Jim Middaugh wants to make the Portland of tomorrow better than the Portland of today. The City Council candidate, and previous chief of staff for City Commissioner Erik Sten, who left office last month, is looking to win the May 20 primary and fill his former boss’ vacant seat.
Middaugh looks to follow Sten’s lead
Jim Middaugh wants to make the Portland of tomorrow better than the Portland of today.
The City Council candidate, and previous chief of staff for City Commissioner Erik Sten, who left office last month, is looking to win the May 20 primary and fill his former boss’ vacant seat.
Middaugh said he is unlike any other candidate running for City Council seat two, because he is a completely voter-owned candidate, which has allowed him to focus on the voters’ and not the voters money.
“I’m done fundraising,” Middaugh said. “Because I am completely voter owned, I spend that time knocking on doors and speaking to voters.”
The City Campaign Finance Fund, also known as the Voter Owned Initiative, is a campaign finance reform measure that was pioneered by Sten. In order for a potential candidate to become a “certified candidate,” they must receive a minimum of 1,000 $5 donations.
Middaugh has collected those $5 donations from over 1,700 potential voters.
“All the hard work my wife and I put into making sure all the numbers were correct and all the rules that were properly followed has been worth every stressful second,” Middaugh said. “It’s all worth it because we all deserve a Portland better than the Portland today.”
Middaugh was born just outside of Denver, Colo. on July 3, 1962. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1984, he and a friend purchased a VW Bus and traveled the country, stopping in 34 states. According to Middaugh’s campaign Web site, www.jimforportland.com, the same friend who accompanied him along the cross-country trip also wrote his campaign song, entitled “I love my Portland.”
Middaugh has been involved within politics for over two decades. During the mid-1980s, Middaugh worked for Congressman Jim Weaver in Eugene and Congressman Peter DeFazio in Washington, D.C.
In 1992, Middaugh returned to Portland, finding work with the Oregon Natural Resources Council, now known as Oregon Wild. After leaving ONRC, Middaugh became the public affairs manager for the Northwest Power Planning Council.
Two things in Middaugh’s life have always remained constant, he said–his drive to help protect the environment and his dedication to helping the homeless.
“I first hired Jim quite a few years ago to run the city’s endangered species program,” Sten said by e-mail. “He was the key person in finding ways to help restore salmon habitat in an urban environment. He always paid attention to the money as well as the goals. He led the country’s most successful program.”
Middaugh is a longtime Portland bike rider. He can be regularly seen pedaling one of his four bikes throughout the city.
“The first time he accompanied me on a bus trip to a meeting I was amused to find he barely knew how the system worked,” Sten continued in the e-mail. “No matter the weather, no matter where the meeting, he rides that bike. It’s a great symbol of who he is. He does the right thing and sticks to it through rain or shine.”
While Middaugh spends most of his days listening and discussing ways to improve the city with citizens from many neighborhoods, he also serves as Multnomah County’s appointee to the Columbia River Gorge Commission.
Middaugh said he is blessed and fortunate to be where he is today. He said that regardless of what happens in the upcoming elections, his values and passion to make Portland a more sustainable and environmentally conscious city will never leave.