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Ted Wheeler is Running for Portland Mayor

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will announce today that he's challenging incumbent Mayor Charlie Hales in next May's primary election.

And in an interview with WW on Tuesday, he said his top priorities will include confronting a homelessness "crisis on the streets of our city," restoring public trust in city government and creating additional economic opportunity for Portlanders.

Wheeler, 53, was elected Multnomah County chairman in 2006 and was appointed Oregon treasurer in 2010. In that job, he manages state borrowing and helps guide the investment of nearly $90 billion in state pension funds.

His political career has been marked by incremental competence, beginning with the steady hand he brought to Multnomah County after the tumult of the Diane Linn years.

As state treasurer, he tried to professionalize the office (before politics, Wheeler worked in finance and is heir to a significant lumber fortune) but flopped at his biggest effort at reform—an attempt to amend the constitution to borrow money to make higher ed more accessible.  

Because of term limits, he can't seek re-election to state treasurer, and it's been widely understood that he would someday run for governor (an ambition he did not rule out in WW's Sept. 8 interview with him).

Wheeler saw his path to Mahonia Hall blocked by the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber and the elevation of then-Secretary of State Kate Brown to replace him in February.

Wheeler flirted with a gubernatorial run throughout the summer before fixing his sights on City Hall.

"We have a governor in Kate Brown who's making progress," he tells WW, "and a mayor in Charlie Hales who isn't."

Visit wweek.com throughout the week for video highlights of Wheeler's first campaign-trail interview.