“Time for a Change”


By the time I returned to work in the late winter, not only did Tom have a real office for the construction company, he also had decided to run for a position on the Portland City Council in the May primary election. Portland in those days was far from the hipster laden, coffee drinking town it is today. It was a solidly lower middle class, conservative city run by solidly lower middle class conservative council members. Tom decided to go up against one of these men in the hopes that Portlanders were ready for a change.

Tom was young, enthusiastic, idealistic and energetic. His main opponent was older, tired, settled and content with the ways things had always been. Tom rallied a group of similar minded people who did all the work of campaigning while I did office work for the construction company and looked on in wonder. The primary field for the office was broad, but Tom came in first followed in a close second by the incumbent.

Tom began to build apartment houses through a HUD subsidized program for low income people. I found him a burned over lot which had held a furniture store destroyed in rioting some years earlier. He built a large apartment house on it and asked me if I wanted to manage it. As readers of earlier posts will recall, I did, to disastrous effects!

By the fall, however, I knew that office work was not a good long range plan and I enrolled in graduate school to be a certified teacher. I quit working for Tom, and my good friend from Trailways jumped at the chance to work for him. I still campaigned door to door in “swing” neighborhoods. Regrettably I brought him the news that I thought he would be defeated in the general election, based on my door to door visits. He was by a vote of 69,109 to his 67,747. We had a great party and I returned to my studies.

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