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.


on another topic, any chance you'll be doing any shouting out for VOE? Would be nice to see a link to the YES page over there on the left. Thanks for all you're doing. http://yesforportland.com/ Albert Kaufman | Albertideation |

Thank you for the suggestion. I'eve been quieter than I'd envisioned about Ballot Measure 26-108, Voter Owned Elections, because (the Oregonian's editorial notwithstanding) it's not about me. It's about all Portlanders and what we stand to gain in accountability and accessibility if the program continues, and what we stand to lose if it doesn't. But yes, I think a link is long overdue. Duly added at the top of the list. Thank you, Albert.

Willamette Week picked up on this post. I urge you to check out their commentary, if only because it ends with a link to a live performance of Rush doing Free Will. My then-still-to-be-husband Steve and his band, Avalanche, performed the Christian College version of Free Will at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, "Home of Joe Namath". Beaver Falls had little else to commend it except "Home of Joe Namath". That's probably still true. Avalanche of Geneva College changed the lyrics to, "I will choose a path that's clear, using my Free Will". Works for me. Loretta Smith is the path that's clear in this race.