This month, we’re talking with the three front-runners for Portland Mayor, ahead of the May 15 primary. Today’s show features Charlie Hales. He spent a decade as a Portland City Commissioner. He left in 2002, before the end of his term, to work for HDR Engineering, where he focuses on consulting with large cities on transportation planning. Hales was the first major candidate to announce his intent to run — a year ahead of the primary election.
As a commissioner, Hales headed up the Parks, Planning and Fire bureaus, among others. The Portland streetcar is the most visible evidence of his legacy. He also helped to pass a $58.8 million bond measure to fund city parks. Prior to his time in city government, Hales served as a lobbyist for the Home Builders Association.
Over the summer, Willamette Week reported that after Hales left public office in 2002, he became a resident of Washington for tax purposes. Like former gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley, Hales took criticism for this move. Hales initially told WW that he had always filed as an Oregon resident, but later admitted that that was not the case. He never gave up his Oregon home and filed as an Oregonian on his 2010 taxes. Hales has also taken some heat for missing many council meetings and taking 48 days off in 2001.
There are more than a dozen people vying for the position of Portland Mayor. Other than Hales, there are two other frontrunners: Eileen Brady and Jefferson Smith. We spoke with Smith earlier this month and we’ll sit down with Brady next.
Will you vote in the Portland mayoral primary? What questions do you have for Charlie Hales?