After a four years as mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales sailed off into retirement.

For 18 months, he traveled the globe on his sailboat, returning only last month, he tells WW.

But now Hales has returned to his old employer: HDR, an engineering firm where previously he helped cities looking to create streetcar lines.

Now he's got a bigger job, as national director for planning and urban design.  The company now has 10,000 employees. He'll be based in Portland and working internationally on "creating livable cities," he says.

"[That's] right in my wheelhouse," he tells WW, "to use a recently applicable term."

During his tenure as city commissioner in the 1990s, Hales championed the creation of Portland's streetcar and left City Hall in 2002 to work in the private sector on bringing streetcars to other cities.

He returned to City Hall as mayor from 2012 to 2016, where he concentrated much of his energy on various iterations of a "street fee" to fund road paving and pedestrian safety. That proved unpopular. He opted not to run for reelection, and spent much of his last year trying to address an increasingly visible homelessness problem.