All Politics is Local

Even prominent political donor David Nierenberg doesn’t like all the money in the port race

David Nierenberg isn’t a guy who has a problem with money in politics.

The Camas investor and philanthropist has been a generous donor to political candidates (mostly Republicans) and causes. In 2012, he was the biggest donor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney from the Portland metro area, according to an Oregonian article.

But Nierenberg said that the amount and source of the money flowing into the race for Vancouver port commissioner gives him pause.

Kris Greene, a candidate for the position, has accepted $225,000 in campaign donations from Vancouver Energy, which wants to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. In the past, Greene has expressed varying levels of support for the project. He’s also received $5,000 from Tesoro Corp, which is one half of Vancouver Energy. Earlier this week, The Columbian reported that the contributions make up just under 84 percent of Greene’s campaign fund. Greene has acknowledged that the optics of the donations aren’t great for his campaign.

Don Orange, the other candidate in the race, opposes the terminal and the outcome of the race is seen as referendum on whether it moves forward.

“I just question how anyone is capable of acting in an objective capacity when the overwhelming majority of money is coming from the party which has a very, very strong economic interest in a particular outcome,” said Nierenberg, who has not donated in the race.

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