Harvest Century September 22nd

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales won’t run for reelection

Posted by on October 26th, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Mayor Hales bikes to work from Kenton-7.jpg

Hales career just took a surprising turn.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In a local political shocker, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales just announced he won’t seek a second term.

In a statement posted on his website, Hales said: “Confronted with a choice between giving my full effort to the job of being mayor and spending that energy on a long and consuming re-election campaign, it’s an easy choice.”

Instead of gearing up for what would have been a grueling campaign against a well-known challenger in Ted Wheeler, Hales says he’d rather focus on the issues facing Portland in his final year in office. The mayor mentioned that Portland’s housing and gang crises are weighing heavily on his mind.

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Wheeler made waves almost instantly upon announcing his candidacy and he has shown he would take the election battle right to Hales. Earlier this month Wheeler racked up endorsements from Portland three past mayors.

In his announcement today, Hales said he hopes “several qualified candidates” will join the mayoral race. “There are some dynamic new leaders in our community, and I’m excited to see who steps up.”

We had been looking forward to a Wheeler-Hales matchup because both men seemed to be ratcheting up their focus on cycling and transportation issues.

What does Hales’ exit mean for cycling? That’s hard to say. He has been involved in a few projects of late — most notably a pledge to install traffic diverters on SE Clinton, the city’s embrace of Vision Zero, a new approach to bike share, and so on. But all those initiatives are fully supported by Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and others on City Council. At first glance, it doesn’t appear that Hales has spearheaded any major bicycling initiative that might flounder without him at the helm.

Stay tuned.

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48 Comments
  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein October 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Will this signal the end of his recent bike-pandering?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      I doubt it Adam. He actually did another one of his bike-to-work coffee chats this morning.

      With politics out of the way, people usually do the things they know in their heart are the right things. And obviously cycling is the right thing so I won’t be surprised if he still pushes on some good transportation stuff before he’s done.

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      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein October 26, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        I hope you’re right. Maybe his not running for re-election will enable him to ignore the interests of the PBA and actually take some bold steps. Judging on his past performance, however, I’m not terribly optimistic. To show the city he’s serious about cycling, his next step should be to push Better Naito out the door (since he’s been calling it a high priority for months).

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      wsbob October 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      “…his recent bike-pandering…” herstein

      Do remarks like that really serve any constructive purpose, at all? To refer to Hales’ commute to work rides of late, as ‘pandering’, sounds snide at best. Worse, it appears to have been a smart-alec remark made without any serious thought as to what Hales sought to accomplish with his bike commute to work.

      Why the animosity towards a mayor that’s actually willing to be more than a little receptive to the needs and interests of people biking in the city, to the extent of being willing to personally ride a bike on the streets of the city and experience some of what people biking in the city have to deal with in terms of traffic?

      Personal experience of street and traffic related issues people biking have to deal with, may be one of the best ways to prepare for addressing those issues with repairs or redesign as needed. Gaining personal experience, on the street with a bike, on a bike to work commute, I think, is a big part of what Hales was seeking to do with his ride, and for that, commendation is due him. If he’s going to try fix some things, its great if he has at least some first hand knowledge of why they need to be fixed.

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    Todd Hudson October 26, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    “Confronted with a choice between giving my full effort to the job of being mayor and spending that energy on a long and consuming re-election campaign, it’s an easy choice.”

    Translation: “This morning I realized I was as unpopular and ineffective as Sam Adams, so I bailed.”

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein October 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Yup. Political doublespeak. Can’t wait for a mayor that actually works towards solving problems instead of pandering and politicizing.

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        Todd Hudson October 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        Old age will get you first.

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        Mike Quiglery October 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm

        Bud Clark?

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        • Adam Herstein
          Adam Herstein October 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm

          I would love to have another Bud Clark as mayor. I would also love to see Portland take just as bold steps as the Portland of the 70’s.

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            Pdxgina October 26, 2015 at 3:07 pm

            How long have you been in Portland??

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      Captain Karma October 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Move on. We all need to.

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      longgone October 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      @ Todd… Except I would speculate quite a different reality for our city had Sam not had his personal life dredged out at the onset of his term. Just my humble opinion. I would vote for Sam again in a heartbeat, as I did before.

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        dan October 26, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        His “personal life” most likely included statutory rape. If that wasn’t bad enough, he may have used his position as the mayor to avoid a DUI charge, and his policies seemed primarily focused on building monuments to himself. I voted for him once, but would definitely not have done so a second time.

