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Monday, February 16, 2009

Adams Disinvited?...Wyden Didn't Want "Anything Distracting..."

Posted by Matt Davis on Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Portland Mayor Sam Adams was conspicuously absent from Senator Ron Wyden's noon press conference at the Multnomah County Building, announcing Oregon's portion of the $780 billion federal stimulus package just passed by Congress.

The gathering, which included Adams' council colleagues, Randy Leonard and Nick Fish, was also officially attended by a role call of Portland's powerful, including Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, County Commissioners Judy Shiprack and Diane McKeel, Chief operating officer for Portland Public Schools Cathy Mincberg, AFLCIO boss Tom Chamberlain, Metro Regional Council President David Bragdon, and even Multnomah County District Attorney, Mike Schrunk:
5fc5/1234820130-stimuluspackage.jpg
ADAMS: Disinvited?

Wheeler used the press conference to announce Multnomah County's wish list for pockets of the cash. He'd like $300m to rebuild the Sellwood bridge, and another $8.1m to upgrade the Broadway Bridge. Not to mention $750,000 for a new laundry facility at the Inverness Jail.

Wyden said the package's investment in tax provisions, roads, bridges, and transportation, energy, and healthcare meant Oregon would be able to "focus like a laser beam on our ailing economy." His fellow senator, Jeff Merkley, said the package could plug a "vicious vortex" in the national economy.

Bragdon compared the package to Theodore {corrected, Monday 16, 3:21 pm} Franklin Roosevelt's efforts in 1933, saying "they built things that lasted, and that's what we intend to do here." Fish said $3m for housing projects was one of the reasons there's "an awful lot to like in this bill." Mincberg said the money "will make a difference" to Portland's public schools.

Nevertheless, Adams' absence was a distraction. Just a month ago, Adams announced Portland's $503m economic stimulus package to a packed press conference at city hall. The three tenets of his election campaign were education, the environment, and the economy, and yet, he appears to have been marginalized this morning.

Did Adams' absence matter?

"No," said Fish. "We had two able representatives to pitch the city's point of view, and this morning I was honored to represent the city."

"No," said Leonard. "We've been doing our work, and that's what's been demonstrated here today."

"I felt Nick and Randy spoke very well on city interests," said Wyden. "I just want to keep the focus on the economy, and I don't want anything to distract from that."

Was it fair to say that Adams had been disinvited?

"We need to go," said a Wyden staffer, interrupting Wyden's "no...". "Thank you," said the staffer, and the Senator was shuffled along.

Well, I guess that answers that question. With all the efficiency of a laser beam in a vicious vortex, I mean...

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