18 Months of Tom Potter's Portland

Roughly a year and a half ago, Mayor Tom Potter was sworn in as Portland's mayor. Already, folks are evaluating his first term - and pondering his chances for re-election in 2008.

The Portland Tribune has a rundown. First, the ups and downs:

After a smooth first year, the first-time elected official has found 2006 a bumpy road – starting with the failure to put a school tax on the May ballot and continuing with the Derrick Foxworth controversy, the postponement of charter reform and recent setbacks involving the Portland Development Commission.

Will he run for re-election?

For his part, Potter said he hasn’t made a final decision on whether he will run, though he said he does intend to hold a yet-to-be finalized re-election-campaign fundraiser for January – at the very least to show he remains “engaged” in the affairs of the city. Minutes later, however, he suggested that he probably would run for re-election...

Who else is getting mentioned?

In recent weeks, City Hall observers have been predicting Potter will face a strong challenger if indeed he does want to run for re-election – which it appears he does. Speculation has focused on Commissioner Adams, former Commissioner Charlie Hales, Metro President David Bragdon and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

How is Mayor Tom Potter doing? What's going well, and what's going not-so-well? Should he plan to run for re-election? Who else intrigues you as a candidate?


  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    So Potter's been in office 18 months, so what? He has another 18 months or more to decide whether to seek re-election and 30 months before his term is up.

    My take on Potter is that he's smarter than he looks and his style is much better suited to Portland than Vera's. He's had to undo some of the things from Vera's 12-year reign that needed being undone (like the make-up of the PDC). Frankly, he may need a second term to get action on his agenda. The visioning process, which has been lampooned everywhere, may be a great way of getting the citizens of Portland united behind some good, basic ideas to keep Portland a great city.

    By the way, I like the fact that Potter is emphasizing infrastructure over other ideas with the windfall the city is getting in revenues this year.

  • (Show?)

    Potter's doing fine. Although he's had to go along with some of the more ridiculous things he inherited from Vera, he's managed to clean up a few of her more conspicuous messes. He deserves a much more positive review than the Trib gave him. If there's one thing I'm not seeing, it's "malaise."

  • John Capradoe (unverified)

    I think the jury is still out on Mayor Potter, I still hear the question I heard when he was running. "Is Potter for Real".

    I think Portland citizens are so tired or rhethoric, and winners and losers determined by the Goldschmidt Machine.

    I went to a number of events when Mayor Potter was running, he promises to bring common sense and grassroots activism back to life.

    I think a lot will be told in the next few months, when we see how his new ONI Director reachs out to reinvigorate the neighborhood associations.

    People are looking for him to start doing the right thing as opposed to saying the right things. Two encouraging actions are the Fire Station Decision, and the Auditors Rerport that came out today on the roads and need to do the boring preventive maintenance vs the more dramatic repairs and stop the "free" infrastructure development for developers to be "winners" while the average citzens are the "losers".

  • paul (unverified)

    I have to agree with John: the jury is still out. I am not sure what Mayor Potter's agenda is at this point.

    It's interesting that Gil says Potter's style is much better suited to Portland that Vera Katz's--yet Katz managed to stay mayor for what, ten years? Something about Vera's style must have worked.

  • (Show?)

    yet Katz managed to stay mayor for what, ten years?


  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Katz had a great personality and charm and a lot of support from the old Goldshmidt gang. Yet she only wanted to talk to the big players in town and didn't much care what the rest of us thought. She had a penchant for backroom deals. It took awhile for the citizens of Portland to connect their negative feelings about city government with Katz.

    Also, look who she ran against. After beating Earl in a close race, she went up against a 19-year-old kid (although, gotta say, a very savvy kid who will be heard from again--Jake Oken-Berg). I think the more credible candidates were afraid of her.

    Potter, like Bud Clark, will open up the process a lot more.

  • ses (unverified)

    AMANDA FRITZ for MAYOR!!! Give the neighborhoods a fighting chance against the city agenda!!!

  • Chuck Paugh (unverified)

    Tom Potter lacks the charisma and political savvy of past Portland mayors, so it is difficult for me to judge his overall performance.

    I do know, from my perspective, that attempts to contact his office regarding issues in the community compared to previous mayors has been a disappointment.

    Personally, I think that he is a Republican wrapped in a Democrat's pelt. When I see changes occuring around the city under his leadership that are not good for Portland and part of previous Republican Party agendas, it makes me believe he is yet another Republican who jumped ship from the GOP to sail with the Democrats because the Republican Party no longer represents traditional GOP values.

    What can I say, I miss the charisma, down-to-earth, true love of all things Portland that the city received from former mayor Bud Clark.

  • Jeremy Van Keuren (unverified)

    Mr. Paugh:

    Though you and I do not agree on the issue you have emailed about, you have received a response to every email you've sent.


    Jeremy Van Keuren Public Advocate Office of Mayor Potter [email protected] 503-823-4125

  • Jennifer W. (unverified)

    My parents are visiting from California, and they were surprised to learn the Portland Fire Department is prohibited from crossing the Sellwood bridge in most of their fire trucks. I have summarized the rest if that conversation here:

    Question: you have such beautiful trolleys, and light rail, and the Eastbank Esplanade...how much is that Tram going to cost?

    Answer: about $60 million.

    Question: how much would a new bridge cost, to replace Sellwood?

    Answer: about $90 million.

    Questions: why did they build a tram before they replaced the bridge?

    Answer: that's a good question...I'll have to ask the Mayor.

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