Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman on Friday remained silent about his stance on fluoride.
Saltzman is the only member of the Portland City Council who hasn’t weighed in with a public hearing looming Thursday and a vote scheduled Sept. 12.
Already, Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish have said they’ll vote in favor, meaning the effort will pass. Commissioner Amanda Fritz has indicated that she instead would favor a public vote, as has historically happened in Portland.
The controversial proposal already faces an initiative effort that would ask voters to ban fluoride from drinking water in 2014. Opponents need to gather about 30,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot.
Saltzman said Friday he planned to listen before he makes up his mind. He said he also appreciated that Leonard brought the issue forward.
Last week, when Saltzman returned to City Hall on Aug. 22 after a vacation, he declined to answer how he planned to vote and said he would issue a statement the following day. Saltzman was then expected to release a statement Aug. 27 but didn’t.
Saltzman said The Oregonian has been the only media outlet that’s attempted to ask him about his stance, which is why he didn’t issue the statement — which he said would have stated that he planned to listen and had yet to decide.
Saltzman is known by colleagues inside City Hall to be difficult to pin down for voting purposes.
But Saltzman does have a connection to the fluoride campaign, as do several others at City Hall.
The pro-fluoride effort last year secured political guidance from Mark Wiener. A political consultant, Wiener advised Leonard, Adams and Saltzman in their election bids and served as Saltzman’s first chief of staff when Saltzman was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in the 1990s.
Interestingly, it was neither Adams nor Saltzman who jumped into the fluoride fray after The Oregonian reported the quiet push at City Hall. Commissioner Nick Fish, who is not a Wiener client, became the second vote that established political momentum for fluoride.