Last week's best bit of political theater waited all the way until Saturday. Commissioner Steve Novick, making his weekend rounds, actually dropped in for a planning meeting of the very nascent recall campaign trying to boot him (and Mayor Charlie Hales) from office later this fall.
The meeting—attended by some of the people angry over Novick and Hales' attempt to pass a street fee without a public vote—was up at Tabor Space. And it worked out that KOIN was already there with a TV camera—putting the station in the perfect position to capture some of the resulting back-and-forth.
Novick tells the Mercury he'd been sitting in the back of the room with his fiancée for a little more than half an hour when some of the other attendees finally noticed and bade him come forward and explain himself. Novick says recall organizer Ray Horton had been aware he was in the room the whole time. The meeting was mostly spent discussing technical issues involving signature gathering, Novick says, nothing terribly sensitive.
"They asked me to come up and explain why I was there," Novick says. "I wanted to hear why people thought anything the mayor or I have done was more worthy of a recall than anything else the city has done over the past 10 years."
He brought up the Portland Bureau of Transportation's switch to using "fog-sealing" spray on roads, a preventive maintenance measure that extends the life of pavement.
He also answered, again, for his infamous statement during the street fee rollout press conference that angry voters could boot him from office in 2016 if they didn't like it.
"That wasn't meant as a challenge," Novick insists. "It was meant as a discussion of civics. People elect people to make decisions. And then, at the end of their term, if you like more of those decisions than you dislike, you might re-elect them. If you dislike more than you like, you might throw them out."
The video shows Novick sparring gently with some participants, before the room decides it'd be best if he returned to his seat. There's also some discussion about the KOIN reporter, who rebuffs a woman asking if he had permission to film there. Horton suggested the next meeting wouldn't be so public. (Saturday's was posted in the Tribune, which is how Novick says he got wind of it.)
By the end, Novick says, a few people thanked him for showing up.
"It was actually kind of pleasant," he says.
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