Roy Jay: Candidate for Mayor of Portland?

Royjay_2The Portland Observer takes a look at the 2008 mayor's race in Portland, and wonders aloud about Roy Jay as a candidate.

First, who is Roy Jay?

Jay launched his entrepreneurial career as a teenager in the 1960s in Columbia Villa, the Portsmouth neighborhood now called New Columbia. He says his first job was sorting bottles at a grocery store, and when he saved up enough money to buy a motorcycle he charged other kids 10 cents for rides. His first car, a 1959 Ford, was used to ferry classmates to Roosevelt High School.

These days Jay says he has at least nine jobs, including president and co-founder of the African American Chamber of Commerce, president of the Oregon Convention and Visitor's Service Network and owner of the downtown SmartPark garages. [Editor's note: He doesn't own 'em, his company manages 'em. The city owns 'em.] ...

Jay is also creator of Project Clean Slate, a program started in 2005 that helps those with past minor criminal and civil offenses clear their records and reintegrate into the community.

Learn more at Now, how about that Mayor's race?

Jay, a tireless leader who has helped shaped Portland business while significantly raising the profile of minority businesses, has been asked to run for City Council twice before but declined. He says he is flattered to be considered in the 2008 mayoral race, especially since it wasn't even his idea.

"I'm not saying yes or no," Jay, 59, says of a possible run. "It's way too early, and I've got to weigh my options."

One thing is for certain: Jay said he won't even consider a run if his good friend and Mayor Tom Potter decides to campaign for a second term. Potter has said he'll decide whether he'll run closer to his birthday in September. ...

And with the 2008 May primary election for the non-partisan position 11 months away, the mayoral candidate pool is all speculation. Potter's wait for a decision on re-election is also stalling a possible City Hall shuffle with a rumored mayoral bid from City Commissioner Sam Adams.

Questions: Should Tom Potter run for re-election? Should Sam Adams challenge Mayor Potter? Would you support Roy Jay for Mayor? Any other candidates? What impact will Voter-Owned Elections have on the campaign ($200,000 for primary election; $250,000 for general election)?


  • Garrett (unverified)

    Why not start it off with something that is bound to make a bunch of people mad...why wasn't Erik Sten mentioned here? What is it, 10 years on city council? He rides the bus to work every day. He's pretty progressive and he has a really great gap in the front of his teeth. He'd definitely be a heavyweight if he decided to jump in.

  • verasoie (unverified)


    your post is begging the question, so I'll oblige: why mad?

    I personally would be happy with Potter, Adams, or Sten as mayor, I think the city council power-sharing make-up makes them almost equally influential in terms of city politics and priorities, so it would almost be a case of musical chairs for a councilperson to become mayor, but what's so inflammatory about Erik Sten doing so?

  • Garrett (unverified)


    Good question. I've just noticed a lot anti-Sten comments out there coming from WW, Mercury and even on this blog. Personally I think he's great. I just get that a lot of people like Erik, hell he had the Stenmobile. I think a lot of people think he's too "establishment." Its just an observation. Sam Adams doesn't have enough of a record for people to get really rancorous about. Think of Jim Francesconi. I stood next to him at the John Kerry rally at Pioneer courthouse square when Edwards spoke. I have no doubt in my mind he was every bit as progressive as anyone on this blog considering the amount of curse words he muttered about the Bush/Cheney cabal and the giant Kerry/Edwards button he was wearing. If he could get crucified Erik Sten may have quite the shot at doing the same thing.

  • Timberline (unverified)

    I'm pretty sure that Erik Sten doesn't have a problem with people thinking he's not "progressive" enough; this is the guy who tried to socialize PGE and gave us voter-owned elections. I also agree that all our leadership is great, and that Erik could have a real shot (but the timimg is bad -- he hasn't won any high-profile fights lately). I just wanta throw out there -- why not Leonard? He really seems to be at the peak of his game now -- is he even thinking about this?

