PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland's longest-serving city commissioner Dan Saltzman on Tuesday announced he will not run for re-election in 2018.
Two people so far have announced they will run for Saltzman's seat.
Current Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith said Tuesday she will run. Smith has served as Multnomah County commissioner for the past seven years. Before that, she worked for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) for 21 years.
"The opportunity to continue to fight for the most vulnerable on the Portland City Council would be an honor and a privilege,” she said in her announcement.
Jo Ann Hardesty, a Navy veteran, former Oregon State Representative and current president of NAACP Portland, officially filed to run for Saltzman’s seat on Sept. 7, the first day candidates could file. Hardesty said affordable housing, equity and public safety are among her top priorities. Her campaign has already raised more than $20,000, according to secretary of state financial reports.
If Smith or Hardesty wins, she would be the first woman of color to serve on the Portland city council.
With Saltzman's announcement, the Portland City Council will soon have a majority of relative newcomers. Chloe Eudaly beat out incumbent Steve Novick in 2016. Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as the fifth city councilor, won election in 2016. Amanda Fritz, who won't be up for election until 2020, and Nick Fish, who is running for re-election in 2018, both joined the city council in 2009.
Saltzman has served five terms as a Portland City Commissioner. During his nearly 20 years on the city council, he has overseen 11 city bureaus, including the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Portland Housing Bureau, and Portland Fire & Rescue.
Saltzman made the announcement on his Facebook page, saying, “I can have the greatest impact on the issues that truly motivate me outside of City Hall.”
“I have come to the conclusion that I can accomplish more on these issues if they become my primary focus, instead of their having to share my attention. And I would enjoy working on those causes in a less scheduled life,” he said.
Saltzman has held Portland’s No. 3 commissioner position since 1999. Prior to that, Saltzman served as a Multnomah County Commissioner from 1993-1998.
As I have been talking to community members about campaigning for another term as City Commissioner, I have been humbled by the deep support and encouragement I have received. Indeed, that support has far exceeded what I have experienced in any of my past races. I believe that is because of progress made together on so many issues that have a real impact on the people and community we all care so much about. Just a few of these accomplishments include:
- The initial passage and two subsequent renewals of the Portland Children’s Levy, which has over the past 15 years improved the lives of thousands of kids and families.
- Passage of Portland’s first Affordable Housing Bond and leading an unprecedented response to Portland’s affordable housing crisis as Housing Commissioner. We made record investments, reforms and commitments that will result in thousands of units of desperately needed new homes.
- The opening of the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services, a one-stop resource for survivors of domestic violence. I was also proud to have led new initiatives for combating gang violence and the continuing effort to improve police accountability.
- Improvements to fire and ambulance services that will save money and lives.
- Reordering transportation priorities to focus on the basics, including accelerating the repair of potholes and other damage done by the winter storms of 2017.
- Delivering the Big Pipe on-time and on-budget, fixing the Water Bureau billing system and reforming the Fire & Police Disability and Retirement system.
- Always pursuing these and other goals with a sharp eye on protecting taxpayer’s dollars, while striving to make Portland a more just, equitable, sustainable place that provides opportunity for all.
Over the last few weeks I have reflected on that record of nearly 25 years of public service as a commissioner at Multnomah County and at the City of Portland. As satisfying as it might be to look back at accomplishments, what really counts is what comes next.
That reflection has led me to the conclusion that I can have the greatest impact on the issues that truly motivate me outside of City Hall.
I have enjoyed the myriad duties of City Commissioner, and I am very proud of my accomplishments and the relationships I have built while achieving them. But with respect to things I am passionate about, the items on my “to do” list largely have check marks next to them. Meanwhile, there is much more I wish to do in areas such as child welfare, foster care and domestic violence. I have come to the conclusion that I can accomplish more on those issues if they become my primary focus, instead of their having to share my attention. And I would enjoy working on those causes in a less scheduled life.
Therefore, I will not file for a sixth term as City Commissioner and will complete my term at the end of 2018. I will also lead the renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy in 2018.
It is my hope that an open seat will encourage a number of people to consider running: this is a great opportunity for a new generation of leadership in City Hall. I want to deeply thank all my staff members, supporters and community members that I have had the privilege of working with over these many years. I eagerly look forward to continuing to work together as we strive to make Portland an even greater place for all the people who share it – today and tomorrow.