Amanda Fritz's blog

Uncle Sam's prayer at Steve's Celebration of Life

  • Posted on: 28 September 2014
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Steve and I relished the fact that our children have a real life Uncle Sam. His parents, Edward and Emily, are Salvation Army officers, so naturally they chose Biblical names for their three sons - Steven, Samuel, and Andrew. Andy was able to drive down from Olympia with his wife Jody and younger son Jared yesterday for the family Celebration of Life, but Sam got stuck in the Chicago airport closure and won't be here until this afternoon. I'm even more glad Cameron Whitten initiated the second, public event to remember Steve, which will be:

The Amanda Fritz home blog is back! Starting with a tribute to the great Steve Fritz

  • Posted on: 25 September 2014
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Thanks to Fairy Blogmother Lynn Siprelle, this site is cleared of evil comment spam and ready for constructive use again. Some topics are not appropriate for my official City Commissioner site, such as campaign endorsements or comments on statewide issues not yet official City policy. And, the following tribute to my life partner Steven Fritz, who died in a car crash on I-5 yesterday. This is the biography that will be shared with family and close friends at the Celebration of Steve's life this weekend:

Happy Anniversary, OHSU Nurses!

  • Posted on: 17 December 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

It was ten years ago today, December 17, 2001, when 1300 of the 1500 Registered Nurses working at OHSU walked out on strike. With the support and guidance of the Oregon Nurses Association, particularly the Association of University Registered Nurses President Dominga Lopez and our great ONA Labor Representative Kathleen Sheridan, 1100 of us stayed out on strike for 56 days. We marched back into the hospital, victorious, on February 13, 2002. The ONA account of the strike is here.

Golden Country

  • Posted on: 8 August 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Poor quality camera-phone shot, but you get the idea.

My husband and I both took Friday off work to spend some quality time together over the weekend. One of the treats he gave me was attending the REO Speedwagon concert at the Clark County Fair on Saturday. Wonderful show, about two hours of amazing rock. We had great seats close to the amplifiers, providing enough sound and vibration to feel like the cholesterol plaques were being shaken right off my heart and arteries. I am very glad that while on the Portland Planning Commission, I made the swing vote to deny the proposal to put a concert amphitheater at the Portland International Raceway.

Kevin Cronin (lead singer since the 1970s, not the same-name staff person at the Portland Development Commission) made a great speech before singing the signature song, "Golden Country". He said it was written on campus in Illinois to protest the Vietnam war and social problems at home in the United States, but that it is as appropriate for today's challenges. The lyrics:

Golden country your face is so red
With all of your money your poor can be fed
You strut around and you flirt with disaster
Never really carin' just what comes after
Well your blacks are dyin' but your back is still turned
And your freaks are cryin' but your back is still turned
You better stop your hidin or your country will burn
The time has come for you my friend
To all this ugliness we must put an end
Before we leave we must make a stand

These words are for all of us. No matter what we do in life, before you leave, don't turn your back -- make a stand, any kind of stand wherever we can make it, to put an end to the ugliness however we can.

Campaign Web Sites Up!

  • Posted on: 24 July 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

In my past two candidacies running for election to the Portland City Council in 2006 and 2008, I was working part-time in inpatient psychiatric nursing at OHSU, and fitting in campaign events between the relatively-flexible responsibilities of parenting teenagers. Now, I have a full-time job which the taxpayers pay me to do -- a job that I've found takes 80 hours a week or more to do well. And summer is Prime Time for the Commissioner in charge of Neighborhood Involvement and of the New Portlander program, with multiple wonderful community events celebrating communities all over Portland. So it's been challenging to find time for tasks such as developing a campaign web site, with the aim of winning re-election in the primary on May 15, 2012.

Happily, I have a wonderful team helping me, including Lynn Siprelle, the Fairy Blogmother who first helped me established this blog nearly six years ago, back before I was a candidate. The Official Re-elect Commissioner Amanda 2012 site built by Lynn is now live.

The aforementioned teenagers are now functional, amazing adults, who helped create the new campaign Facebook page. Together, between their networks and mine, we achieved 25 FaceBook "likes" inside two hours, despite having posted the page after 9 p.m. on a Saturday night.

I hope you will visit the web sites often, and participate in my campaign for re-election. The current content is only the opening of the conversation we'll have over the next eight months. I've found over the past 2.5 years serving on the Portland City Council that I either have time to work on issues and achieve results, or to talk about what I've done -- but not both. I am looking forward to working even later into the night, to tell more Portlanders about the great and small successes we've achieved together, and what I hope to accomplish further if voters choose to give me four more years to serve the citizens of Portland.

Vote on Facebook for Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp funding (closed 5/26/11)

  • Posted on: 22 May 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Received in my work In-box today (with minor edits in posting here):

"My name is Sarah Doty; I'm a 19 year old student at the University of Oregon. I am contacting you because I am trying to reach out to the city of Portland for help. I work at Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp, a camp that empowers children and adults with disabilities. Currently, we are in the running for $500,000 from Chase Bank in their giving program on Facebook. 100 charities are competing nationwide, but Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp is the only charity from Portland, Oregon. All we need, is for people to vote for MHKC here.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp, and we need Portland's support. Please take a few moments to visit the above web site, or visit to learn more about this camp.

Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp is truly incredible. I have never been so passionate about something before in my life. This will be my third summer working at camp and I don't go a day without thinking about how excited I am for it. The love and acceptance shown at camp is so special, for the campers, counselors, staffers, and everyone else who is a part of it. Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp just brings about smiles, and it is absolutely beautiful. At MHKC, campers have the opportunity to step away from the limits placed on them in order to experience what they ARE capable of. For many campers, their time at camp is their favorite time of the year, and for counselors who work one-on-one with the campers, it is a life-changing experience."

If you have a Facebook account, please help Sarah and the campers by giving a few moments of your time to vote in support of this funding.

Invitation to join my NAMI Walk Team

  • Posted on: 3 May 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

On Sunday May 22, instead of spending our anniversary weekend out of town with my sweet spouse (by then, of 29 years), I will be participating in the annual fundraiser for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, on Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, starting at SE Main/Water. I invite you to join me.

Come and walk with me, and/or donate to support this great event. Register to walk with me here. To make a donation to sponsor my team, visit here.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest education, support and advocacy organization serving the needs of all whose lives are touched by these illnesses. This includes persons living with mental illness, their families, friends, neighbors, employers, health care providers, law enforcement staff, and policy makers. The national NAMI organization is composed of approximately 1100 local affiliates, 50 state offices and a national office.

The goals of the NAMIWalks program are: to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI to continue their mission.

NAMI is a 501(c)3 charity and any donation you make is tax deductible. NAMI has been rated by Worth magazine as among the top 100 charities "most likely to save the world", and has been given an "A" rating by The American Institute of Philanthropy for efficient and effective use of charitable dollars.

Thank you in advance for your support.

In partnership with Sunrise Premiums, the NAMI Northwest Walk will be rewarding all teams raising $1,000 or more online in support of the 2011 Walk by awarding a fully-transferable voucher good for a 3-day, 2-night hotel stay at any one of the following locations: Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Williamsburg, Daytona Beach, Massanutten, Atlantic City, Cape Cod, Hilton Head, Lake Tahoe, Sedona, Branson, Las Vegas, Puerto Vallarta, Big Island of Hawaii.

This voucher is good for a year from date of issue with a value of up to $400, and pays for the hotel (with complementary breakfast) at a destination of the winner's choice. If the team reaches the $1,000 goal, our voucher will be given to the volunteer raising the most money for NAMI through the Walk.

I hope you will participate in this worthy event.

President Obama's Speech in Tucson, 1/12/11

  • Posted on: 12 January 2011
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Following is a text of President Obama’s prepared address on Wednesday to honor those killed and wounded in a shooting on Jan. 8, as released by the White House, 1/12/11.

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders – representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation's capital. Gabby called it "Congress on Your Corner" – just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday – they too represented what is best in America.

Merry Christmas - Hector Lopez is home!

  • Posted on: 25 December 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

KOIN is reporting Hector Lopez, the former Rex Putnam High School senior class president who was deported to Mexico, has been released from jail in Arizona in time to spend Christmas with his family in Milwaukie. Hector was brought to the US as a baby and is a great example of why the DREAM Act should be adopted.

What a great start to Christmas Day! I hope you enjoy spending time with your loved ones, too.

Point - Counterpoint on Homelessness in the Beaverton School District

  • Posted on: 20 December 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I was very glad to read in Sunday's Oregonian a guest column analysis of a "PolitiFact" article titled "Beaverton distorts homeless roll call". The PolitiFact report assessed whether the Beaverton School District's reporting of homelessness levels among students was accurate. PolitiFact had labeled the School District's statements "False", because one of the many statistics quoted was inaccurate - that the number of homeless students is "the highest ever recorded in Oregon".

From the PolitiFact article by Janie Har:

PolitiFact Oregon did a simple search at the state schools superintendent website and found that the figure is correct. The Beaverton School District reported 1,580 homeless students in 2009-10, ranking No. 1 of all school districts.

But is that the highest number of homeless students ever reported in the state?

The previous year’s figures show that’s not so. In 2008-09, Portland Public Schools -- the state’s most populous school district -- reported 1,706 students without permanent shelter, followed by the Medford School District with 1,126. Beaverton was third with 1,114 homeless students. The 1-2-3 line-up was the same in 2007-08.>>

As Sunday's Guest column by Eric Canon and Russ Dondero of the Interfaith Committee on Homelessness of Washington County notes, the "highest ever in Oregon" was a mis-statement by someone in the City of Beaverton, not the School District. The latest number is the highest ever in Beaverton, not Oregon.

