DOJ scrutiny for Portland Marathon; still no permit

Race is planned for October 8

Thousands of runners in the Portland Marathon (Undated, KOIN file)
Thousands of runners in the Portland Marathon (Undated, KOIN file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Portland Marathon, but a legal expert told KOIN 6 News whatever may be found will not likely derail the race.

However, the event continues to seek a permit from the City of Portland, and that could have more of an impact than the DOJ investigation into possible conflicts of interest between race organizers and some for-profit companies. However, the legal expert told KOIN 6 News whatever may be found would likely result in sanctions or fines, but won’t shut it down.

Runners participating in the Portland Marathon cross the Broadway Bridge Sunday, October 5, 2014 (Lucia Martinez)
Runners participating in the Portland Marathon cross the Broadway Bridge Sunday, October 5, 2014 (Lucia Martinez)

A Department of Justice spokesperson told KOIN 6 News they have asked race organizers to hand over their financial documents and other documents related to the marathon’s dealings with a for-profit company registered at the same address.

Portland Marathon Director Les Smith and Assistant Event Director Mamie Wheeler are also listed as the 2 principals running a for-profit company called Next Event Productions.

A city spokesperson told KOIN 6 News the race organizers met the deadline to prepay some estimated costs associated with the race — nearly $48,000 for items including police patrols and transportation services the city will provide.

Dylan Rivera with PBOT said, “We’ve gone above and beyond what city bureaus do for events like this. We just wish we were working on these little details last November. Instead, here we are in August.”

Portland still needs information on a variety of details for the event, including an agreement in writing to a final medical plan with fire and rescue personnel. A permit will not likely be issued until early September for the race that is planned for October 8, Rivera said.

The DOJ investigation is something the city is aware of, Rivera said. “The existence of an investigation does not disqualify them from obtaining a permit for a special event.”

So far, Smith has not responded to phone and email messages seeking comment.