May 15th, 2012 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: City Hall, PDX Votes, Politics

An Early Evening for Charlie Hales

halesCharlie Hales and staffer Josh Alpert look at results on primary election night in May 2012.

At about 8:20 pm, mayoral front-runner Charlie Hales gave the only speech he would give all evening. His victory celebration in tonight's mayoral primary was much like the campaign he has run—low key and lacking in drama.

He pledged to focus on nuts-and-bolts issues like access to pre-school and cleaning up the Willamette River.

"Let's finish this good work out of our love for Portland," Hales said. "Let's focus on substance not soundbites; results and not rhetoric and let's make this great place even better."

Dressed in a blue Oxford-cloth shirt, khakis and penny-loafers, Hales spent a relaxed evening at his campaign headquarters on Southeast grand Avenue, schmoozing with supporters who drifted in and out, grabbing hot dogs and shaved ice from sidewalk vendors.

The hand-written results showed him nine points ahead of State Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) and 15 ahead of businesswoman Eileen Brady never changed, which also mirrored the steady nature of Hales' campaign.

"Charlie was like a steam-engine gathering speed in this race," says his campaign treasurer, Mike Lindberg, who served three terms on the Portland City Council. "It took him a while to get up to speed."

Lindberg pointed to a couple of key points in the campaign, which he says helped Hales chug past Brady, the early leader.

Lindberg thought the endorsement of former Mayor Vera Katz really helped Hales. "Most endorsements don't make a difference," Lindberg says. "That one did. Then for Charlie to get the endorsements of The Oregonian, Willamette Week and the Mercury and The Skanner, that's an unusual combination."

"It's a quirky town," Lindberg says. "The day Eileen said 'I'm going to spend $1 million in the primary'—not only don't you do that, but you don't say it."

As he finished speaking, a Portland streetcar—the thing with which Hales is most closely associated—rolled by.

 
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