Rene Gonzalez Will Soon Announce Run for Portland Mayor

The first-time city commissioner has gained popularity in moderate and business circles for his support of law enforcement and criticism of the city’s approach to homelessness.

Portland City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez greets supporters at his campaign office during an election night party on Nov. 8, 2022. (Jordan Gale)

City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez will announce his run for Portland mayor in coming weeks, according to three sources familiar with his plans.

Gonzalez will joining City Council colleague Mingus Mapps in the contest to be Portland’s next mayor. Whoever is elected mayor next November will assume leadership of an entirely new form of government thanks to a ballot measure voters approved last fall. A 12-member City Council will set policy for the city and a professional city administrator will run the bureaus. The mayor will have a tie-breaking vote but no veto.

Shah Smith, chief of staff to Gonzalez, declined to comment. Gonzalez did not immediately return a call and text regarding his run.

Gonzalez, elected to the City Council as a first-time politician in November 2022, has made a splash in his first year. He’s perhaps the most conservative of his five council colleagues and has attempted several bold measures in his first year, including trying to overturn parts of the charter reform measure approved by voters last November. (The attempt was brushed aside by his fellow city commissioners.)

A lawyer by training and a small-business owner, Gonzalez defeated incumbent City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty last fall in a heated, sometimes sour runoff. Gonzalez ran on a platform of stiffening enforcement of no-camping laws and beefing up Portland’s Police Bureau. He’s become popular with business leaders and downtown property developers.

Earlier on Monday, Commissioner Dan Ryan announced he would not be running for mayor next year. It’s widely rumored Commissioner Carmen Rubio will run for mayor, though she hasn’t announced yet.

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