Portland? Can We Call Him Mayor?

Portland? Can We Call Him Mayor?

Portland? Can We Call Him Mayor? 

Sunday, May 13, 2007 


For those not familiar with the business world of Portland Oregon,this man’s name is Roy Jay.
First the set up:
  1. Portland Mayor Tom Potter is not going to run for re-election so the seat will be open.
  2. Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams has the largest staff of any on the Portland City Council and it is pretty clear that his staff is not just commissioned to work for the city but also to prepare for Sam’s mayoral run.
  3. There is a strong business (and political, because in Portland the line between politics and business is very blurry) contingent in the Portland area that really, REALLY does not like Sam Adams.
Now to Roy Jay
I first heard of Mr. Roy Jay through a mutual friend almost ten years ago. A property owner in the convention center area of Portland. Roy was described to me as a high energy guy who always had something going on. In a word entrepreneurial. (note: click read more to expand this post and read the entire article.)
Then I got to meet him when I was running for Portland City Council in the spring of 2000. Before I met him I did my homework (note to future candidates ALWAYS do your background work on those you are meeting. Also good advice to salespeople.) and found him quite fascinating. The guy was involved in SO many things that were happening in the Portland business community and always just kinda buzzing around in the background. He was primarily focused on the tourism/visitor industry. In fact in December of 2003 he won a national award from the “National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners.” They had this to say:

The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners honored multi-talented business entrepreneur, Roy Jay, as their “Minority Business of the Year” recipient at the 20th Annual Conference held November 19-23 in Dallas, Texas. John Crump, NCBMP Board Chairman and Ana Apointe-Curtis, NCBMP President and national meeting planner for the NAACP, stood at the podium at the Wyndom Anatole Hotel to make the surprise announcement. The entire grand ballroom erupted in applause and stood for a lengthy ovation for the man known as the “Michael Jordan of the Black Convention and Tourism industry.”

Cool beans man.
The Portland Tribune did a write up on Roy Jay back in 2005.

Jay, a 58-year-old North Portland native, is arguably one of the most accomplished civic and business leaders in Portland even though you may never have heard of him.

That sentence really hits the nail on the head.
Mayor Material?
That’s the rumor floating around some corners of Portland.
I sure hope I don’t jinx him for this but I think he is. Especially for Portland. Would his policies match up completely with mine or the majority of NWR readers? Nope. However he has real world business experience, he is a guy who is loved by everyone who meets him and he really really loves the city of Portland. He has become one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders.
Portland moderates (I don’t think there are any conservatives anymore) need to understand something. That is that there are certain things Portland will always be doing. Goofy things like the Tram, Light Rail and yes the Convention Center Hotel. So you cannot expect to really elect anyone who might be opposed to such goofy projects. Those days are done for a couple of decades if not forever.
So, that said, who do you want as mayor while those projects move forward? You want someone who has some experience in the real world who understands a P&L and Cashflow statement. Who knows that feeling in your gut as you wade through financials and something is saying, “no this aint headed in the right direction.” Or, “oh man, we may be on to something here.” There is not much scientific about those two feelings but anyone reading this who has ever run their own business will recognize those moments. You do don’t you?
Roy Jay would fit that bill much moreso than Sam “the Tram” Adams.
Don’t get me wrong, I probably would not call Roy Jay a conservative (for one if I did it would probably be the kiss of death in Portland). Considering that he is in the visitor and tourism industry we can be sure he is a proponent of the convention center hotel. Well guess what? So is every other Portland political leader. And I’ll trade a CCH for a Tram any day.
However one thing that has always just flat annoyed me is the weird feeling you get when you meet some politicians. You know that shifty kind of feeling? Charlie Hales had it, as does Ben Westlund and Earl Blumenaur and yes so does Sam Adams.
Then there are the Avel Gordly’s, Margaret Carter’s and I might even put Randy “the pit bull” Leonard in the second category. Political? Yes. Willing to work some angles? Sure. However you never get the feeling that you need to take a bath after working with them. Sure you may at times want to reach across the table and grab Randy Leonard by the shirt collar and smack him upside the head. But… You get the feeling that he would take it like a man and not get some city bureau to audit your water bills or something.

Theres nobody like Roy Jay, says former Mayor Vera Katz, who worked with him to promote the city of Portland as a visitors destination over the years. Hes one of a kind. Hes persistent, dynamic, passionate. Hes got a story for everything.

Roy Jay is one who falls into that second catagory. AND he has some real world business experience (did I say that yet?). Anyone I ever met in Portland who had ever met or dealt with Roy Jay had nothing but good things to say about the man. Oh there may be some business or political disagreements, but that happens with anyone. However you always get the impression that he is his own guy and does not need to work anyone else to work YOU. And that happens alot in Portland City government (including PDC, Metro, MultCo).
I think Portland is due for an African American mayor. They are due for a mayor is a jubilant personality and will be an unabashed promoter of everything Portland. Portland is a beautiful city and Portland needs a mayor who is more concerned with his love for the city than his love for political advancement. Roy Jay would fit that bill to a tee.
After a term of Mayor Tom “grampy” Potter, Portland deserves someone who is high energy and at the end of the day (or decade) will still be all about Portland. From the Tribune article there is this story:

…the time he went to Nassau, Bahamas, to bid for a convention and saw his competitors lounging at the pool at the Marriott Hotel. Jay slyly left his companys American Express card at the hotel bar for their use, delivered his presentation to the American Black Chiropractors Association upstairs, won the conference and returned an hour and a half later to find his competitors still there, with $283 on his bar tab.

Now really… You gotta love that don’t you? I mean you want someone like that working for Portland.

Yip, Run Roy Run! Yip

Various contacts were made when putting this peice together. However anyone who knows Portland city politics knows how hard it is to get business and political leaders to go on record because there are just so danged many angles being worked. Oiy! However should there be someone reading this who would like to contact me concerning the likelihood of a Roy Jay for Mayor campaign please feel free to do so at nwrepublican@aol.com.

Comments are closed.