  • anonymous (unverified)

    Though my mind's not made up on who I would support for mayor, I do think Roy Jay would make an excellent mayor. I've known him for about five years. He has a real respect for civil liberties. He has the respect of Randy Leonard, which says to me he would stand up for working people and be an ally of labor. Also, the man just doesn't give a damn what people think of him, and he is hell bent on getting results. He would truly shake things up in this city and make sure the little guy gets a fair shot at some of the big government dollars that get ushered around this city.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)

    The whole situation hinges on Potter. Despite the criticisms, you can't beat his popularity numbers. With a continuing good economy and no major scandals he gets another term if he wants it. Adams will not challenge a popular mayor.

    I'm pretty familiar with the power of incumbency and I think Amanda would agree. Leonard keeps his seat no sweat. He is so popular I don't think he will face any serious challengers. If Potter seeks his second term I think they all stay put and we will have the same administration until 2010.

  • Antigone (unverified)

    I would in no way support Roy Jay as mayor. While another poster mentioned something about how Roy Jay would "make sure the little guy got a fair shot", I have personally been in a position to see how Roy Jay treats the little guy and it is NOT GOOD. I worked for a company that had regular contact with him. He was rude, arrogant and abusive, and demanded special privileges that interfered with our ability to deliver service to other of our clients. I think the last thing we need in elected office is another self-important, self-entitled, screw-the-little-guy egotist.

    If you want the true measure of someone's character, observe how they treat their waiter, the guy pumping their gas, or the girl answering the phone of a company they call.

  • (Show?)

    First off, why did you fail to mention that over at NWRepublican we ran the news of Roy Jay's consideration a long time ago? Heck even the Observer had the wherewhithall to make note of that little bit of information. Isn't that just considered part of the blogosphere etiquitte?

    Secondly, while as a conservative I don't think that Roy Jay is really conservative, however I do believes he loves the city of Portland.

    In my time dealing with Portland business people and community leaders for several years I have heard almost nothing but good things about Roy Jay. Oh sure he will have his detractors anyone who plays at those levels will.

    However the few times that I have had some interaction with him I found him to be refreshing and an energetic promoter of the city that he loves. I think Portland could do a lot worse than Roy Jay.

    I could, and have, said several nice things about Eric Sten and Randy as well. Does that mean that I agree with them on most things? Certainly not. However, like Roy Jay they serve their constituency about as honestly as anyone in the city of Portland.

    I think Roy Jay could be a mayor much in the mold of Bud Clark. Is that all bad?

    I look at a couple of things when it comes to candidates. First what are their policies? Then who are they as a person? In Portland there are not a lot of politicians that I would agree with policy wise, so someone like me is left evaluating them mostly as people.

    Who would I enjoy having a beer with? Eric Sten? Yup. Randy Leonard? Sure (although after a few beers that could easily turn into a bar room brawl, but where I come from that is just considered an energetic discussion.)

    Here's to hoping that Roy Jay does run. (tossing back a Bud-Lite)

    Yip Yip

  • (Show?)

    Anonymous wrote... Though my mind's not made up on who I would support for mayor, I do think Roy Jay would make an excellent mayor.

    Wow. Now there's an endorsement that everyone will covet: Anonymous. Way to go out on a limb there, big guy. Ugh.

    (Listen, I get it. Being anonymous makes it easier to talk shit about people. But being anonymous when you're saying NICE things about people? That just doesn't make any damn sense.)

  • (Show?)

    First off, why did you fail to mention that over at NWRepublican we ran the news of Roy Jay's consideration a long time ago? Heck even the Observer had the wherewhithall to make note of that little bit of information. Isn't that just considered part of the blogosphere etiquitte?

    Um, yeah, by the Blogosphere Code of Conduct, we're obligated to mention every single article on a similar topic that's ever been written by any other blog.... ever.

    <h2>Definitely. We'll get right on that.</h2>
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