candidate endorsements

2024 Candidate Endorsements 

With its candidate endorsements, the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce has worked to be fair-minded, supporting leadership qualities over individual positioning. Over the years, we have earned the reputation of a chamber which will endorse candidates from across the political spectrum when they show the stronger personal and professional attributes and the all-too-rare willingness and ability to set aside dogma and work with those with divergent views.

Our Candidate Endorsement Team is made up of members who are representative of the demographics of our chamber’s membership. Each is selected due to their political expertise and some have experience in local and/or State government, which lends to a broader understanding of process which helps this committee to make better, more informed decisions.  No endorsement is final until thoroughly vetted and voted on by our Board of Directors.

In our thorough process of interviewing and evaluating candidates we stay true to our business platform in supporting candidates that are pro-business and who will take seriously the decisions they make on legislative issues that will effect business in Clackamas County and in our State.

Current endorsements:

County Commission: County Chair
Tootie Smith’s leadership style is defined by blunt expectations and a brash demeanor – and has been surprisingly effective at reigning in a County Commission historically plagued by dysfunction. She sets the agenda with ambitious goals and bold calculation to indisputable results. Smith has been an unwavering advocate against tolling and navigated a contentious constituency during the chaos of government COVID response. We still hope she continues to evolve as a leader to exhibit more diplomacy in her style – but her leadership has been a critical contributor to Clackamas County’s success across all service categories.
Former County Sheriff Craig Roberts is a public safety savant with a track record of cleaning up the Sheriff’s office and demonstrating a prolific curiosity for modeling after effective programs developed around the country. His empathy and gratitude for the work he’s accomplished demonstrate his passion for public service, and we would love to see him serve on the Commission in an at-large position rather than Chair – where his specialized experience would balance well with other disciplines championed by the rest of the Commissioners. Although solid in all areas of public safety, Roberts was not able to demonstrate how he would be effective across other service areas of the county such as economic and workforce development.
The Chamber’s board felt that Smith’s successes were overshadowed by her abrasive leadership style and have decided not to offer an endorsement in this race.
County Commission: Position 3
Martha Schrader has served Clackamas County for the better part of two decades and remains at the top of our list of most well-respected elected officials. Schrader’s long tenure has not left her complacent. She recently completed tours of day care facilities to map coverage deserts and cited problematic gaps in workforce training leading to poor ambulance staffing numbers. Her top priorities are aligned with the chamber in opposing tolling, reforming measure 110, and supporting first responders. We appreciate Schrader’s consistently gracious demeanor and commitment to her constituents, especially in her tireless advocacy for veterans. The Chamber is proud to endorse Martha Schrader for position three.
Amy Nichols impressively worked her way up from being a server at Portland State University’s favorite watering hole, The Cheerful Tortoise, to owning and operating it. She cited the City of Portland’s suffocating COVID shutdowns as driving her to get involved with politics to keep similar policies out of Clackamas County where she lives. She says she’s treating running for office as a full-time job and her presence at community events has become noticeable and frequent. We like that she comes from a brick-and-mortar business background, and her energy is infectious. She demonstrated that she has an open mind, strong work ethic and approaches public service with humble regard.
Dana Hindman-Allen is a Realtor and Oregon native running for a second time for County Commission. She opposed Project Turnkey as an advocate, and her views mostly align with chamber priorities. Her understanding of major county infrastructure projects should be stronger, and her fundraising goals for the campaign are too modest to be practical. We hope that she will invest some time into familiarizing herself with the Sunrise Corridor and other major infrastructure projects.
County Commission: Position 4
Tina Irvine sold her staffing business to run for County Commission full-time and has spent a year getting up-to-speed on county services through a rigorous schedule of meetings with department heads and county employees. Her list of positions on foundations, boards and non-profits is truly staggering, and informs her well-researched positions on county and chamber priorities. She is motivated to run by what she described as a “lack of engagement” from Commissioners when her foundation work had business before them. A genuine moderate with a solid business and non-profit background, Irvine will complement the Commission well and has earned the endorsement of the Chamber.
Mark Shull doesn’t compromise or appease. He is running to preserve his conservative vote on the Commission and has a long list of votes and positions to prove his pedigree. He cites state land use policies as being largely to blame for the housing affordability problem rather than offering solutions at the county level. One thing that surprised the committee is that he doesn’t plan to raise money or campaign and admits he doesn’t particularly like being on the commission. He’s made a good commissioner, but we’d rather see someone enthusiastic about the position take the seat.
Melissa Fireside is a developer who lives in Lake Oswego focused on infill development and remodeling. She describes herself as a strong, capable, and informed community advocate having served on several boards and commissions at the County level and is a graduate of the Democratic campaign incubator, Emerge Oregon. She impressed us with her understanding of health and human service policy, and suggested the county offer some workforce training to develop more EMTs to address the county’s shortage. She is against tolling but was in favor of Project Turnkey.
Rae Gordon is a well-known musician and former Clackamas County Tourism employee. She cited county employee morale as a major influence in her decision to run, as well as her experience helping neighbors affected by the wildfires. Her priorities seem to be limited to her own personal experiences as a county employee, and her struggles with housing affordability through COVID. Gordon’s greatest asset is her genuine good nature, which may lack the tenacity needed to effectively serve on the Commission, but we hope will carry her through to some type of county volunteer appointment.
County Sheriff
Paul Moore is a recent transplant from Marion County where he also ran for Sheriff. A conspicuous conservative with a black hat and cowboy boots, Moore looks more the part of a Texas Ranger than a Clackamas County Sheriff. His priorities were out-of-touch with Clackamas County, focused on standing against what he describes as unconstitutional laws from Salem. When pressed for an example, he gave a lengthy one on ghost guns (guns without serial numbers). He also referred to needing to secure the border from “undocumented military age men.” These things may be true – the chamber doesn’t have a position on them – but our next County Sheriff needs to be focused on local crime and addiction issues. We concluded that Moore is not a good choice for Clackamas County Sheriff.
Angela Brandenburg is our current County Sheriff, and has recently had tense, public confrontations with the County Commission. She is highly critical of the new courthouse that takes money from the general fund, which means a smaller piece of the pie for the Sheriff’s office. She was successful in passing a Sheriff’s levy, hired a dedicated, on-demand mental health practitioner for the deputies, and boasts carefully curated numbers to demonstrate her successes. Conversely, Brandenburg leads an office of deputies who accuse her of contributing to low morale and cronyism in promotions. One thing we couldn’t get past was her lack of community presence. We only see her at election season, and she is absent from events and committees in which elected officials in her capacity regularly attend and participate.
Lynn Schoenfeld is a “cop’s cop.” Schoenfeld has gained every major law enforcement endorsement in Clackamas County, including more than 400 deputies at CCPOA in a stunning rebuke of the department’s leader. Schoenfeld is straight-talking and traditional in his view of the role of police, stating that “I’ll find, capture and put away those that would do us harm.” His candor comes with the obvious defect that he lacks his opponent’s political instincts and acuity, so we hope if he is successful in the election, he will invest in a polished Public Information Officer or Undersheriff who can help him navigate those interactions.
Because Brandenburg and Schoenfeld possess completely different skillsets – and one doesn’t particularly stand out as the better option ¬– we are declining to endorse either.

Approved by the North Clackamas Chamber Board of Directors February 2024.