When I read that PolitiFact article, I was exasperated that the headline "Beaverton distorts homeless roll" and the "Truth-ometer" firmly on "False" implied the entire homelessness level was distorted, whereas the article found most of the claims of record-high levels of homelessness for Beaverton's students true. Labeling the entire report "False" was in itself misleading and not true, even if qualified and clarified in the article below the headline.

It's important to note that often the headline is written by someone other than the author of a newspaper article. That's unfortunate because the journalist's name is on the column, while the headline-writer is anonymous.

From the Guest column:

Politics as usual, despite efforts to the contrary

  • Posted on: 14 October 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I was about to leave home for work on Wednesday morning, when I received a phone call from my friend and colleague Commissioner Nick Fish. He asked if I'd seen Anna Griffin's column in The Oregonian. I peruse their web site each morning while drinking my coffee, but I hadn't read that article. So Nick read me a line from the column:

"Fritz and Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish all let Adams know they were embarrassed and willing to form a three-vote majority to overrule him if he couldn't quickly craft a deal all five members of the City Council supported."

I said a word nobody whose mother raised them right should ever say (sorry, Mum). When you work really, really hard to communicate and work with your colleagues in an adult, professional, and collaborative manner, and then someone asserts in the newspaper that you did exactly the opposite, it's more than a little annoying. Perhaps I was supposed to feel grateful that I was assigned a here-I-come-to-save-the-day role in the narrative. But that's not what happened.

Funding basic services, like democracy

  • Posted on: 14 October 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Pete Colt, super-volunteer and advocate in the Northwest District Association (NWDA) neigboborhood, posted the following in a comment on Willamette Week's article about me published a few weeks ago. Pete states eloquently why Yes on 26-108 is the fiscally responsible vote, as well as the choice that validates Portlanders' highest values.

Pete writes:


Commissioner Randy Leonard is the most vocal opponent of Voter Owned Elections ... and the reason he gives for his opposition is that we should be funding "Basic Services".

I agree with Mr. Leonard ... more than he agrees with himself ... as evidenced by his stadium deals ... that we should fund "Basic Services".

And what's the most "Basic" of Basic Services?

If you're reading this you know that because of our unique form of City Government ... the most "Basic" of all Basic Services is "Power".

We voters have power with a small "p" when a few well-connected $5,000.00 contributors have access to it ... and we voters have Power with a big "P" when many of us $5 donors have access to it.

Power is the Basic Service from which all other "basic services" derive ... and Power takes shape in the Basic Service called *the election process for the position of Commissioner*.

The Basic Service called "Commissioner" decides what gets spent in what part of town, which projects move forward ... and which ones don't, which legislation moves forward, what taxes are levied, what bonds are issued ... and the list of what the Basic Service called "Commissioner" controls goes on and on.

The Basic Service called "Commissioner" can be in touch or out of touch with you and other constituents, address or ignore your concerns, and increase or decrease livability in your neighborhood ... or any neighborhood in our city.

Here's an article by Andy Dworkin in The Oregonian dated May 17, 2008 that you might have read and tucked away in the back of your mind.

It explains why we're used and then thrown away after a City Council election and why the position of "Commissioner" is the Basic Service we should be funding.

Many Hands Make Light Work

Pete Colt


Thank you for your insights, Pete.

Andy's blog post talks about how traditional campaigning calls for ignoring outer neighborhoods and spending time and money on those with frequent progressive voters. See my 2006 post on BlueOregon with maps showing the addresses of the donors to my campaign, and those of the traditionally-funded incumbent.

When I ran in 2008, I campaigned on the ground in all 95 neighborhoods. I collected donations in 91 of 95. And I won every precinct in every neighborhood.

So now, I work hard to serve every neighborhood, and to give every taxpayer, ratepayer, and fee-payer value for the money you spent on my campaigns, as well as the salary you pay me each month. I work hard to provide basic services. I am happy at least one citizen considers my work a basic service, and one worth funding. Please vote Yes on 26-108

Loretta Smith for Multnomah County Commission

  • Posted on: 6 October 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

It is truly exciting and satisfying that there are two dynamic, well-qualified women vying for the District 2 seat on the Multnomah County Commission, seeking to represent North and Northeast Portland. I've thought long and hard whether to endorse Loretta Smith or Karol Collymore. I met with each of them. I've seen them at multiple events, and read their web sites. I am impressed with both, and I know Multnomah County will be well-served whoever wins. I even considered not stating an endorsement, since I don't live in District 2 and I will of course be glad to work with whoever is elected. But then I remembered the words of one of my favorite Rush songs, Free Will - "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice".

I urge voters in District 2 to choose Loretta Smith. I believe she's earned the privilege of representing her neighbors on the County Commission, and the honor of receiving your vote.

Loretta is a woman of action, a woman of accomplishment, a woman of experience, and a successful single parent. Her top budget priorities are to invest in our children, protect seniors, and to bring jobs into our community. She especially supports SUN Schools, looking after impoverished children, and Project Independence, helping seniors stay in their homes with a little assistance. Both of these are proven, cost-effective programs. She knows how to prioritize, and she does her homework.

