Portland Marathon canceled for 2018; organization to dissolve

Portland Marathon (KPTV file image)

After a tumultuous 2017, there will be no 2018 for the Portland Marathon.

In an open letter submitted to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, the Portland Marathon board of directors announced Friday they had started the process of dissolving the organization.

The Portland Marathon will not take place in 2018. The event started 47 years ago.

“We are proud of the event’s tradition as a marathon of the people and are grateful for the opportunity to have been part of successfully hosting this great event in the Rose City for so many years,” according to the letter.

The board members said factors leading to the decision included declining registration numbers.

Organizers said around 2,500 people had registered for the 2018 race, and they will all receive a full refund.

All remaining funds from the organization will go to local charities.

Earlier this month, Lester Smith, the former director of the Portland Marathon, was ordered to pay $865,000 to the organization as part of a settlement with the Oregon Department of Justice.

Investigator said Smith operated the marathon without meaningful board oversight and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the Portland Marathon, which the DOJ stated is illegal.

The settlement funds will be used “to support important causes and organizations in Oregon,” according to the letter issued by the board of directors.

Board members said they hoped “a new organization will take up the torch and give Portland an annual, world-class marathon for years to come.”

The race faced significant hurdles in 2017, as organizers struggled to receive a permit after one was initially denied by the city over route concerns, police staffing and other issues.

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