Mayor Hales focuses on school safety, roads as term begins

Mayor Hales focuses on school safety, roads as term begins

PORTLAND, Ore. – Charlie Hales will be sworn in as Portland’s 52nd mayor at a public ceremony Wednesday morning and he has pledged to make school safety a top priority following the deadly shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Willamette Week newspaper reports Hales has scheduled a meeting with Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and local school district superintendents to discuss security at local schools.

Hales said there are "too many guns out there" and he wants people to “stay angry” about the Sandy Hook shootings.

"I want us to be furious that those lives were cut short, and resolute to do something about it. Not just mourn and celebrate those victims, but honor those victims by anger and passion and action, not just by remembrance and respect," Hales told the Willamette Week.

Hales has also said he wants to focus on the 60 miles of unpaved streets in Portlandalong with other road work.

Hales was officially sworn in just after midnight Tuesday morning in a small ceremony. He will take the oath of office publicly at 10 a.m. at City Hall in Portland.

Along with the start of Hales’ tenure as mayor, January 2 also marks some other changes in Portland’s political landscape.

Long-time Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard is retiring and will be replaced by Steve Novick, who has also run for the mayor’s position in the past.

Hales also asked the city’s Transportation Director, Tom Miller, to resign and Miller has agreed to do so.  Hales chief of staff said no other firings are planned.

Hales also said he plans changes to police hiring procedures and use of force rules following a stretch of deadly police shootings in the recent past.

Amanda Fritz, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish are all returning as members of the City Council.