Stan Baumhofer, a new candidate in Portland, Ore., comes across as a typical resident of the Rose City. He lives in a downtown high rise and serves on the boards for several non-profits. He takes daily walks around his neighborhood, has lunch with friends and colleagues at the Multnomah Athletic Club and neighborhood restaurants, and is quick with a joke. A registered Republican, he has watched as the downtown Portland core has deteriorated, overwhelmed by rampant crime, rioting, and homelessness. Stan became a victim of a violent crime recently, so he decided enough was enough and he was going to do something about it. For the first time, he filed to run as a candidate for the state legislature.
Stan turned 94 years old on July 2 of this year.
Age isn’t the only thing that stands out about this candidate. Stan also became a crime statistic earlier this year. In January, a thief robbed him on the street, at 10 a.m. in broad daylight, absconding with $1,000 in cash from his Social Security check. The theft occurred right in front of Providence Park, the 20,000-seat stadium where the Portland Timbers play to sold-out crowds. Stan says the area is under constant video surveillance, and despite the police tracking the movements of the thief, they’ve made no arrests in the case.
He spoke to KGW News when the incident happened:
Baumhofer is hoping someone will recognize the suspect and come forward. He also offered the suspect some advice.
“Find a job and don’t steal,” he said. “Especially from helpless elderly people.”
After multiple people reached out offering to donate money to make up his losses, Baumhofer said he’d much rather people make a donation to Sunshine Division in his name instead.
Many kind people have asked how they can donate money to Stan Baumhofer, the 93-year-old who was pickpocketed. He says THANK YOU, but rather than give money to him, he asks that they consider making a donation to the @SUNSHINE_DIV in his name: https://t.co/1Kqreeno3k
— Katherine Cook (@KCookKGW) February 11, 2022
Stan says he decided to run to change the conversations Portlanders have about the issues facing the city. Just this week, reports emerged that three large hotels in the downtown core face foreclosure and insolvency due to a lack of business, while businesses flee the area due to safety concerns. Graffiti has hit a new record this year. Residents can’t find a neighborhood in which overdoses and homeless camps don’t overwhelm the landscape.
The state legislature can do a lot to help Portland find its way out of this morass, according to Stan. He wants the state to eliminate the homeless problem. “What we’re doing isn’t working,” Stan said in an interview with PJ Media. “There are many causes when someone ends up on the streets. Whether it’s drugs, family problems, economic problems, or simple laziness, we need to address whatever the problem may be. The solution isn’t more taxes or building a house for them.” He finished by saying that incentivizing the homeless to remain that way was a stupid solution.
In his candidate statement published in the state voter guide, he expands on the issues facing Portland that he could work to improve in the state legislature:
I. Make Portland Safe.
Current public policy has not made us safe. I am a crime victim. I know Portland has become crime-ridden, violent, and dangerous. While police must respect civil rights and obey the law, they must have resources and support to do their jobs. Street camps don’t solve homelessness. They compromise the health and safety of our communities. We must solve this issue humanely. Portland must treat homelessness as a public health crisis and a mental health challenge. It’s time to make Portland livable again.
II. Promote Mental Health Legislation.
The number of Oregonians experiencing mental health issues during the pandemic has exploded. We see more suffering from untreated mental health issues and addictions. They’re in our schools, our streets, and sadly, our jails. I have personal experience helping family members lead rich, full lives after mental illness. The problem is organizational, not more funding. I wouldn’t advocate for more funding in the current environment, rather knowledgeable leadership to address this rise in mental health issues and addictions. I’ll work to restructure our behavioral health system so Oregonians can receive help when they first need it.
III. Empower Parents and Students.
Despite the dedicated teachers in every Oregon school, students don’t get the education they deserve. We need to unleash students, parents, and educators by ditching the one-size-fits-all model, empowering students and their families to make the best choice for their education. Parents, not the state, should control the direction of a child’s education.
Stan faces long odds in his campaign, with a wide advantage of registered Democrats in his downtown district. He has taken a long view of his campaign, however. “Once I win this one,” Stan said, “I plan to serve two terms in the House before launching my campaign for Governor.”
That, of course, would make him the oldest governor ever elected. Bookmark this page for coverage starting in the 2026 primaries.