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April 20, 2020 Newsletter

Why you are getting a bonus One Small Thing-PDX email this week

We are making efforts to support being a virtual community, since we can offer no in-person meetings while we need to Stay Home and Save Lives during the Covid-19 Emergency. Sara McKinney currently produces and sends you an informative newsletter every two weeks, even while being home with young children while schools are closed.

With so much focus on the pandemic and on the continued failures of the Trump administration to address it, you may not have the upcoming election high on your radar.OneSmallThing-PDX will send you a Mondayemail weekly through May 11.  

Other members of OST, including Jacqueline Abel, Doug Hagen, and Paulette Wittwer, wrote 3 articles for this shorter version on two elective offices andonemeasure on theMay 19 primary ballot. Voter pamphlets start being mailed April 22, Your ballots must be mailed no later than May 14 and earlier is better! 

The primary is an important opportunity to take valuable local actions, such as educating ourselves, influencing our networks about what we learn, working directly for a campaign of our choice, displaying yard signs, donating money and time. You could even organize your own Voting from Home virtual party with friends and family to encourage others to vote.

Multnomah County District Attorney 

Rod Underhill, the current Multnomah County District Attorney, is retiring after serving since 2013.Ethan Knight and Mike Schmidt are vying to replace him in this very important office in Multnomah County.

The Multnomah County DA is primarily responsible for prosecuting persons who are charged with having committed violations of state criminal laws in Multnomah County.  Within the bounds of the law, the DA has considerable discretion in deciding whether to pursue charges, which charges to pursue, and what sentences to seek.   

The DA’s Office has approximately 200 staff members, including about 75 Deputy District Attorneys. The budget for FY 2020 is about 35 million dollars.  In addition to prosecuting the usual range of criminal offenses, it also deals with domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and dependency, support enforcement, victims’ rights, and other such matters.

To understand better how important DAs are, you will want to read the report below by the Oregon ACLU chapter.  The National ACLU has also has a campaign to spotlight how DAs are powerful elected officials who work for us and should hear from their constituents. 

Ethan Knight, 45, is a career prosecutor who has worked in the Multnomah County DA’s and U.S. Attorney’s Offices for a combined total of about 20 years.  Mike Schmidt, 38, taught school before becoming a lawyer.  He then worked in the Multnomah County DAs office or 5 years and has been Executive Director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission since 2015.

The Voters’ Pamphlet will have additional information about the candidates and their endorsements.  In the meanwhile, the 3/26/20 issue of the Portland Tribune has a pretty good article about the race: 

In addition, the City Club debate between Knight and Schmidt is available at: 

Portland City Council Race #4

Eight candidates are running for Portland City Council Position #4.  The seat is currently held by Chloe Eudaly. Commissioner #4 oversees civic engagement in Portland including the 94 recognized Neighborhood Associations and seven district coalition offices.  The next term will define their role as well as other organizations who might receive funding and influence city policy.  

Several of Eudaly’s challengers differ with how she has handled leadership on this issue and promise other approaches.  Portland City Club held a forum with three challengers and Eudaly which can be viewed with this link:

You might want to consider other worthy candidates in this race.  For information on all of them go to the filing information at

Portland city gas tax on May 19 ballot as Measure 26-209

Portlanders currently pay a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax that was narrowly approved by voters in 2016 to fund the city’s Fixing Our Streets program. The current tax raised $76 million, more than initially anticipated.

It sunsets at the end of 2020, so a measure to continue it is on your ballot on May 19, if you live within the city. If Measure 26-209 passes, it starts January, 2021, and continues for the following four years. 

City leaders say, if passed, the next gas tax would fund road improvements including paving, new signals, sidewalks, lighting, pothole repair, and more. To educate you more about details and to see the full language that will appear on your ballot, click the link below from the City Auditor’s office When the voter pamphlet comes to your mailbox after April 22, that will be a good source of more information and endorsements. This is an important measure to learn about and vote on May 19!

Reminder, OST does not make endorsements of specific candidates

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