Hales announces he will seek re-election

Portland mayor says he will seek second term; City Council prepares to address Uber for first time since chasing them from city.

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Mayor Charlie Hales told the Portland Tribune editorial board Friday that he will seek a second term.

In addition to telling the board he is “enjoying the job” and that he believes he is the “right person for it,” Hales said he wants to be the man ushering the city into a new era of “great change.”

From the Portland Tribune’s preview of Tuesday’s story:

Hales explained he has spent much of the first two years in office fixing problems from previous administrations. They included strained relations between the police and the community, and the widely held perception that the water and sewer bureaus were wasting ratepayer dollars. Hales believes he has made progress on such problems, including implementing the U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement with the city concerning the Portland Police Bureau and reforms that created more public oversight of water and sewer spending.

Hales also believes the improving economy is increasing city revenues enough to launch new initiative, including more funding for affordable housing and tax breaks for businesses that benefit society by doing such things as hiring people released from prison. Both ideas were included in the State of the City speech Hales delivered before the Portland City Club at the end of January.

Hales disclosed early that he has raised more than $35,000 in campaign contributions — a decision the Willamette Week speculates was intended to dissuade potential challengers.

From a WW story written by Nigel Jaquiss and Aaron Mesh:

The latest disclosure came hours after WW reported Wednesday morning that representatives of the Portland business community have reached out to State Treasurer Ted Wheeler to gauge his interest in running for mayor. Wheeler, whose chances of running for Oregon governor dimmed with the elevation of Gov. Kate Brown, is non-committal about challenging Hales.

“I have been approached by lots of people about lots of opportunities,” he told WW this week, “but it would be premature to comment on any of them. I haven’t ruled anything in and I haven’t ruled anything out.” 

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese are also possible challengers.

Freight company Con-Way and developer Brian Wannamaker each donated $1,000 to Hales’ re-election campaign, WW reports.

City Council discussing ridesharing policy Thursday

City transportation boss, City Commissioner Steve Novick, will introduce Thursday a measure that could clear the path for Uber and other ridesharing companies to operate in Portland.

Willamette Week reports on the slow rulemaking process under way after the city struck a deal with Uber in December.

“It is a bit of a bureaucratic thing we’re doing,” says Bryan Hockaday, Novick’s policy advisor. “Council can’t pass regulations on something that doesn’t officially exist within city code. But it’s important that we’re taking this first step, because it’s the first time council will discuss this issue.”

Novick isn’t suggesting policies—the ordinance changes simply acknowledge the existence of ride-share companies that fall outside of taxis, limousines and other “for-hire” transportation services. He wants to approve the new definitions now to pave the way for City Council to craft new rules for ride-share, based on recommendations from an independent task force convened by Hales. The change also defines the technology and platforms used by Uber and others to connect riders with drivers, and briefly lays out an expectation that the ride-share companies receive city permits to operate. The arrival of the code changes comes three months after Uber invaded the Portland market, forcing Hales and Novick to agree to a deal allowing the San Francisco company and its competitor, Lyft, to operate in the city.

The Portland Tribune adds:

The ordinance would also require that those who operate or drive for TNCs obtain a permit from the city before providing rides. The ordinance does not say which regulations TNCs operators and drives must meet, however. They are currently being considered by a citizen task force appointed by Novick to make recommendations to the council by April 9.

Uber has said it will begin offering rides in Portland on April 9. The company had starting serving Portland last year but suspended operations after being sued by the city for not following the existing private for hire ride rules. Lyft has said it will wait to see what regulations the council adopts before deciding on whether to enter the Portland market.

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