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When we last checked in on the Portland Mayor's race, Jefferson Smith was gaining big momentum headed into primary day. Those predictions proved accurate with a competitive general election shaping up between Jefferson and his opponent, the former city councilman Charlie Hales.

Since then, lots has happened. My friend Jefferson even got to tell the University of Oregon graduating class (and their assembled friends and family) that "[They] Might Be Screwed."

But that's not why I'm writing. I'm writing because Jeff is now making headlines by calling for a coal ban. Reality is that cities lack some needed powers to stop coal shipments, but reality is also that there's a lot they can do, which is what Jefferson has called for (in a comment he wrote on local blog Blue Oregon):

My thoughts on a 4-part proposal, as it concerns the city:
  1. Pass a resolution similar to what Seattle passed.
  2. Support the Governor in his efforts to evaluate the health impacts, so that we can build a record for federal regulators.
  3. Ask the city attorney to explore options with intention -- to look at where the levers are in the context of Interstate Commerce limitations.
  4. Ensure any agreement around Hayden Island includes a bar on coal.
(Formatting and links added.)
Jefferson's announcement comes shortly after a coal train derailed in Washington State.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here's Jefferson's commencement address from the University of Oregon:

Originally posted to Left in the West on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by PDX Metro.

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