Labor counts wins in May primary


Oregon labor organizations saw mostly wins among endorsed political campaigns in the May 21 primary, and a decent number of candidates had some union background themselves. Of the 59 candidates endorsed by the Oregon AFL-CIO, 25 were current or former union members or staff.

High points on election night were contested Democratic primaries in state house districts where the Democrat is likely to win in November. Public defender and former AFSCME member Willy Chotzen got 73% in his race in House District 46 in Southeast Portland. And Eugene teachers union member Lisa Fragala got 72% in her race to be Representative for House District 8, replacing longtime labor legislator Paul Holvey, who retired.

In races for Multnomah County Commission, the county workers union AFSCME Local 88 came out on top, with all four of its endorsed candidates earning the most votes. Julia Brim-Edwards and Vince Jones-Dixon won majorities and were elected outright;  Meghan Moyer and Shannon Singleton will face runoffs in November against Vadim Mozyrsky and Sam Adams, respectively; Mozyrsky also had support from some unions in the primary.

Voters also approved union-endorsed ballot measures to fund public services or capital improvements. Metro Measure 26-244, which authorizes $380 million to make improvements to the Oregon Zoo, passed by 54%. And Portland Ballot Measure 26-245, which renews a 10 cent gas tax to fund street repair, passed with 72% support.

But Measure 34-332, a Tualatin Valley Fire District levy, narrowly failed, with 777 votes in favor and 826 opposed. The defeat could end up resulting in layoffs in the fire district, which covers Beaverton, Durham, King City, Newberg, North Plains, Rivergrove, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, Wilsonville, and unincorporated portions of Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill, and Multnomah counties.


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