- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced Wednesday that he’s running for Portland mayor, pitching himself as a more liberal and more accomplished alternative to incumbent Charlie Hales.

Wheeler faulted Hales for failing to deal with homelessness, rising housing prices and crumbling streets.

“It’s not enough to call yourself a progressive or an activist or a leader when so many of the basic things that make a community thriving and successful aren’t getting done,” Wheeler told a crowd of supporters on a southeast Portland rooftop overlooking downtown.

In a statement, Hales touted the city’s 4.8 percent unemployment rate and said the city budget has improved from a $21 million deficit to a $49 million surplus during his first term.

“Most importantly, we’ve done this while staying true to Portland’s values, doing our part to fight climate change and strengthening the relationship between police and the community,” Hales said. “There is a lot more work to do, but this is a record that all of us can be proud of.”

Wheeler and Hales are both Democrats, though the office is nonpartisan and their party affiliations will not appear on the ballot.

Wheeler’s announcement was widely expected. He is prevented by term limits from seeking another term as treasurer. He considered a run for governor in 2018 before John Kitzhaber stepped down in February, giving Gov. Kate Brown the power of incumbency and a clearer path to the Democratic nomination.

Wheeler comes from a wealthy Oregon family that built its fortune in the timber industry. He earned degrees from Stanford, Columbia and Harvard universities and had a career in business before turning to politics with a successful 2006 run for Multnomah County Commission.

In 2010, then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed Wheeler treasurer after Ben Westlund died in office. Wheeler was elected to the position in 2010 and 2012.

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