Loretta brings:

* Experience in Portland

* Experience in schools

* Experience in building partnerships to get things done locally, statewide, and nationally

* Experience in addressing financial challenges

* Experience working with constituents and elected officials at all levels of local, state, and national politics

Loretta has lived in District 2 for 23 years, and in Oregon for 28. Her grandfather came here from Brooklyn, NY in 1942 during World War II, to work in the Kaiser shipyards. She's an Oregonian with deep roots in Portland, and longstanding connections to the community. She understands the challenges and opportunities of people in the area she will represent. She's known, respected, and endorsed by community leaders including State Representative Lew Frederick, State Senators Chip Shields and Laurie Monnes Anderson, amd former State Senators Margaret Carter and Bob Boyer. And also by my beloved Oregon Nurses Association, which I can tell you from experience does not often give endorsements in local races. They, and I, see Loretta as someone special.

Loretta not only knows Portland, she understands the challenges in east Multnomah County from her work with Ron Wyden, first as a U.S. Representative and then as U.S. Senator. As District 2's representative, she will be a valued partner with Commissioners McKeel and Shiprack in considering how services can and must be provided throughout the county. And she will bring an independent and objective perspective, coming to the County from a job with wider responsibilities. As a staffer, she's proven how she builds coalitions without taking credit for the outcomes. As a Commissioner, she'll continue to focus on results for the community. That's who she is, that's what she's done for 20+ years in public service in Portland.

I see Loretta's longtime service to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden as surely an added bonus for Multnomah County, if she is elected. So much of the County's (and the City's) work depends on appropriations, grants, and allocations from the federal government. As the recession continues and the Oregon state budget has the biggest hole yet, it would certainly be helpful to have a local elected official whose advice is known to be valued in Oregon's senior Senator's office in Washington D.C.

Some people say there is no job more difficult than parenting. Loretta has experienced the joys and fears of motherhood, and even tougher, of being a single mom helping her son through Portland Public Schools during the decades when every new academic year meant new cuts. She knows how to work to address financial challenges in the schools. She is a football mom, whose son is now playing for the University of Washington's Huskies. I know from my own experience getting my son to football practices at Wilson High School early in the morning and home late at night, while still making sure the homework was done, that the "team mom" truly understands how much background support is needed to ensure success in the public arena.

Loretta has worked with vulnerable residents in Multnomah County for over 20 years, helping seniors to access social security, helping veterans with disability claims, and helping families going through foreclosure find local programs to save their homes. She assisted Humboldt Elementary School in obtaining computers. She helped secure monetary support for local youth programs like the Police Activities League, Self Enhancement, Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs. She's been doing these things and similar service for our neighborhoods in Portland for years. She's earned everything she's achieved, for herself and for the community, through intelligence, hard work, and guts. Find out more about Loretta here

I believe it's Loretta Smith's turn to make the decisions, after decades of diligent, sound, competent staff work, community involvement in Portland, and providing advice and service to others. She's earned her solid reputation in the community. I hope District 2 voters reward her by giving her the honor of serving on the Multnomah County Commission.

Best line from the Northwest Labor Council Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park

  • Posted on: 6 September 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

John Kitzhaber: "During my previous two terms as governor, we created over 125,000 jobs in Oregon; wages rose by 49 percent and our state gross annual product rose by 48 percent. For those keeping score, the number of Oregon jobs created by me versus my opponent is 129,000 to zero."

More information here.

Ambassadors talking smack

  • Posted on: 13 June 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

According to, the following is an exchange between aides to the U.S. Ambassador in London and the United Kingdom Ambassador in Washington D.C., prior to the epic USA v. England match in the World Cup yesterday.

From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London

To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC

Subject: World Cup Bet

Mr. Longden, It has not escaped our attention that a certain sporting event is fast approaching, and that our respective nations will soon be meeting on the fields of South Africa.

My Ambassador has asked me to see if your Ambassador might be interested in a small wager? We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter.

Sincerely, Philip Breeden, U.S. Embassy, London


From: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC

To: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London

Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Breeden,

Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your Ambassador proposes this wager. It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation - since the British Ambassador does not anticipate paying out.

Your email does not specify the exact terms of the wager. May I suggest that, in the event of an England victory, the US Ambassador agrees to entertain the British Ambassador at a steak-house of his choosing in downtown DC? And in the event that the United States is able to engineer a fortuitous win over England, then my man will entertain yours at a London pub of his choosing. Loser pays.

Your reference to a previous sporting encounter between our two countries puzzles me. Since the history of English football is long and extensive, in contradistinction to US soccer, I regret that I cannot immediately recall the encounter to which you refer. No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Yours sincerely, Martin Longden British Embassy Washington DC


From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London

To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC

Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Longden ,

It is with great pleasure, and no small measure of anticipation, that the U.S. Ambassador accepts the terms of the wager. I am surprised, given the well known love of the British for history, that you have forgotten what happened the last time the "special relationship" was tested on the pitch. Of course, given the result, you are to be forgiven for having misplaced that particular episode in your memory banks. I refer of course to the victory of the U.S. over England in the 1950 World Cup.

