Portland won’t have Ted Wheeler to kick around anymore. The mayor announced this week he won’t seek a third term. He says he wants to focus exclusively on shepherding the transition to a new government structure. His announcement came nine hours after WW published a cover story that said Wheeler had told close associates he wouldn’t run. (He had told others the opposite.) His decision brings to an end a political career than rarely ran smoothly. Wheeler dealt with adverse circumstances that started in the months before he took office (see Trump, Donald). But he was in the cockpit as the city took a pandemic nosedive that it still hasn’t pulled out of. Here’s what our readers had to say:
K. Kofler, via wweek.com: “Let’s be honest: Nobody could have navigated that minefield without stepping on at least one mine; though a lot of people probably wouldn’t have stepped on nearly all of them…”
Darkest Timeline, via Twitter: “He found a way to unite the left and right...against him.”
Tom Mcroy, via Facebook: “I don’t love Ted, but for a guy everyone hates, he’s leaving the city with an unemployment rate lower than 4%, a median household income nearly 6K above the national average, graduation rates higher than Boston or NYC. If those are stats of a fucked-up city, go move to Saginaw or Flint and lemme know what you think. Considering we shut down earth, which I consider extremely stupid, and ensuing societal meltdowns happened across the country, I’d say Portland is doing OK.”
oregoner, via wweek.com: “While I share the sentiment with most Portlanders that Wheeler is a dunce, anyone with a shred of objectivity has to agree that being the mayor of this city is an incredibly difficult job. We’re at the crossroads of multiple national and international crises (drugs, homelessness, post-pandemic economies, political instability, climate change-fueled natural disasters). This city has decided to completely reorient how the City Council works and the duties of the mayor. Everybody has their own idea of how to fix these problems, but ideas are cheap. Getting things done is the hard part. And if you’re the mayor, you’re the person that everyone blames when things don’t get done.
“Anyway, the nicest thing I can think to say about Teddy is that he wasn’t as bad as everyone says. He was just a regular dude that was completely overwhelmed by his job. He did his best and he failed. The city is unquestionably in worse shape since he took over. Even though I don’t specifically blame him for the problems in the city, he didn’t exactly provide solutions. I would describe him as an underwhelming mayor at a time when we needed a real leader.
“I don’t expect a new mayor to come in on a white horse and solve the homeless crisis and fentanyl crisis and economic crisis while also turning downtown into an episode of Portlandia. But it would be cool if we had someone with a positive message that could make some improvements to this city.”
space-pasta, via Reddit: “2024 is going to be a shitshow. I don’t know who in their right mind would want to be mayor of Portland, so we’ll probably get someone who’s not in their right mind.”
Lakanaya, via Twitter: “The past eight years presented the most challenging issues in the modern history of the Portland both locally and globally. Looking forward to a new chapter of leadership in Portland. The work is cut out. Let’s go big, bold and new.”
Just doing the Math, via wweek.com: “Odd, on some level I sort of feel sorry for Wheeler, he looks so unhappy. It must have been a new low being heckled at a funeral. But then I look at the mess Portland has become, remembering his lack of leadership during the riots, and I agree with his decision not to seek another term. “
However, his replacement will be far worse. And we may be blessed with Adams as a potential council member. Now this a guy who never goes away.”
BOtto2016, via Reddit: “Vera Katz (holographic presence) 2024.”
LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: P.O. Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org