The Oregonian has a mayoral election scoop this morning: Charlie Hales tells the daily that he's going all in for a run at the city's top spot in 2012, taking the first plunge among a large field of rumored candidates that includes incumbent Mayor Sam Adams, County Chairman Jeff Cogen, former Senate candidate Steve Novick, and New Seasons' co-founder Eileen Brady.

It's been a season of speculation so far, although some candidates have gone a bit further in laying the groundwork for a run than some others. So as Hales, a former city commissioner, told the O: "I shouldn't be coy about it. I should tell the community, I'm going to do this."

Update 5:15 PM: Hales' campaign website,, is now up and running. Apparently Hales has a problem with "process."

Hales has a full CV that could make him an interesting alternative for voters who don't much like Adams, but like much of what Adams has Portland aspiring to do and be. Hales has long supported non-car transportation—helping return streetcars to downtown Portland back when he was a city commissioner. And he can talk about "livability" with the best of wonks. (Blue Oregon last month posted a very mayoral-type interview with Hales in which he held forth on the subject, along with economic development.)

But Hales also would return to city hall with years of business experience under his belt—giving any claims about "doing what's best for business" some heft. Since leaving city hall nine years ago, Hales has worked as a streetcar evangelist for HDR Inc., an international engineering and design firm, giving advice to other cities hoping to smartly plot urban growth.

The O did get off one parting shot, noting Hales' penchant for missing council meetings. Hales still doesn't seem too interested in filling his Wednesday mornings with procedural mush and hearing from citizens.

"I'll probably need to attend more of the meetings, just for face-sake," he said. "But the real work is done outside of the meetings."