It is true that our soccer (a fine English word we have kindly preserved for you) history is not as long and illustrious as yours. However, as your generals noted during WWII, we have a unique capability for quickly identifying and advancing talent.

Game on!

Sincerely, Philip Breeden


From: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC

To: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London

Subject: Re: World Cup Bet

Mr. Breeden,

Very well; it's a bet!

Incidentally, you should know that the Ambassador takes his steak like American soccer victories - somewhat rare.


Martin Longden


I thought I was hoping for a draw, which is what happened due to an unfortunate error by an English goalie who shall remain nameless (cos my English family and I all feel sorry for him). But when England scored the first goal inside the first ten minutes of play, I realized removing the woman from England did not remove love of England football from the woman.

Enthusiasm! Dan Saltzman!

  • Posted on: 2 May 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I know, I know, those three words are rarely seen together. In sixteen months of working with Dan, I think the most intense display of positive emotion I've seen from him has been a satisfied smile and a comment on the lines of, "That went well". And that was after Nick Fish, Dan and I persuaded the Council to unite in saving the ratepayers $500 million by choosing ultraviolet rather than filtration treatment if we are forced to treat Bull Run water. Half a billion dollars saved. "That went well."

Still, I am enthusiastic in my support for Dan being elected to another term. He's the right person for the job, and his record shows he deserves to keep doing it.

What a difference four years makes.

This time in 2006, I was the first candidate to qualify for Portland's innovative Public Campaign Finance funding, when I challenged Commissioner Dan Saltzman for the Position # 3 seat. I was always careful to note that I was running because I thought I'd be good for Portland, rather than because I had any particular beefs with the incumbent, but I was campaigning 18 hours every day hoping to win the seat. I was attending up to nine job interviews daily, seven days a week, often trying to explain to voters in one minute or less why they should vote for me. On May 20, 2006, I was crushed when viewing the election night returns showing I had earned only 25% of the vote, not enough to force a runoff.

That outcome was the best possible result for Portland, and for me.

I am not sorry I ran for the Position # 3 seat in 2006 seat, but I am very glad I lost. The months of soul-searching and evaluating what Portland really needs, between the 2006 loss and when I filed to run for the open Position # 1 seat in 2007, helped me focus, identify priorities, and clarify promises I could keep -- that I am keeping. Spending taxpayers' money wisely. Promoting jobs and schools. Truly engaging and informing Portlanders about decisions that affect you.

And, my loss in 2006 kept Commissioner Dan Saltzman in office. And now that I work with him inside City Hall, I can tell you that is A Very Good Thing.

Dan doesn't play the media or the PR strategy. He quietly goes about doing good work, not seeking glory or praise for his actions. He doesn't play political games, never trading a vote on one issue in exchange for a vote on another. He makes decisions on the facts and public interest as he sees them. Like me, he rarely even co-sponsors an Ordinance or Resolution with another member of Council, respecting as I do that public hearings should help decide an outcome, rather than the decision being pre-determined. When he decides to stand firm on a principle, he's solid, yet he is also willing to change his mind and publicly acknowledge that he's done so, when compelling new information arises. Some said his change of actions on the Officer Humphreys suspension/desk duty issue was a "flip-flop". I saw it as commendable response to new information, and a compromise that kept a police officer working in administrative tasks instead of paying him to stay home.

Dan is principled and fiscally responsible. When people question me on media and campaign misinformation regarding "sewer money for bike paths", my response is, "Using sewer money for bike paths would be illegal. That's not what we voted for, and that's not how your rate money is being used." I can say that with confidence because I know Dan Saltzman, like me, is keeping a close watch over ratepayers' dollars. He consistently, persistently, and continually asks questions at Council regarding appropriate use of sewer and water rates.

Dan Saltzman is doing an excellent job as Commissioner-in-Charge of the Police Bureau, through some very difficult circumstances and inherited problems. Working with Chief Rosie Sizer, he is transforming the culture and accountability of the Police Bureau. He doesn't manage his bureaus or interact with his colleagues through press releases and interviews, rather he has constructive discussions out of the spotlight to further improvements. For example, he invited me to work with him on identifying better ways to avoid adverse interactions between police officers and people experiencing mental health emergencies, and was the driving force in defining the actions in our joint report. Now, Dan and I are working with the Mayor on funding those actions. Collaboration is the key to solving some of the decades-old problems facing community and police relations. I believe Dan is the best choice on City Council to manage the Police Bureau.

Beyond all this, Dan Saltzman has a record of success getting things done to solve problems. He recognizes that addressing domestic violence, prostitution, and child abuse problems by funding programs to support victims is cost-effective and compassionate, and reduces police costs. I used to question why the City should fund services traditionally the responsibilty of Multnomah County. Now I recognize, as Dan has for years, that City funding of preventative and treatment measures saves taxpayers' money that would otherwise be needed for police services - as well as being more compassionate and effective. That's wise use of scarce resources.

