City of Portland

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz won't be seeking a fourth term on city council in 2020.

Fritz, who's served on city council since 2008, announced her retirement plans Friday afternoon.

“I am looking forward to finishing strong with my team—continuing to connect with Portlanders, doing my homework, getting important things done, and dedicating my life to serving the people of Portland for the remainder of my term," she said it a press statement.

"And then, I am looking forward to retiring and sitting in my back yard with my cat watching the wildlife."

Fritz, who still has 21 months left as commissioner, used the early announcement to set a few goals for her remaining tenure.

One of those priorities? The long-awaited rollout of the city's Open and Accountable Elections, a public finance program geared toward helping lesser-known candidates secure enough funding to make a run at city office. Fritz, who entered city hall on a platform of campaign finance reform, introduced the Open and Accountable Elections program in 2016—but has struggled to find a home for it since.

The program currently lives in Fritz's office, but would be tossed to another commissioner if she chose to run for office. Since she's decidedly not, Fritz now has the chance to see the project through its first election cycle.

"I am announcing now in the hope that many worthy candidates will use the public campaign finance resources in the Open and Accountable Elections program, and that there will be as positive and trust-building campaigns for the open seat in 2020," Fritz said. "I want to open the door for someone else to be the voice of Portlanders in my place.”

If successful, it'll be just one of many progressive programs Fritz championed over her decade in city hall. A few of her accomplishments: Creating the Office of Equity and Human Rights, creating the City Budget Office, mandating paid sick time in Portland, orchestrating the contentious relocation of Right 2 Dream Too, making I-5 safer after her husband's tragic 2014 death, championing a massive Parks Bond, and creating the Cannabis Tax to support transportation programs and help people remove weed-related convictions from their criminal record.

Fritz, a former OHSU nurse, served on the city's Planning and Sustainability Commission before joining city council. Her votes on the council dais regularly reflect her passion for smart urban planning, which sometimes comes at a cost for tenant advocates. Fritz and Commissioner Eudaly, who was elected to improve renter rights in Portland, have repeatedly clashed on ordinances that pit landlords against tenants.

Fritz has consistently stood in opposition to Portland's on-again-off-again relationship with the FBI through its Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), and voted to successfully dissolve the partnership in February.

As the seventh woman elected to Portland City Council, Fritz long-tolerated being the sole woman at the council dais. However, she doesn't think changing the way the city elects its commissioners—a contested topic—would change the ability for a woman to win a council seat.

In her final months in office, Fritz says she hopes to "reinvigorate" the city’s equity initiatives in regard to racial and disability justice, find a way to sell development rights from city property to fund maintenance projects, and establish "permanent protections" for the Bull Run watershed within the city’s charter.

Fritz's resignation makes Commissioner Nick Fish the longest-running city commissioner. Both commissioners entered office in 2008—Fish in May, Fritz in November. (Thanks to a special election win, Fish isn't up for re-election until 2022). We dug into Mercury archives to recall her election night, which joyously synced with Obama's first win. It's a pretty dreamy moment:

Seconds after Obama was declared the victor, Multnomah County posted preliminary results. At the Ecotrust Building in the Pearl District, Amanda Fritz found out she had nearly 72 percent of the vote. She gasped at the high number, throwing her fists in the air.

"Sometimes you work really, really hard, and you have lots of really, really good friends, and something really, really good happens!" she told the crowd, which included Mayor Tom Potter, Mayor-Elect Sam Adams, and Commissioner Nick Fish. She also put on a jersey with the number seven on it—to commemorate her victory as the seventh woman ever elected to the Portland City Council—then cut into a massive sheet cake.