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Think Out Loud

Candidate Conversation: Portland City Commissioner

Pete Springer/OPB

We’ll talk with the two leading candidates for Portland City Commissioner Position No. 1: incumbent Amanda Fritz and challenger Mary Nolan. Fritz has held the job since 2008. Nolan has spent the last 12 years in the state legislature. They’ve both made efforts to highlight their leadership in local government during the campaign.

Nolan focused on education and healthcare as a state representative from SW Portland. She was also majority leader for the House Democrats. Before being elected to the legislature, she served as head of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and co-founded a GPS technology business. She’s been criticized for her blunt communication style. Nolan is originally from Chicago. She moved to Portland in 1976.

Fritz heads up the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the relatively new Office of Equity and Human Rights, among other bureaus. She also championed a cheaper way to comply with the EPA regulation requiring Portland to treat its water, a move that’s in line with her image as a fiscal watchdog. Fritz has faced some criticism over the Office of Equity, which has a $1 million budget and not much to show for it yet. She has a background as a nurse and a neighborhood activist. She’s originally from Yorkshire, England and she moved to Portland from New York in 1986.

Fritz successfully used the city’s public financing system when she was first elected. This time around, even though that system is no longer in place, she’s imposing a $50 limit on individual campaign donations and she’s not accepting donations from PACs or corporations. Nolan, who began fundraising last summer and has not set donation limits, has raised far more than Fritz at this point.

This nonpartisan race could be decided in the May 15 primary. If none of the candidates gets at least 51 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff in November.

What quesitons do you have for the candidates?

politics portland

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OPB | Broadcast: April 16, 2012