Dan founded the Office of Sustainability and pushed the City to address environmental issues long before green industries were recognized as an essential component of our economic development stategy. Now, green technology is identified by the Portland Development Commission and Mayor Adams as one of our core target industries. Portland attracts businesses because of the number and quality of buildings certified as meeting environmental sustainability standards. Green means bucks as well as chlorophyll.

On a personal note, Dan has been extremely gracious, encouraging, and respectful to me. He makes extra effort to recognize my contributions to fostering collaboration between Council members, as well as often supporting my work and direction. He's generous in sharing credit, and reluctant to publicize others' mistakes. He's solid and dependable and kind. He cares about public service and public services. He shows up at community events that don't get much attention, such as grade school visits and domestic violence fundraisers.

So, the photo above is the front of our house in 2010 - a little different from the view four years ago. I no longer have time to dig the dandelions out of the front lawn moss-meadow, and I proudly display Dan's yard sign instead of mine. Because I spend so much time inside City Hall, I know Portland will be best served by supporting my colleague Dan Saltzman for re-election to the Portland City Council. Please join me in voting for Dan.


NOTE: I also enthusiastically support Nick Fish for re-election. The outcome in that race seems certain, so I'll reserve a blog post talking about why I so appreciate working with Nick for another time.

My brother is running for Parliament

  • Posted on: 15 April 2010
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The primary election in Oregon is not the only important issue voters face in May. In Britain, the ruling party gets to choose when to call for an election (within set parameters), and Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month decided every seat in the British Parliament will be up for election on May 6. My brother, Peter Jones, is running (in Britain, they call it "standing") for election in Milton Keynes, a city near London. It's the fourth time he's been a parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats. In Britain, the "Liberal Democrats" are the center party, with Labour on the left and the Conservatives on the right. There's a nice map showing the North-South divide in political affiliation here.

Peter has a campaign blog. I enjoyed the recent entry, "No junk mail", and hope you might too. In Britain, each candidate gets one piece of mail delivered free by the Post Office, and is allowed to deliver any additional mailers using the regulation post office mail boxes by hand. "Letter boxes" there are most often slots in the front door, or a container by the front door. They don't have curbside mailboxes. Mail carriers all deliver on foot, except in rural areas.

My brother would tell you he has almost no hope of winning, Milton Keynes South being a marginal Labour seat but with the Conservatives in solid second. In Britain, people vote much more by the party and the leader of the party rather than the individual candidate, and whichever party's leader gets the most seats gets to be the Prime Minister. Most of the election coverage goes to the leaders of the three main parties, rather than the local candidate. You will notice there is no information about the candidate or his positions on my brother's web site, - elections are almost all about the party, with how hard the local candidate works being a relatively minor factor in getting out the votes.

Peter ran in the now-redistricted Milton Keynes Southwest linked above in 1997, coming third. He also ran twice in Aylesbury, finishing second both times with over 25% of the vote, in a heavily Conservative district. He has been an elected member of the Chiltern County Council since 1991. His biggest claim to fame on the national stage may have been his Safe Standing at Football Games motion at the 2008 Lib Dem National Conference, adopted as a plank in the national platform. The motion was wildly popular with both delegates and fans, but failed to swing the subsequent election to the Lib Dems. Sigh.

Watering the Bamboo

  • Posted on: 27 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I have been on vacation this past week, and spent much of it happily watching college football on TV with my sons. Thank you, Comcast, for broadcasting re-runs of the entire Ducks season. I was at all but one of the home games, and watched the away games on ESPN or the networks, so I missed Ducks Athletic Director Mike Bellotti's commentary on Channel 37 each week. Fascinating. Plus, it is way more fun to watch the games knowing they have happy endings.

My son Luke pointed me to this very sweet interview (Thanks, Ross Hamilton of the Oregonian) featuring assorted Ducks including amazing freshman LaMichael James.

In it, LaMichael talks about "watering the bamboo". It's a reference to a motivational speaker Coach Chip Kelly brought in, Greg Bell, who tells listeners to Water the Bamboo. Watch the video, if only to see what a nice young man LaMichael seems to be. Bell's site states,

"Water The Bamboo is really just a metaphor to remind us that all great success takes time and work. When you water giant timber bamboo in the first year, you see nothing. In the second year, you see nothing. In the third year, you see nothing. In the fourth year, it will suddenly rocket 90 feet in just 60 days! Bamboo farmers know you need to water the bamboo a long time before you see any sign of success."

Like football players, it seems to me my team in City Hall will need to keep nurturing the values we believe in, in order to hope to see exponential growth in four years.

Can you spare a minute?

