Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The power behind the power: Political influence at work in Lake Oswego

Note:  This post is based on both fact and conjecture.  Except for one "Hello," during the Wizer Block controversy (she was employed by developer Patrick Kessi at the time), I have never met or spoken to Elaine Franklin.  Opinions expressed here are based on research (see links) and information from local sources.  

Links below reference articles in the Oregonian, Los Angeles Times, Philladelphia Inquirer, New York Times, City of Lake Oswego website, and St. John's Review.  Research includes other government and media websites.  

"She's been called the Human Bulldozer"
-- Mary Otto, The Philidelphia Inquirer 

From what I've heard, she doesn't like to be talked about.  Photos of her are difficult to find.  She is a background kind of person, doing her work out of the public eye.

Dunthorp resident, Elaine Franklin, is a political strategist with experience working in the tough political environment of Washington DC. She worked for former Republican Senator Bob Packwood during his last year in office when he was mired in a scandal that ended his political career.  Franklin marrried Packwood following his 1995 exit from office.  A look at Packwood's personal diaries from that period tells about her time working with him.

During the decades following their DC tenure, Franklin has turned her political acumen to more local   campaigns, including in Lake Oswego.  She worked for Patrick Kessi as his spokesperson for the large development proposed (now under construction) for the Wizer block, and has continued to work for Kessi on his other projects.  Franklin is now assisting Kent Studebaker in his run for mayor, and possibly other candidates for city council.  Why?  Personal interest?  Financial gain?  Power and influence with top people from government and industry?  All three, or something else?

Why am I writing a post about Elaine Franklin?  Clearly she is and has been a part of local political campaigns and involved in issues directly related to Lake Oswego's growth and development.  Her background as a Washington DC political insider becomes relevant with regards to her power and influence and operating methods.  And because political operatives generally do their work out of the limelight, it is important for Lake Oswegans to know about the activities and motivations of people influencing the city.

This election will determine the future development and operations of the city; Much is at stake.  In 2012 and 2014, Franklin was involved in LO campaigns for mayor and 3 city councilors.  If rumors are true (we will not know about her in-kind assistance for some campaigns until near the end of the campaigns or until after the election), she will have potentially assisted in the election of 5 of 7 council members!  This my friends, is a lot of power placed in one individual.  Add to that her involvement with developers, and we are possibly looking at a coordinated effort to influence more than ordinary city governance.

Why is this (or any) outsider so interested in Lake Oswego that she donates her valuable time and skills to see that certain people are elected?  What does she get out of it?  Are we looking at another political cabal/machine trying to take over OUR TOWN?  It sure feels like it.

The Philidelphia Inquirer, October 10, 1995. By Mary Otto
Elaine's idea was you impeach whoever you can impeach. Create the impression they are all spurned women, femi-nazis, sluts."
The New York Times, September 8, 1995
From the Packwood's Diaries:
He finished, [ deleted by Ethics Committee ] and I and Elaine and [ Senator X ] and the guy traveling with [ Senator X ] met for just 10 or 15 minutes. [ Senator X ] again promised $100,000 for party-building activities.

And what was said in the room would be enough to convict us all of something. He says, now, of course you know there can't be any legal connection between this money and Senator Packwood, but we know that it will be used for his benefit. [ deleted by Ethics Committee ] said, oh, yes.

God, there's Elaine and I sitting there. I think that's a felony, I'm not sure. This is an area of law I don't want to know. . . . March 27, 1993

Oregonian, January 10, 2014. By Jeff Mapes
Franklin, eight years younger, also remains active and continues to work on political campaigns.  Two years ago, she headed a citizens group that helped stop the proposed Portland-to-Lake-Oswego streetcar line that would have run through their neighborhood.

Portland Monthly, September 13, 2010. By Zach Dundas
It’s easy to understand Dunthorpeans’ alarm. The tracks run close to homes, sometimes splitting 
front walkways in two. Franklin—who boasts of her schoolgirl streetcar commute in her native England—argues the whole plan is misguided. “The project’s ridership and financing models rely on wishful thinking.” 

Those keeping score like to point out the director of LO’s economic and capital development department, Brant Williams, and the principals of Williams/Dame & White (no relation) all worked on Portland’s South Waterfront. “The circus is just moving south,” Bergstein chimes. Or as Franklin puts it, “If you wanted to be Machiavellian about it, why does cute little upper-middle-class Lake Oswego get a cute little streetcar while other parts of the metro area don’t get their basic transit needs met?”

Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency, Block 137 Development (Wizer Block) Contacts:
General comments and concerns.     Elaine Franklin.      (503) 819-2647.    elainefranklin@aol.com
Questions from media.                      Elaine Franklin.      (503) 819-2647.    elainefranklin@aol.com

1 comment:

  1. I have heard that Franklin is also running Skip O'Neill and Charles Collins campaigns. Amazing that she would run the campaigns of O'Neill and Collins at the same time as they are competing.