PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Police Chief Mike Reese is considering running for mayor of Portland in 2012 but a final decision is still a couple of weeks away. The chief made his comments during an interview with KATU on Wednesday morning.
The Willamette Week newspaper first reported on Tuesday night that Reese is considering running for mayor since Sam Adams will not seek a second term.
According to the weekly paper, three sources close to Reese said he plans to run. But Reese denied he has made a decision, telling KATU News “I am definitely not announcing a decision, I haven’t made one.”
On Wednesday morning, KATU News reporter Patrick Preston talked with Reese at length about his future plans.
Reese told Preston that several people had encouraged him to run and that a final decision is a couple of weeks away. He said he would not be running if Sam Adams, who has been supportive of Reese's political ambitions, were running for a second term - a decision that surprised him.
“Since his decision, I’ve had some people approach me that I really respect and ask me to run for mayor," Reese said, "and I told them I would give it serious consideration.”
He also said he has already talked to Mayor Adams about the possibility of a run for mayor. “It is a unique opportunity," he said. "I really feel like the next four years are critically important for the health of our community."
"I want to meet with additional folks in the community and talk to my family about this decision and then really see what’s in the best interests of the community" before he makes a final decision, Reese said.
Reese said he does not see himself as a politician, but said "I see myself as a strong leader and we need someone to, over the next four years, to really create a vision of how this city can be better and to move us forward.” He denied Willamette Week reports that he told three people sourced by the newspaper that he was going to run, saying no decision has yet been made.
Reese said that if he does decide to run, he will have to reconcile his job as both chief of police and campaigning politician. He declined to elaborate on what that would entail. "I'm not going to go there" until after a decision is made, he said.
His term as Portland Chief of Police began in May of 2010 when Mayor Sam Adams let go then-chief Rosie Sizer and installed Reese against a backdrop of several fatal police shootings and payments to the family of a man who died in custody.
Most recently he has been seen in civilian clothes touring the Occupy Portland protest campsites, some of which have been removed by police. He did not comment on that situation in his interview.
Reese is a native Portlander and started his law enforcement career as a Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy in 1989. He joined the Portland Police Bureau in 1995.
Willamette Week reports that it obtained a poll that shows the mayor's race is wide open and may have influenced Reese's decision to run.
That poll shows that none of the major candidates in the race, Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, has yet registered much support with Portland voters.
Read the entire Willamette Week article. Willamette Week is a KATU news partner.