Charlie Hales drops out of race

Portland mayor announces he is ending his campaign for re-election.

Share this article!


Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced Monday he is ending his campaign for re-election.

He said he will focus his energy on fixing the problems facing the city instead of running against Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

“I had no doubt that I could win that campaign,” Hales, 59, said in an interview in his third-floor office at City Hall. “This isn’t a political calculation that I’m in big trouble. I think the race is wide open, and I think I would win if I poured myself into campaigning.”

Instead, Hales said he’ll focus on issues during the 14 months left in his term, including long-term planning, curbing gang violence and lobbying the 2016 Legislature to lift a ban on a type of zoning that encourages affordable housing.

“Trying to keep housing affordable in a city this size in a real estate market this hot, that’s a huge challenge,” Hales said. “These are big deal issues and I just relish the opportunity to work on them and not have to think about campaigning.”


Hales joins two of his predecessors — Sam Adams and Tom Potter — as one-term mayors who did not seek re-election.

“This is a decision that only the Mayor along with his family can make, and I respect his decision,” Wheeler said in a statement. “This race is not about the personalities involved. It is about finding solutions for the real issues facing our city — like homelessness, fixing our roads, finding long-term affordable housing solutions and creating good, family-sustaining jobs. I believe that by tapping into the talents and ideas of our residents, Portland can overcome these challenges and craft the innovative, progressive solutions that will be examples to the entire nation.”

Business leaders reflected the city’s surprise in Hales’ decision.

Like many, [Greenbrier’s Jack] Isselmann seems disappointed that Portland will miss out on an epic campaign. Hales is a seasoned pol who’s adept at both the fundraising and face-to-face interactions needed to sustain a public office bid. Wheeler is smart and, as evidenced by his appearance at a Southeast Portland home demolition site, savvy.

“The Portland Mayor’s race was shaping up to be the heavyweight bout at the top of the card of all 2016 candidate races in Oregon,” Isselmann said. “The Wheeler-Hales matchup generated a lot of energy in terms of analysis and speculation. So it is surprising that this title bout is basically over before it began.”

RELATED NEWS: Mayoral musings

Published in Categories News