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          Spiffy October 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm

          all you have is your opinion of “most likely” and “may have” with no facts… you have speculation that does not belong here…

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            Dan October 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm

            Just because I didn’t want to take the time to definitively state exactly what we do and don’t know about Sam Adams’ unethical relationship does not mean that it’s “speculation”. The guy was a train wreck.

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            Middle of the Road guy October 27, 2015 at 9:11 am

            Where there is smoke…

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        meh October 26, 2015 at 3:56 pm

        It had nothing to do with his personal life…..

        1. He lied about the relationship

        2. Coached Breedlove to lie about the relationship.

        3. Had his staff work with Breedlove to perpetuate the lie.

        4. Openly attacked a political opponent accusing him of homophobia based on this lie.

        5. Wrote numerous letters published in news sources throughout Portland perpetuating the lie.

        All of this to further his political career.

        Post election it appears that he hired the unqualified Amy Ruiz into the
        sustainability position on his staff to stop the journalist’s further
        investigation into the matter.

        This had nothing to do with sexual orientation, it had nothing to do
        with the act, it had to do with ethics, integrity and truth, or lack
        thereof that was shown by Sam Adams.

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          Spiffy October 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

          It had nothing to do with his personal life…..

          1. He lied about the relationship

          I’m not sure how you conduct your relationships but all of mine are very personal…

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            meh October 27, 2015 at 7:24 am

            The issue became public and at that point rather than say “it is my personal life and nobody’s business but mine” he lied and lied repeatedly and used his staff to lie. If nothing was wrong with the relationship he could have just told the truth.

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      wsbob October 26, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      “…Translation: “This morning I realized I was as unpopular and ineffective as Sam Adams, so I bailed.” ” Todd Hudson

      Cheap shots hardly help anyone. Except for certain indiscretions, Adams was a decent mayor. Hales hasn’t been a bad mayor either. They both got things done, though maybe not the kind of broad sweeping changes that has them thought of as being ‘popular’…and in today’s social media obsessed culture, ‘popular’ is a kind of unfortunate gauge of whether someone is or isn’t ‘effective’ .

      What does someone that wants to be mayor of Portland, have to do to become popular and effective? Be so very forceful and aggressive in such a charming way that people they’re serving, fall all over themselves with affectionate admiration, despite inevitable weaknesses, shortcomings they have and errors they make.

      Hales is a low-key guy, nice, but not a lot of pzazz. Maybe he was a little tired of having to deal with people that think the effort he puts into his job is simply an opportunity for them to kick him in the teeth.

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    RH October 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Horray! He really flip flops on his decisions and is slow to respond to issues.

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    D. R. Horton hears a Who October 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    This is terrible News. Won’t someone think of of the developers?

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    Mark October 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I am a bit sad. With competition..how will things go?

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    davemess October 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    What a joke.
    Hales has been a poor choice for mayor. Can’t we get better choices?!?!

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      George H. October 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      He was the least worst choice in November 2012. Imagine if We were stuck with Jefferson Smith for a term. Wow was that guy a messed up headcase.

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        Lester Burnham October 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

        And that’s always the problem here. We are always stuck with least worst choices. : (

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      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley October 26, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        It did turn out that Smith was probably not nearly as stable and respectable as he seemed when I met him at a house party during his campaign. I was a fan, and didn’t lightly let go of my support for him.

        It did turn out that Sam Adams had a pretty dubious sexual relationship, which I didn’t care about at all. I’d have happily voted for him a second time.

        But it seems to me that all too often we expect a kind of bland faultlessness in our candidates, and when we get it, we get really wishy-washy elected officials.

        Don’t jump on me–not saying AngryRoadRage!Jefferson would’ve been a good mayor. Just wishing we could take a chance on someone with SOME inappropriateness in their character if it comes with bold ideas and a get-it-done attitude.

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          Lester Burnham October 27, 2015 at 8:05 am

          Maybe someone with a little fire like Smith is exactly what this city needs? Not excusing Smith’s behavior btw, but Hales been a underwhelming bore from the very start. Won’t be missed.

          Well at least we have a bunch of cheap apartment buildings blocking the sunlight now.

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        davemess October 26, 2015 at 5:09 pm

        I live east of 39th, so I don’t think it would have been much worse, likely would have been better for us outer east siders.

        Amazing how the guy who moved to Washington to dodge taxes, but somehow continued to vote in Orgeon, and then conveniently moves back to Portland to run for mayor is the lesser of two evils?

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          George H. October 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

          A man who punches women (and then went uninvited to her house *twice*) and lies about it, punches men in neighborhood basketball/soccer games (and again lies about it), drives like a total maniac (and AGAIN lies about it), and demonstrates overall really poor impulse control was the worst of the choices we were given.

