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Former Portland Mayor Frank Ivancie Dies in California at 94

The former longtime city commissioner served as mayor from 1981 to 1985.

Former Portland Mayor Frank Ivancie has died at age 94, according to one of his sons, Jim Ivancie, who posted the news on Facebook today.

After serving as the top aid to longtime Mayor Terry Schrunk, Ivancie, who was originally from Minnesota, served as a Portland City Commissioner from 1966 to 1980. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1976, losing to Neil Goldschmidt.

After Goldschmidt resigned as mayor in 1979 to serve as Transportation Secretary for then-President Jimmy Carter, City Commissioner Connie McCready won a contentious battle to serve out the rest of Goldschmidt's term.

In the 1980 election however, Ivancie, a business-friendly Democrat, easily defeated McCready. The face of the city changed rapidly during his tenure. The conversion of Pioneer Square from a parking lot to public park—a conversion he originally opposed—moved forward. The Portland Building was completed in 1982 and that same year, construction of the first MAX line, which connected Portland to Gresham, began.

Ivancie appeared poised for easy re-election in 1984, leading his opponent, a little-known bar owner, Bud Clark, by 35 points in initial polling, according to "Portland: People, Politics and Power," author Jewel Lansing's political history of the city.

Clark stunned the city, however, by riding a populist wave to defeat Ivancie by 13 points. That result cemented the leftward shift of Portland's City Hall that began with Goldschmidt and his allies in the 1970s.

After losing to Clark, Ivancie took the helm of the Oregon chapter of Democrats for Reagan. He landed a spot on the federal Maritime Commission and later retired in Southern California.

"Former City Commissioner and Mayor Frank Ivancie will be missed," said current Mayor Ted Wheeler in a statement. "His long tenure in local government shaped how Portland evolved. He was a dedicated public servant and we thank him for his many years of service."