He's not an announced candidate yet, but Portland Police Chief Mike Reese
will be onstage next Tuesday at the most important candidate forum so far the 2012 Portland mayor's race.
Reese will join Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales
and Jefferson Smith
, all of whom announced their candidacies months ago. It is highly unusual for a candidate who is not actually in a race to take part in a vetting process, such as the one the Northwest Labor Council has had scheduled for next week.
But Reese called and asked to be included in the event,
according to Elana Guiney, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, which is helping to organize the candidate forum.
"He reached out to the Northwest Labor Council and to us," Guiney says. "He is not an announced candidate but is interested in taking part. The groups putting it on considered the race and ultimately decided that they would honor his request and he would be included in the forum.
The folks who talked to him were assured enough that he would be running
that it would be a disservice to our members not to have included him."
That decision prompted some grumbling from the staffs of the announced candidates, although nobody would speak for the record.
The labor groups' willingness to include Reese even though he is not yet a candidate suggests a high level of respect for him but also underscores that key labor endorsements—and the money and large number of motivated members those endorsements can bring—are very much up for grabs.
The group sponsoring the forum includes American Federation of State County and Municipal
Employees, the Portland Firefighters Association, the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers and the Building Trades Council.
The candidate forum will be held at the Labor Council office at Southeast 32nd Street and Powell Boulevard . on Nov. 15 from 6:30 pm to 8:30. The event is open to members of all the labor groups and the press and will be streamed live online.