  • Posted on: 20 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Since I have been working downtown this past year, I've become more familiar with questions like the title of this post, often posed on street corners by earnest-looking, young-looking people with clipboards. Minutes are a scarce commodity in my life now. We have around 580,000 people in Portland, and most days up to 100 Portlanders contact me requesting action on something, in addition to the tasks my staff and I already have on our To Do list from managing my bureaus and working with my colleagues on issues. So on the street, I smile and keep hurrying on, even when the question asked is something more heart-tugging like, "Do you care about children?". One minute can represent the amount of time it takes to read an email, or ask one of my staff to call back someone who left a message for me on the topic-du-jour.

In other situations, my answer to "Can you spare a minute?" is often, "Of course! How can I help you?". My current job is much like my previous ones over 27 years in nursing. To be effective, I need to know what is bothering people, and what they would like me to do about it. A minute spent listening to a constituent often results in having the capacity to fix a problem I didn't know existed before.

Still, perhaps because minutes are precious and must be well spent, part of my morning routine each day continues to be to click on

The Hunger Site

and the other five related pages linked on tabs from The Hunger Site. On these pages, a click once every 24 hours shows you've seen Thank You page, whose sponsors then give money to the worthy causes. It's free to you, except for the minute of your time. Can you spare a minute, for that?

Answers to common questions are here. I've purchased Fair Trade and other products from the site, and have always been very pleased with the quality and value. They are currently promising shipping to arrive by 12/24.

If you have a few more minutes to spare this fine December Sunday, please visit:

* Be Fire and take their quick quiz, which will then help Portland Fire & Rescue win a $10,000 grant (closes tomorrow, 12/21/09)

* Your Voice survey on community technology needs (closes tomorrow, 12/21/09)

* the Portland Plan survey

Can you spare a minute, in your own home with no further obligations?

Emergency assistance information

  • Posted on: 12 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

* If someone you know needs emergency social services including housing or shelter, call 211.

* For frequently-updated emergency information on weather, school closures, and other community challenges in Portland, go to

* For assistance in Portland's public spaces, if you are concerned about someone needing professional mental health attention, call Project Respond, 503-988-4888.

* Downtown, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., for other issues not needing police officers, call Clean & Safe staff at 503-22-4PETE (503-224-7383).

* During City of Portland business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call 503-823-4000 to find information about any City, County, or Portland Development Commission issue or service.

Portland's Heisman candidate

  • Posted on: 7 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

When was the last time a graduate of one of Portland's high schools was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I am thrilled that Grant High School alumnus Ndamukong Suh is one of five contenders for college football's highest individual honor, the 2009 Heisman Trophy to be announced December 12 and awarded December 14.

From the University of Nebraska web site:

Suh was a two-way star at Grant High School, where he earned Parade All-America honors and was voted the 2004 Portland Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year and the state Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior, Suh had 65 tackles, including 10 sacks and recovered four fumbles. He also starred on the offensive line for Coach William Griffin, helping the Generals to a 9-3 record and a berth in the state quarterfinals. Suh earned first-team all-league honors on both offense and defense, and in addition to his defensive accolades was a first-team all-state pick on offense by at least one media outlet. Suh also earned first-team All-PIL honors on both offense and defense as a junior and was an honorable-mention all-state pick as a junior.

Suh was listed as the top prospect in the state of Oregon by and among the top 10 defensive tackle prospects in the country. Suh played in the U.S. Army All-American Game, where he lined up on the offensive line. Suh also played basketball and was a track standout for Grant High. He earned honorable-mention all-league honors in basketball as a junior and senior.

In track he was the district shot put champion in 2004, and won the OSAA Class 4A shot put title in 2005 with a school-record throw of 61-4. For his all-around athletic accomplishments, Suh was a finalist for the Portland Tribune’s Athlete of the Year. Suh chose Nebraska over California, and also visited Miami, Oregon State and Mississippi State.

Suh’s mother, Bernadette, is from Jamaica, while his father, Michael, hails from Cameroon. In the Ngema tribe in Cameroon, Ndamukong means “House of Spears.” Suh was born on Jan. 6, 1987, and he will earn his degree in construction management this December. Ndamukong was named to the 2009 Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll. He has volunteered with Nebraska’s local hospital visits and also recently volunteered his time as a speaker at Pound Middle School.

He sounds like yet another fine athletic graduate of Portland Public Schools we can all be proud of. I am not sure who I will be rooting for in the Holiday Bowl on December 30, when the Cornhuskers play Arizona. I usually cheer for the PAC-10 team, and I want to be a gracious winner after the Ducks squeaked/quacked past the Wildcats in overtime. But still, a Portland Public Schools superstar is someone to applaud.

Support the Street Roots Auction

  • Posted on: 31 October 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Street Roots Auction is now on line! From their site:

Wanting to improve your quality of life and help out Street Roots? Look no further.

Trying to figure out what exactly to get your family and friends this holiday season? You’ve come to the right place. Street Roots has partnered with more than 60 individuals and businesses to put together some uniquely Pacific Northwest tidbits just for you in this auction, both large and small.

