PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler is looking forward to focusing on “real people and real problems” once he becomes mayor in January, he told a group of media on Wednesday morning.
Wheeler cruised past the other candidates, garnering 58% of the vote — more than 62,000 total votes — easily outdistancing his nearest rival, Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey.
“I said from the beginning, this wasn’t going to be about me, it was going to be about the city of Portland and how we work together to solve problems,” Wheeler said.
The Mayor-elect will meet with his closest advisers on Wednesday, but reminded the crowd that he is still the treasurer for the state until the end of the year.
He also planned on taking his wife and daughter out to dinner to celebrate the win.
“I feel very privileged to have been elected mayor and I’m not going to let them down,” he said.
Once he becomes mayor, Wheeler says he plans to focus on homelessness, clean air, clean water and protecting the environment.
He says that building “coalitions of support” is a challenge for any mayor and he plans to address it in order to be an effective leader.
“I’m not sure as a region we’ve really figured out how to work together, on issues like transportation, or housing or economic prosperity.”
On homelessness, Wheeler says he is skeptical of the city’s current tent camping policy.
“I don’t think its a particularly compassionate approach to those living on our streets.”
Wheeler says it is not fair to businesses and neighborhoods. “I’d like to focus on programs that really move people from the streets,” he said.
Wheeler addressed the shortage of police officers in the Portland Police Bureau, saying that the “catastrophically low” staffing levels are concerning.
“I would like us to go back to a full community policing model, meaning, having more feet on the streets, more of a police presence,” he said.
The city council is set to finalize a budget on Wednesday, which will affect the Portland Police Bureau budget.