PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) A candidate for the Portland School Board race came under fire for listing an endorsement on campaign literature and his website that he did not receive.
Herman Greene, running for a school board seat in Zone 4 representing North Portland, named Michelle DePass, a current PPS board member, under a list of “Community Leaders” who are supporting Greene’s candidacy. DePass’s name was also included on a campaign postcard mailed to voters. The postcard, featuring Greene and Gary Hollands, who is running for Zone 5 of the PPS board, was a joint campaign mailer.
DePass confirmed Monday that her name was listed on Greene’s campaign website without permission, though she has publicly endorsed Hollands for Zone 5 and Julia Brim-Edwards, the incumbent running in Zone 6.
She later clarified that while she voted for Greene and supports his bid for the school board, she opted not to endorse any of the candidates in Zone 4 for personal reasons.
“We had two strong candidates, one who had a better chance of winning, and whose voice is dearly needed on the school board,” DePass said Monday evening. “One of the things I appreciate about Herman is that he seems to have a deep well of emotional intelligence and the way he has managed his campaign demonstrates that. That skill will come in handy as we have some challenging conversations ahead.”
DePass noted Greene’s concern for elevating the voices and needs of PPS students.
“Little Black boys are among the least served in the district, along with special education students, Native youth and foster kids,” she said. Greene has noted third-grade literacy rates among Black boys in particular, as a concern.
A representative for Greene’s campaign said Monday evening that the listing was an inadvertent error.
Jessica Elkan, a co-campaign manager for Greene, said DePass’s name was removed from one part of the campaign website at her request, but it was left on another list of supporters by mistake.
“This really was just an error on the website,” Elkan said. There was no intention to mislead. It was a little bit of a communication issue.”
Elkan noted Greene, who is a pastor and youth mentor, was unavailable to respond to a request for comment because he presided over a funeral and spent the day with a grieving family.
A screenshot of a text message exchange provided to the Tribune indicates DePass asked Greene not to use her name on the site. By Monday afternoon, it was still there.
The campaign website and mailer also lists endorsements from other PPS directors by title, including Brim-Edwards, Eilidh Lowery and Rita Moore, the outgoing Zone 4 director who did not seek re-election.
Greene is one of four PPS candidates running in the May 18 Special District Election to represent Zone 4. The others include Margo Logan, Brooklyn Sherman, and write-in candidate Jaime Cale.
This story has been updated since it first published.