In a special-call Zoom meeting June 2, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC) endorsed Loretta Smith for Portland City Council. Smith, a former Multnomah County commissioner, was the top vote-getter among 18 candidates vying to fill the remainder of Nick Fish’s term. Fish died of stomach cancer in January. Smith didn’t obtain 50% plus one of the vote, so she’ll be in a runoff with Dan Ryan, former CEO of the educational nonprofit All Hands Raised and a former Portland Public School Board member.
Because it is a race to fill a vacancy, the runoff election will be held Aug. 11. The winner will serve the remainder of Fish’s term, which expires in 2022.
Smith was endorsed by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 in the primary. Ryan had no union endorsements.
Labor was mostly behind Julia DeGraw, an environmental activist and union ally. She ran with support from AFSCME Local 189, Portland Association of Teachers, and Protect 17, but finished third.
At the NOLC endorsement meeting, public employee unions mostly abstained from voting, saying they had yet to take a position in the race.
Smith ran for City Council in 2018, losing to current Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty. Smith served two terms as a Multnomah County commissioner starting in 2010. She was prevented by term limits from running for re-election. Prior to that, she worked for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden for 23 years.