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WW’s May 2022 Endorsements: Portland City Hall

By WW Staff | April 27, 2022 at 5:33 am PDT | Willamette Week

Portland City Auditor

Simone Rede

The city auditor essentially functions as a sixth independent commissioner tasked with watchdogging how the city functions and how it spends taxpayer dollars. And after two terms of working alongside of—and sometimes scuffling with—the Portland City Council, Auditor Mary Hull Caballero is vacating her seat.

The position has attracted two candidates: Brian Setzler, a Portland CPA who runs his own business, and Simone Rede, a principal management auditor at Metro.

In her current role at the regional agency, Rede, 39, has conducted performance audits of the affordable housing bond program and the Oregon Zoo. From 2013 to 2015, she worked as a performance auditor for the state, where she audited child care in Oregon and TriMet.

Setzler, 60, has spent the past three decades building a career in the private sector, with extensive experience conducting financial audits. He told WW he was prodded to run by people in his circle. But when pressed on who, exactly, those people were, Setzler declined to disclose—a move we found oddly opaque for a city auditor hopeful. (It’s also unnecessary, since Setzler made it clear his run was motivated by Hull Caballero not penalizing the campaign finance violations of Mayor Ted Wheeler.) His backers include Our Revolution Oregon, the Pacific Green Party of Oregon, the Oregon Progressive Party, and the Independent Party of Oregon.

Rede has received endorsements from Oregon establishments that span the political spectrum, from the Next Up Action Fund to the Portland Business Alliance. On top of that, a spate of current and former elected auditors have put their names behind Rede, including Metro Auditor Brian Evans, Multnomah County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk, and Gary Blackmer and LaVonne Griffin-Valade, who both served as auditors for the city and the county.

We agree with them. Of the two candidates, Rede is the only one with extensive performance auditing experience. While Setzler’s status as a CPA is noteworthy, the job of city auditor in Portland is primarily a performance auditing function rather than a financial one. By that metric, Rede is the clear choice.

Moment of joy when Rede felt life was returning to normal: Attending a concert at Topaz Farms on Sauvie Island during a full moon last summer.

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