Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says he won't be running for office again in 2024.
The announcement came as he addressed questions about whether he intended to run for mayor in the next City Council race under a restructured form of government. Wheeler confirmed Wednesday that he won't seek a third term.
"I am a firm believer in public service and know that when government is accountable and responsive to the needs of the community, it can be a force for good," Wheeler wrote in an open letter to Portlanders Wednesday, Sept. 13. "Serving as the elected Mayor of Portland has been both humbling and the greatest privilege of my life.
With that in mind, as we approach 2024, there have been inevitable questions as to whether I will seek a third term as Mayor. There are numerous qualified Portlanders who have announced their run for office—or intention to run—and their decision in part hinges on me seeking a third term."
Wheeler, who previously told the Mercury he was focused on the job at hand and wasn't ready to announce his plans for the next election, touted his accomplishments during his two terms over the past seven years.
Specifically, he cited the Focused Intervention Team, the city's recent mass Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites, the "90-Day Reset" strategy being deployed in certain neighborhoods, a Street Services Coordination Center, and other major initiatives.
"Building these efforts to scale and making them effective has been, and will continue to be, my top priority," Wheeler wrote.
"Addressing our city’s critical challenges while, at the same, time, fundamentally re-shaping city government requires all of my attention over the next 15 months," Wheeler said. "As such, I will not be seeking another term as your Mayor. "
Wheeler's tenure as mayor has been fraught with challenges, including backlash against Portland police for the response to the racial justice protests of 2020, and more recently, the mayor and City Council's handling of Portland's homelessness and housing crisis.
Midway through his first term as mayor, Wheeler indicated he was ready to be done, muttering that he "cannot wait" for the rest of his term to be over.
Regardless, Wheeler ran for a second term and won in 2020, beating challenger Sarah Iannarone. Wheeler also prevailed through a recall election against him the following year.
To date, more than 17 candidates have already filed for the 2024 Portland City Council race, including two candidates for mayor. Current City Commissioner Mingus Mapps is the only incumbent to file in that election so far. Mapps is running for mayor—a position that will ostensibly transform to be one that is largely administrative and only votes with City Council when a tie-breaker is needed.
Two other current city commissioners, Carmen Rubio and Dan Ryan, recently said they're focused on the current needs of the city and won't make any announcements until later.