          Tax evasion is much less offensive than hitting people, hands down.

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley October 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been dissatisfied with Hales all along, but taken at face value, his stated reason for dropping out of the race is a powerful one. Re-election, at all levels in this country, is a crazy, corruption-generating game, and it would be awesome to see politicians actually govern/legislate during a single term in office rather than starting re-election campaigns halfway through that term.

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      Granpa October 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Agreed Anne. I feel he is a good person with his heart in the right place, but he just hasn’t been getting it done. Considering that the City doesn’t have enough funds to address its many serious issues in a comprehensive manner, and the office of the Mayor is not an especially powerful position anyway, it is understandable that he did not get lots done. It has been a while since he represented my interests.

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        Fat Spandex Dude October 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        It will be difficult for Wheeler or whomever succeeds Hales to get anything done, too, unless Fritz is dumped. Her incompetence is a drag on the entire council, and, by extension, the city.

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          TheRealisticOne October 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm

          Agreed, although she’s not the only problem, it’s a good place to start. That’s just opinion

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      davemess October 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      I don’t know if anything (outside of massive campaign finance reform) could have as much impact on US politics as simple term limits.

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        rainbike October 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        Voters have the opportunity to limit the term of the incumbent with every election. Term limits are not necessary.

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      Jeff Bernards October 28, 2015 at 5:52 am

      VOTE BERNIE

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    Charley October 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I’m saddened by this. I worry that Hales’ support of the mtb master plan might be the last support dirt riders get in this town. I assume that the creation of that plan is underway, but any follow through will be under a new administration.

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    Alan 1.0 October 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Why quit? Why not make his campaign be simply “giving [his] full effort to the job of being mayor.”

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    Eric Leifsdad October 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Wouldn’t need to spend much effort campaigning for re-election after doing a good job for a few years. Better luck next mayor.

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    daisy October 26, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Do you all follow Hales on Twitter? Just last night, he tweeted out some weird tweet that was poorly worded, and he got (quite rightly) a lot of push back: https://twitter.com/MayorPDX/status/657969293020102656

    Instead of trying to figure out what people were saying, he doubled down:
    https://twitter.com/MayorPDX/status/658108382725865472

    I think transportation and housing issues are huge issues facing our community. But police brutality and racism are huge issues facing our entire nation, including here in Portland. And on these issues, Hales really doesn’t get it — as showed by his comments about “jeering” critics. It’s not about optics. Institutional racism doesn’t change because 100 armed, mostly white cops “mentor” black boys at Jefferson. Maybe it helps, but there’s a lot more that has to happen — and the change needs to come from the top, not from a defensive, condescending mayor.

    I’ll be glad to see Hales go.

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    rachel b October 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I just feel a sense of relief. Hoping for the best w/ Wheeler. I’m surprised anyone wants to be in political office anymore, frankly.

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    kittens October 26, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    They should just do away with the whole “mayor” title and replace it with Commissioner+ so that people’s hopes of a strong leader are not continuously dashed.

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    buildwithjoe October 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Useless mayor can’t ticket deadly driver who jumped Burnside sidewalk. Hales office confirmed my legal detective work. Said you can’t ticket unconscious driver. Quote his staff…. They are lying.

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      longgone October 27, 2015 at 1:04 am

      For fooks sake, Joe! This is a blog, not twitter. Please use complete sentences.

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    Mark October 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    daisy
    Do you all follow Hales on Twitter? Just last night, he tweeted out some weird tweet that was poorly worded, and he got (quite rightly) a lot of push back: https://twitter.com/MayorPDX/status/657969293020102656Instead of trying to figure out what people were saying, he doubled down: https://twitter.com/MayorPDX/status/658108382725865472I think transportation and housing issues are huge issues facing our community. But police brutality and racism are huge issues facing our entire nation, including here in Portland. And on these issues, Hales really doesn’t get it — as showed by his comments about “jeering” critics. It’s not about optics. Institutional racism doesn’t change because 100 armed, mostly white cops “mentor” black boys at Jefferson. Maybe it helps, but there’s a lot more that has to happen — and the change needs to come from the top, not from a defensive, condescending mayor.I’ll be glad to see Hales go.Recommended 4

    “Black boys”? ????

    Wow.

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      daisy October 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      They are male high school students. Boys’ soccer, boys’ track and field, etc.

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    SE October 29, 2015 at 9:42 am

    one down , and one (at least) more to go = (the guy who wants to fill the Memorial Colosseum with the homeless)

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