Plus, with your support you'll be helping empower social justice media and economic development for people experiencing homelessness and poverty throughout the Portland region.

The auction includes a framed 16 x 20" photograph of Portland roses and clouds, taken from Oaks Bottom by the incomparable Steve Fritz. Bid on it here. It's cropped from this photo:

Street Roots is a wonderful organization doing excellent work both supporting people experiencing homelessness with meaningful jobs, and providing all Portlanders with well-researched, well-written articles covering subjects you won't find anywhere else. Buy a copy of Street Roots every two weeks, send a subscription and/or additional donation, and bid on their auctions today.

Why I support Lew Frederick for House District 43

  • Posted on: 19 October 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I do not like campaigning.

In both of my campaigns for a seat on the Portland City Council, I felt like a puppy sitting in a cage at the Humane Society, paws against the wire, tail wagging, eyes pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”. I found the constant rounds of two-minute interactions frustrating and unsatisfying – always on to the next one, rather than building a real relationship with the person I’d just met. I continually thought of a better way to answer a question in a debate… on the way home, when it was too late. I disliked seldom being able to say, “Clearly, you asked me that question because you know more about the subject than I do – what do you think?”. I felt shallow for even attempting to give the required 60 second answer to a complex question like, “How would you solve the problem of inadequate school funding in Oregon?”.

And yet having campaigned all over the constituency I am now responsible for, makes me a much, much better City Commissioner than if I had been appointed to the position with no campaign experience. I am a better City Commissioner for having campaigned in a runoff election, over the course of more than a year, visiting a wide variety of interest groups and learning more about a broad range of issues. I recognize that the runoff process taught me more than would have been possible if I had been Commissioner-elect. The dynamics change once the power is assigned.

When I ran in 2005-6, my message was essentially, “I am a woman who has twenty years’ experience in all kinds of volunteer and professional roles in Portland. I have done lots of good things in the community. I have nothing against the incumbent or any of the others running in the race, but there’s nobody like me on the City Council, and I want to help get things done, so please pick me.”

Twentyfive percent of the voters agreed. The majority did not. For a while I thought I was done with seeking political office in Oregon. The only civic engagement I did, the summer of 2006, was to volunteer on Lew Frederick’s campaign for Multnomah County Commissioner. I had attended multiple debates with Lew and other contenders for the seat, during the primary. I recognized in Lew a kindred spirit. Someone who was running not to embark on a political career, but to serve the community he loves, with the knowledge he had developed over decades of participating in Portland's many communities.

Volunteering on his campaign, I found Lew Frederick to be as honest and real behind the scenes as he appeared on stage.

And the second time I ran, I knew that the people marking their ballots need more than “I am a woman who has done good things, who will add some diversity and do good things on the Council”. Voters deserved to know not only who I am and what I’ve done in my life, but also what I planned to do for them. Because I had been through the fire of the first campaign, the rough ideas I had about the important issues facing Portland, had been refined into clear understanding and direction. Talking about using taxpayers’ money wisely to fund basic services, jobs and schools, and increasing public participation in making important decisions weren’t just campaign soundbites. Those principles were the core of why I had the courage to run again. I wanted to get those things accomplished on the City Council.

There is only one nominated candidate for the vacant State Representative position in House District 43 who has been refined by the fire of campaigning in House District 43. Lew Frederick won the district in the 2006 Multnomah County Commission race. And the reason he won it is not just that he is a great person, who would add unique diversity since there are no African-American men in the Oregon Legislature. It’s not just that he has decades of experience, as a volunteer and professionally, investing in issues that people in District 43 care about. Schools - Oregon Board of Education member, former Portland Public Schools employee. Jobs - small businesses owner and Urban Renewal expert, co-author of research on the Portland Development Commission’s influence on Northeast Portland. Arts and Culture, and Sciences – Board member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and of OMSI. Human Rights and workers' rights - former union steward, longtime community organizer. Citizen and political involvement - extensive investment in and work for the Democratic Party, Board member of the Bus Project. The reason Lew Frederick won District 43 is that he addressed the issues voters in District 43 care about. There is no other candidate for appointment to the vacant seat in District 43 who has refined their thinking, their approach, and their plans through campaigning, and who has proven to have earned the trust of voters in District 43.

As a Portland City Commissioner, I know that the entire Metro-area delegation is pivotal in deciding how the Legislature will act. That is one reason I am posting this endorsement. I want the new House Representative for District 43 to be someone with experience at the grassroots level, with a history of service to House District 43. Someone committed to staying in House District 43. Lew’s priorities are schools, good jobs, and health care. They stem from his life experiences. Those priorities are the ones I believe should be the Legislature’s in 2010. I believe they are the priorities of voters in District 43.

Leadership requires heart, brains, guts, and memory. The Multnomah County Commissoners should appoint Lew Frederick in HD 43 because he is more qualified, more experienced, more well-rounded, more prepared, and more campaign-tested than any other candidate.

More information about Lew Frederick for HD 43 here