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Sources Say: Buchal has a big dose of liberty for Blumenauer

Portland-area Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer has just drawn the most politically experienced Republican challenger in years. James Buchal is a Portland attorney who received nearly 40 percent of the vote in the four-way 2012 general election against Democrat Ellen Rosenblum for Oregon attorney general.

Buchal only received about 20 percent of the vote in heavily Democratic Multnomah County, however, which means he will face an even more uphill battle against Blumeanuer if he wins the Republican nomination at the May 2014 primary election.

Buchal is not afraid of steep odds. At a time when Tea Party conservatives exercise undue sway with the Republican Party, Buchal is chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Oregon, which he describes as “consisting of both Libertarians who have become convinced that they must join the Republican Party to move things in the right direction, and as generally liberty-oriented folks who also want to push the Republicans in a liberty-oriented

direction.”

Where everybody knows your name

If Portland is the city where young people go to retire, the Port of Portland is the agency where staffers in the Oregon governor’s office end up.

Last week, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s chief of staff, Curtis Robinhold, was named the port’s deputy executive director. He will report to Executive Director Bill Wyatt, a former state legislator who served as Kitzhaber’s chief of staff during his first set of terms as governor. The port’s public affairs director, Tom Imeson, was Kitzhaber’s transition team leader in 1994 and 1995, and also worked for former Oregon Govs. Neil Goldschmidt and Ted Kulongoski.

Also leaving Kitzhaber’s office is Communications Director Tim Raphael, who is going to work for the Strategies 360 public relations firm. Robinson and Raphael are both leaving before Kitzhaber announces whether he will seek re-election in 2014. Kitzhaber is raising campaign money as though he plans to run again, however. He has received nearly $233,000 so far this year, including $10,000 from Nike just last month.

Don’t get him started on Toronto’s mayor

Did Mayor Charlie Hales mean to insult the suburbs when he appeared on a panel at the Portland Business Alliance’s monthly breakfast forum last week?

Since become mayor, Hales has gone out of his way to say the entire region needs to work together on economic and environmental issues. But speaking to the gathering of public and private leaders, Hales unexpectedly launched into a critique of Toronto.

“It’s a beautiful city surrounded by bad suburbia. One leader there called it Vienna surrounded by Phoenix,” he said.

Hales then added, “I’m not saying that about here.” But he said it with a chuckle that made it sound as though he was.

The panel was presented to discuss the most recent report on the regional economy prepared by the Value of Jobs Coalition. Among other things, it said high-tech manufacturers in Washington County are playing a large role in the economic recovery.