By COLIN STAUB
A former union officer with Laborers Local 483 is running for Oregon governor in the Democratic primary. John Sweeney, 82, worked for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) from 1965 through 1997, represented by Laborers 483. Sweeney mowed parks all over the city, plowed and roto-tilled community gardens and worked in PP&R’s tree division, before becoming a supervisor.
During his years in the union, Sweeney served as a shop steward, executive board member and vice president.
Today, Sweeney lives in Southeast Portland’s Richmond neighborhood. He’s a precinct committee person for the Democratic Party and a former director for the Multnomah Education Service District, a state-funded cooperative providing services like special education at public schools in Multnomah County.
The Democratic primary has 15 candidates for governor. Sweeney points to his working-class career to explain why working people should vote for him.
Sweeney hasn’t held city or state office, but he ran for mayor in 1968, coming in second to Terry Schrunk in the primary.