City Commissioner Dan Ryan, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
City Commissioner Dan Ryan, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler City of Portland

Progressive activists have created a Political Action Committee (PAC) to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Ryan.

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The "Total Recall PAC" hopes to unseat both recently elected politicians because of their perceived resistance to police reform efforts within City Hall. In a Tuesday press release, the PAC accused Ryan of misleading voters who supported him in the August special election for pledging to support police accountability—but then voting against a proposal to shrink the Portland Police Bureau's $230 million budget by $18 million.

The PAC was founded on November 5 by two Portland transparency advocates: Lawyer Alan Kessler, known for challenging the city on public records requests, and Seth Woolley, a former city council candidate and campaign finance reform proponent.

“I voted for Dan Ryan because he led me to believe he was a staunch advocate for police reform,” said Kessler, in the press release. “After his refusal to vote for Commissioner Hardesty’s budget reduction amendment, I feel betrayed. I want my vote back. I want an apology.”

The press release also noted that in the November 3 election, Wheeler was re-elected with only 46 percent of the vote—meaning more Portlanders voted against Wheeler than for him.

“Wheeler ran a dirty campaign, violating multiple campaign-finance laws that nearly all of us voted for, and he still couldn't convince a majority of the city he should be mayor," said Athul Acharya, a local civil rights attorney, who is also quoted in the press release.

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Total Recall PAC also has the support of Kat Mahoney, a Portland lawyer who's volunteered as a legal observer during the past five months of protests, and Mac Smiff, a racial justice activist and editor of We Out Here Magazine.

According to the state's guidelines, a recall election can only take place after a candidate has been in office for at least six months. Petitioners must first collect at least 35,925 signatures from registered Portland voters to force a recall election.

The PAC says it will start collecting signatures for the recall campaign next summer.