Charlie Hales has easily won the race for Portland mayor. Last time I checked, he had 67% of the votes, compared to 33% for Jefferson Smith.
In his acceptance speech tonight, Hales said he’d, “Refocus on basic services” and that his administration, “would not rest until there’s a quality school in every neighborhood and a police bureau that reflects our values.”
On KGW-TV after Hales’ speech, Commissioner Nick Fish elaborated on what Hales means when he says, “refocus on basic services.” “There’s a perception,” Fish said, “that council has been going in too many directions” and that it has “not had a clear focus.” “We’re not going to be as ambitious. These are tough times, and people expect us to tighten our belts.”
Hales had support from many local transportation advocates — including former PBOT bike coordinator and Alta Planning President Mia Birk — yet he didn’t win the endorsement of the Bike Walk Vote PAC. Hales laid out an active transportation platform back in September after holding a roundtable on the topic; but I didn’t find it very exciting.
Hales also came under fire here on BikePortland for trumpeting an article from The Oregonian that was clearly biased against bicycles and that I felt was misleading and inaccurate. Despite widespread condemnation of the article, Hales featured it front and center on his website. He initially defended his use of the article, but ultimately removed all references to it from his website.
Hales was a Portland City Commissioner beginning in 1992, but left mid-way through his third term to take a position with a consulting firm that promoted streetcars in cities throughout the country.
Hales rides a bike regularly and he’s clearly sensitive to bike access issues. He also has a solid transportation track record. However, so far he has been short on specifics when it comes to if/how he’ll change the existing status quo.
I’ll share more thoughts in the coming days and weeks; but at this point I’m just looking forward to turning over a new leaf at City Hall.
For more on Hales, read my interview with him from back in December.
P.S. Obama won!!