Ted Wheeler outlines his goals for rest of term as Portland mayor

After Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he will not run for a third term, on Thursday, he laid out his priorities for the rest of his tenure.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:07 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A chapter of Portland’s political history is in its final pages with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announcing he will not run for a third term, and on Thursday, he laid out his priorities for the rest of his tenure.

RELATED: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler won’t seek reelection

Wheeler told the city in a press conference that he would not back down from tackling the crises impacting Portlanders. He said if he ran for reelection, too much of his time and energy would be put toward his campaign and take time away from running the city.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to get done over the next year and a quarter,” Wheeler said. “I did not see any scenario where I can move this work forward while at the same time seeking reelection.”

Since taking office in 2017, Wheeler navigated the city through extreme weather events social unrest, and a global pandemic. Now he’s looking to finish out the last 15 months he has in office tackling issues of homelessness, public safety and drug addiction. He also said he will continue to help the city’s bureaucracy transition into a new form of government in 2025.

“My work as mayor is far from being done,” Wheeler said. “I’m doubling down on these efforts and I remain committed to the city I love.”

SEE ALSO: Kaiser Permanente workers vote to authorize strike

Wheeler said he is still committed to banning unsanctioned camping and getting those experiencing homelessness in the city into shelters. He pointed to one of his newly sanctioned mass encampments that opened in southeast Portland in July as an example of his work to get those sleeping on the streets into a safe area. According to Wheeler, the encampment is now the home for 137 people. The mayor also said he is still working with Multnomah County to hammer out a new deal for the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

“Unspent funds, coupled with the lack of clear outcomes and unmeasurable data is unacceptable both to me and the city council at large,” Wheeler said.

Public safety is also a priority for the mayor over the next 15 months. He said Portland Police’s hiring is now outpacing those who are leaving the bureau.

“As we respond to the community’s needs, none is greater than the need for Portlanders to feel safe and be safe in their own communities,” Wheeler said.

The mayor said he will focus more of his efforts on cleaning up the streets of trash and graffiti. Through the success of the 90-day reset plans, Wheeler is creating a new program to help neighborhoods go about their own plans called “Portland Solutions.”

“We heard from other Portlanders who said ‘hey wait a minute, what about my neighborhood, what can you do for us?” Wheeler said. “Based on this feedback and the success of the 90-day reset, we knew we needed a much broader solution.”

SEE ALSO: Portland schools pass out thousands of drug deactivation bags

With his time in office coming to an end, Wheeler acknowledges he is leaving office at a critical moment in the city’s history. When FOX 12 asked if he had any regrets over the last seven years, he said he is not looking at the past right now and can only look at the future.

“I’m sure, with the benefit of hindsight look back on it and say ‘gosh I would have done this differently,’” Wheeler said. “I’d be a fool to stand here and tell you otherwise. I don’t spend a lot of time second-guessing what I did in the past. My time and energy is focused on the crises today and where we’re headed. That is where my full focus and full attention is.”