Mayor Hales describes Pope Francis as 'quite approachable' - KPTV - FOX 12

Mayor Hales describes Pope Francis as 'quite approachable'

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Photo: Pontifical Academy of Sciences Photo: Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Photo: Mayor Charlie Hales twitter Photo: Mayor Charlie Hales twitter
Gift for Pope Francis (Photo: Mayor Charlie Hales twitter) Gift for Pope Francis (Photo: Mayor Charlie Hales twitter)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland's Mayor Charlie Hales met with Pope Francis for the second day of a conference at the Vatican.

Mayor Hales is one of 60 mayors from around the world invited to meet with the Pope to talk about two important world issues.

Hales said by inviting mayors of many faiths to discuss climate change, the Pope has really made taking care of the planet a moral issue.

All of the mayors sat is a classroom style setting for a discussion on climate change and human trafficking. Mayor Hales sat a couple of rows back from Pope Francis.

Hales said the Pope noticed the work cities are doing to combat these issues and invited mayors to the two-day conference. Hales also said one of his powerful takeaways from the conference is that cities can actually make a difference.

Pope Francis speaks Spanish so Hales has had a translator while in Rome, but he describes the Pope as very genuine and warm, qualities that came across despite that language barrier.

"He is quite approachable. His affect is very warm. He greets people, particularly those he knows well, as old friend and smiles. He seems awfully accessible," said Hales.

Mayor Hales gave the Pope a gift while in Rome. 

A Portland artist created a hand-crafted bronze rose to represent the city of roses. It's flocked with white, because Pope Francis likes white roses. The bud at the center is a secret compartment with seeds from Portland's white rose bushes.

While Portland has done a lot of work to reduce carbon emissions, Mayor Hales said there's a lot of work left to do. 

Hales said he's leaving the Vatican very motivated to continue that work.

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