The 3 promises of Charlie Hales

The 3 promises of Charlie Hales »Play Video
Mayor-elect Charlie Hales, right, greets current Mayor Sam Adams Monday afternoon after Hales' victory Tuesday night. They spoke about budget issues and the Columbia River Crossing. (KATU News photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor-elect Charlie Hales made three promises during his election night victory speech Tuesday.

Get back to basics. Have a police bureau that represents the community. And have quality schools in every neighborhood.

The schools promise is interesting because the mayor has no say in education. And to make something that's not under the mayor's job description one of the three pillars of a mayoral campaign can raise some eyebrows.

In his speech Hales again pledged to get a "quality school" in every neighborhood. He successfully ran on an education platform, making promises that weren't very specific using terms like "advocating", "working with", "assisting", and "speaking out" when it came to education issues.

"The mayor has no authority over schools in Portland, but the mayor has the bully pulpit and the ability to call together the business community, and civic leaders, and philanthropists, and schools advocates, and parents, and school districts, and everyone and go to Salem and say this is it, you must prioritize schools in the state budget," Hales said in an interview Wednesday. "The surplus 'kicker' has been repealed for corporations – maybe we need to go farther than that – but find the money."
He said he will have the city's lobbyists in Salem push a legislative agenda that supports school funding as the No. 1 budget priority.

Hales also wants to get back to basics and wants to transform the transportation budget and aim it at unpaved roads and roads that are in bad shape.

As it is now he said the city is not maintaining enough miles of streets each year to stay even.

"How do we put more dollars into basic plain vanilla maintenance and less into other things, including overhead and administration and maybe some of the long-term programs that I happen to believe in – transportation choices and bikes and all the other things that we're doing might have to be deferred a bit while we catch up on maintenance," Hales said.

While he mentioned cutting bike programs, Hales also said bike programs don't cost as much as people think.

He said he will look at trying to reduce the size of management in the transportation bureau and divert more of that money to blue collar efforts of actually fixing roads.

He said that could mean layoffs or restructuring the transportation bureau over several years.

On Frashour’s reinstatement

As posted earlier on, during an appearance on KATU News This Morning Hales spoke about giving up the fight to fire Portland Police Bureau Officer Ronald Frashour who shot and killed an unarmed Aaron Campbell, thinking he was reaching for a gun.

The current City Council has voted unanimously to fight an arbitrator's decision that Frashour should be reinstated.

Hales said the fight was a waste of money.

When asked by KATU's Carl Click if Hales would continue the fight, Hales responded, "I don't think so. I think we're going to focus more on the front end."

He went on to say he thought the city's money was better spent on retraining officers and changing rules of force. That's instead of pursuing a lawsuit so the city can follow through on the decision by police Chief Mike Reese and current Mayor Sam Adams to fire Frashour for the death of Campbell in 2010.

Campbell was distraught over the death of his brother and was shot during a police standoff.

But City Commissioner Dan Saltzman thinks Hales is wrong to give up the lawsuit.

"I think this is going to be regarded as incendiary by some people in the community who feel very strongly, not to mention is Aaron Campbell's family," he said. "I was police commissioner when this happened."

Hales said he agreed with Adams and Reese to fire Frashour "because I didn't think that conduct was appropriate, but this is a tactical question of what will make a difference now, will it really make a difference to go to court?"

"The chances of a favorable outcome to the city are small but that's not often the determinate by which you make a decision to fight," Saltzman said.

To overturn the unanimous decision to fight the arbitrator's ruling to give Frashour his job back, Hales would have to get the council to pass a new ordinance.

The mayor in Portland determines how much power the other council members have by how he awards bureaus. So it can be easy for a mayor to sway votes.