Mayor Tom Potter announced Monday that he will not be running for a second term in office. His decision kicked off speculation about who will run for mayor in the 2008 election.
Erik Sten, the longest serving city commissioner said he will not run, but Commissioner Sam Adams is widely expected to launch a mayoral campaign. Other possible candidates include Pearl District developer Bob Ball, who has expressed interest in running, and Roy Jay, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce, who said he will decide in the coming weeks.
Commissioner Randy Leonard told National Public Radio that he will not run, but he would have opposed Potter if the mayor had not stepped down. The reason, he said, was that Portland needs a more active and dynamic approach after a quiet four years under Mayor Potter.
Announcing his retirement, Potter said he was proud of his accomplishments including some of his most controversial stands: – the decision to pull out of the joint terrorism task force; finishing the OHSU aerial tram; and his support of a day laborer center.
Potter said a number of personal and professional factors went into the decision not to seek a second term.
"Some of them were as simple as one of my grandchildren saying they would like to see more of me, and two, being out camping, thinking my this is certainly fun out here," he said during a press conference.
Mayor Potter's tenure was characterized by efforts to make city hall more accessible and democratic.
"It has been almost exactly four years since I first told Portlanders of my desire to run for office. I said then that we needed to make City Hall a more welcoming place for everyone; to build safer neighborhoods; to bring more transparency to how the people's business is conducted, and to give Portlanders the opportunity to determine the future of their city.
"I believed then and I believe now that what makes Portland great is its people. In virtually everything I have done, my goal first and foremost has been to build the human capital of our city, to invest in its people, not simply its physical structures. I have heard that Mayors are most often remembered for what they build, but I believe there's more to it than that — much more..."
Potter said his key achievements include:
A Human Rights Commission, with the mission of knitting our increasingly diverse city together.
A racial profiling committee working with police and citizens to eliminate mistrust and build relationships based on mutual respect.
A working group that will tackle the barriers faced by immigrants and refugees in assimilating into our society.
A youth violence prevention initiative working out of the mayor's office.
A diversity and civic leadership academy to strengthen the capacity of people to engage government in identifying and solving issues affecting them.
A commitment to work with the Black Parent Initiative to empower families to play a stronger role in the education of their children.
Roy Jay said he plans to form an exploratory committee to assist him to decide whether to run. His reasons to run, he said would be to help the city grow and make sure those less fortunate aren't left behind.
"Obviously it's not for the money," said Jay, who manages the multimillion dollar city SmartPark garages, a contract he'd likely give up if elected to the mayor's seat. "It'd be the biggest pay cut of my life."