Sep 14, 2023 - News

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's remaining to-do list

Photo illustration of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

A day after Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared he will not seek re-election, he detailed his priorities for the 15 months remaining in his term.

Why it matters: Wheeler outlined a number of programs he wants to push forward before Portland's structure of government changes in 2025, including hiring an interim city manager as soon as possible.

  • He also wants to address livability issues like trash and camping, and try to bring more sports and arts entertainment to Portland.

What they're saying: "If I ran for re-election, every decision I make between now and November of 2024 will be seen through a political lens," the mayor said in a news conference Thursday.

  • "I think I can be seen as more of an honest mediator and honest broker, if you will, in this process, if I've got nothing at stake politically."

Meanwhile, current city council members praised Wheeler's service — including Mingus Mapps, who plans to run for mayor.

Catch up quick: The letter Wheeler released Wednesday announcing his decision not to run for a third term noted that other potential candidates were waiting for his decision.

Context: The job of Portland's mayor is fundamentally changing in 2025, making the role an executive officer working closely with a hired city administrator — and no longer part of the expanded city council, which will make policy.

  • The next mayor will still be elected citywide, and will nominate the city attorney and police chief.

Details: Wheeler says that in the coming months he plans to boost a program he started last year focused on graffiti and trash removal.

  • He also says it remains his goal to "eliminate unsanctioned camping all across the city of Portland," although there remains no set date to enforce the daytime camping ban City Council passed in June.

Of note: Wheeler noted that the end of his term as mayor in January 2025 will come six months before his daughter finishes high school.

  • "That time is really important to me," he said.

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