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At Hales' Victory Party, Well Wishers and A Tool Belt for the Work Ahead

Before the line of well-wishers began giving him hugs, before any results were announced, Portland Mayor-elect Charlie Hales had scheduled a meeting with outgoing Mayor Sam Adams.

"I'll be meeting with the mayor tomorrow at 1:30," Hales told WW shortly before 8 pm at his election-night party at Holocene.

Minutes later, the first wave of election results showing Hales' decisive victory over Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) appeared on the projection screens, and a coronation began.

"What's not to like?" asked City Commissioner Nick Fish.

Fish joined Commissioner-elect Steve Novick, newly re-elected Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen in stopping by to congratulate Hales.

Even Metro Councilor-elect Bob Stacey, who endorsed Smith, stopped by—waiting in a line outside Holocene in the rain with his young grandson.

"I just gave Jefferson a big hug," Stacey said, "and now I'm going to shake Charlie's hand."

Hales spoke to a capacity crowd at 8:20 pm, less than three minutes after news reports declared victory for President Barack Obama. As the room chanted, "Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!" (one wag cried, "Four more years!"), Hales struck a note of peace.

"We'll minimize the drama and maximize the results," Hales said. "We will have a Police Bureau that reflects our values."

Hales accepted a congratulatory yellow tool belt from a local carpenters' union. "I'm ready to pick up the tools," he said, "to plan bold things and build them."

He'll have to begin with a City Hall in budget turmoil and a Police Bureau criticized by the U.S. Department of Justice for a pattern of brutality against the mentally ill. Moving through a scrum to congratulate Hales, Fish said the new City Council's experience will be crucial.

"We're going to need every year of that experience to pass a city budget," Fish said.