State House and County Commissioner candidates square off in Gateway

Here’s your opportunity to learn a little more about House District 47 and Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidates. EXTRA! Also get a preview of the May return of the Gateway Fun-0-Rama events on May 19 …

GABA’s President Fred Sanchez, of Realty Brokers, welcomes members and guests to another monthly meeting at Russellville Park 2.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At the April Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) meeting at Russellville Park II, candidates for Oregon House District 47 and Multnomah County District 3 Commissioner were on hand to meet the members, and to campaign for election.

May 19th Fun-0-Rama plans revealed
On May 19, NE Halsey Street will be the epicenter of excitement as the Gateway Fun-0-Rama returns – with a golf tournament, parade, and fair.

From 7:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., the annual GOLF-O-RAMA tournament returns at nearby Glendoveer Golf Course.

Then, at 1:00, the FUN-O-RAMA Parade gets underway, starting at Gateway Park (NE 106th Avenue & Halsey Street), and traveling north on Halsey to NE 111th Avenue. The First Responders (Police, Fire, Red Cross, ambulances) participate, along with floats, antique cars, marching bands, decorated bikes and motorcycles, clowns, scouts, and more – to make this a colorful and fun event.

Then, from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m., it’s the FUN-O-RAMA Fair at 111th SQUARE (NE Halsey at 111th), where GABA members demonstrate their services and show off their wares. The free-to-the-public fair features entertainment, music, a raffle, and exciting interactive displays.

Before attorney Bruce McCain again moderates a “candidates’ forum” during this GABA meeting, he’s presented with the “GABA Rubber Chicken of Excellence Award” by Fred Sanchez.

At the meeting, about 20 members and guests also heard from candidates running for Oregon House District 47, and Multnomah County Commissioner District 3.

Candidate for House District 47, Jessica Vega Pederson (D), was ill, and did not attend as she’d intended, McCain reported. [To see her website: CLICK HERE.]

House District 47 candidates Maggie Nelson and Dr. Thuy Tran – and Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidates Judy Shiprack and Patty Burkett, are about to introduce themselves.

House District 47 candidate Maggie Nelson speaks.

House District 47 candidate Maggie Nelson (R) introduced herself, saying, “I called down to see if the [Portland] City Council voted in the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI), and learned it was approved, and is targeting right here in Gateway. We will now be working on the NPI initiative program.

“I have just retired from teaching, after a 20 year career in 2010.  When I retired, I ran for, and was elected to, the Mt. Hood Community College Board – where I’ve served for the past year.

“As a child, I was raised on a wheat farm in eastern Oregon.  In addition to the crop production, my father raised cattle and sheep. My grandparents lived on the neighboring farm right beside us.  And, together, my father and grandfather owned about 900 acres of timberland. So, I am for opening logging in the state of Oregon.  I am in favor of treating our timberlands, in our State, as a natural resource.

“Because I was raised in a rural setting and lived my entire adulthood in an urban setting, I feel that I have an appreciation for the needs and the concerns of both rural and urban concerns.

“I am running [for this office] because I believe our country has not only come to a crossroads, but we are heading down the wrong track. I see our Constitution being disrespected, and I feel that we have out-of-control spending. I feel that our checks-and-balances are no longer working on the state or national level.

“I still believe that a person, ready to take action, can make a difference.”


House District 47 candidate Thuy Tran speaks.

House District 47 candidate Dr. Thuy Tran (D) said, “I’m a Democrat running for State Representative 47.  I want to thank GABA for inviting us here today.  I think you’re doing a great job taking care of the community, and leading the business community here.

“I’ve lived in the district for over 15 years. This is where I chose to buy my first home,  and this is where I chose to raise my children. We live in a great community, with hard-working people, family-focused, down-to-earth.

“However, during the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of challenges.

“Last October, the Parkrose School District voted to cut an additional five student contact days. The children are being affected. Our streets still have potholes, and no sidewalks on certain areas. Businesses are closing, and so many of my neighbors and parents and in my kids’ schools losing their jobs.

“I’ve been a community servant in organizations like the Lions Club.  I am a Major in the Oregon National Guard, I am an eye doctor – I’ve been a business owner for more than 15 years, through good time and bad.

“I truly believe in the Lions Club motto, ‘We serve’. I have been serving, and I would like to be a strong advocate for our community at the state level.

“My vision for Portland includes three things: Because I am a business owner, I know that home-grown business is very important. Just imagine if our businesses thrive, and we can hire two [employees] each, how this will affect the tax base.

“We need a solid tax base in order to fund education.  An educated community is sick less, commits less violent crime, and is very competitive for jobs.  Not just here but nationwide and internationally. We owe that to our children – to prepare a community that is not just livable, but thriving.

“My vision also includes public safety. This doesn’t just include crime preventing, reducing crime, or read even reducing the fear of crime.  It’s all about focusing on the small things like crossing the street safely on streets that are safe.

