A few days ago the Salem Reporter had a story about Chane Griggs, the second candidate to enter the May 2022 race to be Salem's mayor, since Chuck Bennett, the current mayor, isn't seeking re-election.
Reading the story, I got an impression that Griggs is a classic Salem Chamber of Commerce candidate. After all, the Chamber doesn't want to have a progressive take over as mayor, given that Bennett is quite conservative, and progressives already have a 6-3 majority on the City Council. Excerpt:
A prominent community leader is throwing her name in the race for Salem's soon-to-be vacant mayoral seat.
Chane Griggs, president of the Rotary Club of Salem and the city’s planning commission, told Salem Reporter Tuesday that she intends to run for mayor.
Griggs sits on the city’s planning commission and is retired from the Oregon Community Foundation as a regional director and philanthropic advisor. She’s lived in the Salem area since 1977.
“I've always had a passion for government and how it works, whether it be in my volunteer capacity or my professional capacity,” she said. “I knew I would, at some point, feel like I needed to step up and run for either city council or for the mayor.”
Griggs was quoted in the story as saying all the predictable things. Such as:
“I do feel like I have the ability to bring people together and kind of cut through the chase and get to the crux and get to a solution that's kind of in the middle of the road,” she said.
Ooh, nice. Middle of the road. A seeming contrast with the other announced candidate, union organizer Hollie Oakes-Miller, who doesn't shy away from having "socialist" attached to her political leaning.
When I Googled "Chane Griggs Salem Oregon" I was met with a decided lack of online presence for someone billed as a prominent community leader. The only non-newspaper photo I could find of Griggs was the one above, a small Rotary image.
But that's what would be expected if the Chamber of Commerce types in Salem, who I'm confident have been plotting how to get the City Council back under conservative control, decided to back a Mayor candidate with outwardly mainstream credentials and little obvious political baggage.
I wondered, though, about what Griggs was getting at when the Salem Reporter story said: "Two other city issues Griggs said are on her radar are congestion with people commuting from other areas of Marion and Polk counties, and livability of downtown Salem."
That's a word much beloved by backers of a Third Bridge or Salem River Crossing. It fell by the wayside after progressives gained a majority on the City Council and were able to kill what I liked to call the Billon Dollar Boondoggle.
The official Third Bridge death came in October 2019.
Thanks to my Googling, I learned that Chane Griggs was the secretary for Salem Bridge Solutions, a group that advocated for the Billion Dollar Boondoggle -- operating out of the offices of Chuck Adams, a notorious political consultant for Republican/conservative candidates and causes.
In 2017 I wrote a blog post, "Salem Bridge Solutions group laughably lacks facts."
The Powers That Be in Salem who love wasting taxpayer money on special interest projects have set up a new lobbying group for the Billion Dollar Boondoggle known as the Salem River Crossing, or Third Bridge.
After browsing through the Salem Bridge Solutions Facebook page and web site, it seems clear that their main rationale for wanting to foist $1.50 each-way tolls on citizens, plus increases in the local gas tax, vehicle registration fees, and property taxes, can be summed up as...
We want a new bridge! Badly. Waaaaahhhhh! We're going to cry and fuss until we get one!
By contrast, the No 3rd Bridge folks are committed to an old-fashioned mature idea: facts matter.
Their Facebook page is filled with posts that link to information demolishing the ridiculous idea that building a $430 million new bridge (billion dollars, or thereabout, with financing costs) is the most cost-effective way to solve problems with the two current vehicular bridges.
So Chane Griggs needs to come clean about where she stands on the possibility of bringing the Third Bridge project back from the dead.
Is Griggs willing to promise that, if she were to become mayor, she would never, ever, not once make an attempt to revive the Salem River Crossing project, either in its original form just north of downtown, or in some other Salem location?
If Griggs won't do this, this is persuasive evidence that she'll march to the beat of a Chamber of Commerce drummer, rather than doing what's best for most people in Salem.
Regardless of her answer to the Third Bridge question, if Chuck Adams' New Media NW company pops up as the Chane Griggs for Mayor campaign consultant, this will be a strong sign that Griggs isn't the middle of the road candidate she claimed to be in the Salem Reporter story.