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By The Skanner News
Published: 13 February 2008

Should state Sen. Margaret Carter move from state government to city government? According to the buzz, that's a question being asked around town in everywhere from boardrooms to basketball courts. The Skanner can't reveal our sources on this, but it seems a group of business leaders have asked Sen. Carter to ditch her job in Salem and make a bid for the seat Commissioner Sam Adams is vacating in City Hall.

In his State of the City speech at Jefferson High School last month, Mayor Tom Potter talked about the mismatch between multicultural Portland and its all-White, all male city council.

Since its earliest days, and despite a string of laws that denied civil rights to people of color, Oregon has been home to shifting populations of Black, Chinese and Mexican people as well as diverse groups of Native Americans who populated the area first. But census figures from 2000 show Portland's population includes about 7 percent African Americans, 7 percent Latinos, 6 percent Asian, 2 percent Native American and 4 percent reporting as mixed race. The numbers of some of these groups are expected to increase by the next census. And small but growing numbers of immigrants are moving to Portland from all over the world. 

Potter noted that as he and Commissioner Sten bow out, the city has an opportunity to increase diversity at the highest levels of City Hall. So far, 12 candidates have filed for the mayor's seat, the best known names being Commissioner Sam Adams and Portland business leader Sho Dozono.

Seven people have filed for Commissioner Eric Sten's seat, including former mayoral contender Nick Fish, Sten's chief of staff, Jim Middaugh and Harold Williams II, a management consultant who helped lead summer programs for African American youth. 

Seven too have filed for Commissioner Sam Adam's seat including Portland Public Schools development director, John Branam, community activist and blogger Amanda Fritz, former state representative Mike Fahey and founder of the music nonprofit Ethos, Charles Lewis. That is the group that Sen. Carter would face off against if she were to be persuaded to enter the race.

Should Sen. Carter run for Portland City Council? What do you think? Click on "Share your thoughts" below and let us know.

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