“This is my first run [for office].  I am about hands-on, outcome-oriented projects, programs that affect lives.  In 2 ½ months of campaigning, I’m not going to be able to reach all of you.  But look at where I am from: I am a refugee who came to United States with nothing but the clothing on my back. From there, I feel that I’ve achieved the American Dream. I feel an American Dream exists for all of us – all of our children and our grandchildren. At the state level, will fight for East Portland.”


Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidate Judy Shiprack speaks.

Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidate Judy Shiprack next spoke to the group.

“I’m currently the County Commissioner for District 3.  District 3 is pretty distinctive.  If you look at it on a map of Multnomah County’s four districts, it is geographically significantly smaller than the others. What does that mean?

“It means that we are more densely-populated than the other districts. In addition to being the most densely-populated [county district] in Oregon, we have also seen a migration, of both diversity and poverty, into this district.

“All of this means that you need to have an experienced advocate representing Multnomah County District 3 to take care of those safety-net services that we provide to the most vulnerable populations.

“However, to talk about my experience a little bit – I’m talking about it from the perspective of being a daughter.

“I came to Portland to be a schoolteacher. My mother, a schoolteacher for entire career, was very proud of me. I taught English at Jefferson High School – but only did so for a year. It was a wonderful experience; those students taught me a lot. One of those things that they taught me was that I needed to ‘move on’.

“I went to law school, graduated, and became a deputy district attorney. Law school, from my mother’s perspective, was a considerable fall in rank – going to be a lawyer, from being a teacher. So, you could imagine how ‘thrilled’ she was to learn that I left the practice of law to become an Oregon State Representative! As a politician, we almost never heard from my mother – a considerable fall from being a schoolteacher.

“I went on to become an affordable-housing developer, statewide. We developed affordable housing in Pendleton and Wilsonville. I became the Executive Director of the Public Safety Coordinating Council for Multnomah County. Then I ran for my current office.

“I talk about this, in the perspective of being my mother’s daughter, because five weeks ago, my mother, who was 91 years old, died.  During her deteriorating condition, I helped guide her through the maze of senior services that, even with all of my experience and public policy, I had a very difficult time navigating.

“One of the things that Multnomah County provides in our Senior and Disabled Services is assistance to families who are navigating the system. There are many of us who are demographically transitioning into that.”


Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidate Patricia “Patty” Burkett speaks.

Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 candidate Patricia “Patty” Burkett spoke last.

“I am very happy to be with you here today. I am a Portland native; apparently we’re pretty rare – although I do subscribe to the idea that if you’ve lived in Portland, or even in Oregon, for six months, you [kind of] consider yourself a native.

“I grew up in the Parkrose neighborhood originally, and now live the Northeast Alberta Street area, near NE 86th Avenue. When I was young, we moved into the Mount Tabor area and attended Mount Tabor Grade School. I was very active in school as a child, of course. Then, I went to Washington High School, which does not exist anymore. But, we still have our hearts in the right place.

“I worked at the Oregonian [newspaper] for my very first job. I made $42.50 a week. I was so proud of those checks.

“I’ve worked at many jobs, but I am a U.S. Army veteran, I’m proud to have served our country. I’m proud of all of these service members I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I was a legal clerk at Fort Hood in Texas, and worked on special court-martial proceedings cases. I was honored with three letters of commendation, and received a Three Oak Leaf Cluster award.

“I have been married and I have been divorced for quite some time. I have two adult children. My adult son was born in Fort Hood, so he’s got ‘the Army thing’ going on.  My daughter was born here in Portland. I’m really proud of both of them, and they both happen to be Jefferson High School graduates. My son is working in the acting field in Los Angeles; he’s going be playing ‘Dr. Dan’ on a show on the Discovery Channel.  My daughter works for Portland Public Schools, and she’s worked for them for nearly six years, and before that she worked for the court system.

“So, anyway, I lived, incidentally, off of NE 94th Avenue and NE Glisan Street.  I frequented the Gateway Fred Mayer, when it was just a little store.  I know many people in the area, and have traded with many business in Gateway. This is clearly my stomping grounds. It is a beautiful area of Portland. And I’m sorry to hear you [still] don’t have many sidewalks. That is too bad. People like to walk on them and take their children on them.

“I appreciate that I am not a seasoned candidate, and not experienced in what Judy [Shiprack] does. I do applaud Judy’ she is an incredibly talented lady.  I would like to give it a good shot. I’m a good reader, I love to engage smart people to help me, and I also am very confident that I could not only do the job, I could do it well.”

Meet with GABA on May 10
Check out the Gateway Area Business Association on May 10. Networking starts at 11:30 a.m. and the meeting ends promptly at 1:00 p.m.

This month: Learn all about the upcoming Fun-O-Rama Planning and Fun Festival scheduled for May 19.

It’s at Russellville Park West Building in the Theater – 23 SE 103rd, Portland. Lunch: $8. Directions: From SE 102nd, turn east on SE Ankeny Street towards SE 103rd, turn left into underground parking, take elevator up to Theater. For more information about the organization, or the upcoming Fun-0-Rama, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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