

    VOE has put a 50-year-old powerful political machine on red alert?

    And here I thought Phil Stanford was one of the guys ridiculing VOE as a gimmicky waste of the taxpayer's money.

    The guy is a bad joke.

  • (Show?)

    Easy there, Doretta. I thought it was pretty remarkable column for someone who was outspokenly skeptical about VOE just a few months ago. And I appreciate that he's actually looking deeper into how the system is working and the power shift it represents, rather than just presenting a more select version of the facts around his pre-VOE implementation gut.

    He may not have taken Kari's challenge, but this column should be worthy of some prize nonetheless.

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, VOE=Voter Owned Elections.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)

    Somebody, anybody, explain to me how Goldschmidt crony Mike Thorne resurfaced as the chair of the "Big Look" Land Use Task Force.

    I have a collection of Nigel Jaquiss WW stories on Thorne I would like to share if I had a way to post them. Kari? I'll e-mail them to you in an attachment.

  • (Show?)

    OK, Charlie, if you say so.

    How about the "I never met a conspiracy theory I didn't like" award?

    I'm generally all in favor of giving people the benefit of the doubt, but given Stanford's track record, your scenario that he gave it careful thought and then changed his mind doesn't seem like the most likely one to me.

    If he ever changes his mind to something that doesn't amount to a juicy conspiracy I'll reconsider that judgment.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)

    Reading this recent history is a must.


    & Busting Up the Boys Club


    And this too http://www.wweek.com/html/leada082698.html

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)

    And to make a connection to today.

    Want to know why the Port wants to keep secret the cleanup efforts?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/business/1141442760186420.xml?oregonian?fng&coll=7 "Port aims to keep strategy secret on river cleanup"

    This may have something to do with it. http://www.wweekarchive.com/leada.html "Port officials say they have no direct risk but concede that the $5.8 million the Cascade/Cammell Laird joint venture owes the port in 2009 is unsecured, as is the joint venture's obligation to pay $2.5 million for eventual environmental cleanup."

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Stanford has clearly delineated the battlelines, but the war is far from over. Pay attention, BluOrgs. This is precisely why Eric Sten and some others are so important. They represent a progressive vision for Oregon without selling out to the power structure that wants a cut of every public project.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)

    Tom. Are you kidding?

    Sten has voted for every project and the power structure. He even voted for the "power structure" Trammmel Crow Alexan Tax abatement.

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