34th District (Cedar Mill, Tanasbourne, Rock Creek)
Ken Helm, Democrat
The retirement of Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Harker (D-Beaverton) has opened the door for one of this election’s best new candidates, Ken Helm.
Helm is a land-use lawyer who has represented both real-estate developers and the planning agency Metro; he now works as a land-use hearings officer across Oregon.
His mediation skills will be much needed in Salem, as rumblings of discontent over the urban growth boundary rise in Washington and Clackamas counties.
Helm is already crafting legislation to tweak those rules where they aren’t working, but what the Legislature most needs is his commitment to the conservation principles that have made Oregon a national model for avoiding sprawl.
We were pleasantly surprised by Helm’s opponent, 27-year-old bank supervisor Brenden King, who won the Republican nomination as a write-in candidate. The GOP could use more of King’s nuanced support for same-sex marriage and driver’s cards for undocumented immigrants.
We hope to see King on the ballot again—but he can’t yet match Helm’s expertise.