After repeatedly insisting that he would run for reelection in the face of significant competition, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced today he will retire.
Saltzman, who has served he was first elected since 1998, says he has achieved what he set out to on Council.
"I have enjoyed the myriad duties of City Commissioner, and I am very proud of my accomplishments and the relationships I have built while achieving them," Saltzman said in a statement. "But with respect to things I am passionate about, the items on my "to do" list largely have check marks next to them."
Jo Ann Hardesty, a former legislator who head the NAACP of Portland, has already filed to run for Saltzman's spot. Last month, she visited his office, asking him to retire and endorse her.
"I think it's respectful to say eyeball to eyeball, 'I'm here to take you out. You can go peacefully. Or you can go kicking and screaming," she told WW. "I think the city is ready for new leadership."
Saltzman has not endorsed Hardesty or anyone else.
Hardesty says she believes she intimidated Saltzman out of the race.
"Yes, I think he has not had a difficult race since 18 years ago," says Hardesty. "I think everything is telling him this would be a tough race, and he had a good chance of losing."
Hardesty says she expects others to eye the seat now, but "we're so far ahead of the game that they'll have a hard time catching up," she says.
County Commissioner Loretta Smith's name has been floated as a possible contender as well, but she can't officially enter the race until January, if she wants to keep her seat on the county commission.
Here is Saltzman's full statement.