Frank Ivancie

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Frank Ivancie
Frank Ivancie.png
47th Mayor of Portland, Oregon
In office
November 24, 1980 – January 2, 1985
Preceded by Connie McCready
Succeeded by Bud Clark
Portland City Council - Commissioner
In office
Preceded by Ormond R. Bean
Succeeded by Margaret Strachan
Personal details
Born (1924-07-19) July 19, 1924 (age 92)
Marble, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician, businessman

Francis James "Frank" Ivancie (born July 19, 1924) is an American businessman and politician who served as mayor of Portland, Oregon, from 1980 to 1985. Prior to his term as mayor, Ivancie served for fourteen years on the Portland City Council. Since his retirement from elected office, Ivancie has remained active in community affairs, occasionally lending his support to political causes.

During his political career, Ivancie was a conservative Democrat who throughout his political career cultivated support from both business interests as well as blue collar workers; however, the city government offices he held are all officially non-partisan.

Education and career before politics[edit]

Frank Ivancie was born in Marble, Minnesota.[1]:9 His father was an immigrant from Ljubljana,[1] Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia).[2] He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in sociology.[3] He subsequently moved to Oregon, where he earned a master's degree in education from the University of Oregon.[1] During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

After the war, Ivancie began working as a teacher in Burns, Oregon. He moved to Washington County, in the Portland metropolitan area, to take a position as principal of Orenco School, in Orenco, Oregon. After a period in the 1950s working in England as principal of an American school run by the Department of Defense, Ivancie returned to Oregon and taught for Portland Public Schools. He left teaching in 1956 when hired as executive assistant to then-mayor-elect Terry Schrunk.[3]

Early political career[edit]

Ivancie was first elected to the Portland City Council in 1966, filling a vacancy on the Council when Ormond Bean did not run for re-election to the post.[3] He took office on January 4, 1967.[3] He was re-elected to the Council several times, in 1970, 1974, and 1978, only serving the first two years of his final term.[4]

In 1976, Ivancie launched his first campaign for mayor, running against one-term incumbent Neil Goldschmidt. A key issue in the campaign was the Mount Hood Freeway, a controversial freeway proposal which the City Council had killed by a vote of 4-1 in 1974 (Ivancie casting the lone dissenting vote) and which Ivancie and his supporters hoped to revive. Billboards were erected proclaiming "If Ivancie were mayor, you'd be home now". Unfortunately for Ivancie, the primary beneficiaries of the proposed freeway project were suburban commuters who were ineligible to vote for the mayor of Portland.[5] City residents were in widespread opposition to the freeway (which was never built), and Goldschmidt handily won re-election, defeating Ivancie in the primary election. (The Portland mayoral election is held in May of years divisible by four; if no candidate secures a majority in the primary then a run-off election is held in November between the top two vote-getters in the primary election.) [5]

Tenure as mayor[edit]

In 1979, Goldschmidt resigned as the city's mayor to take a post with the Carter Administration as United States Secretary of Transportation, and fellow commissioner Connie McCready was appointed to fill the remainder of Goldschmidt's term. Ivancie then ran for mayor again in 1980 against McCready—a candidate who had neither the populist appeal of Goldschmidt nor the powerful backing of Ivancie—and defeated her in the primary election. The primary election that year occurred on May 20, 1980. He was sworn in as mayor on November 24, 1980.[6]

While mayor, he also served as Portland's police commissioner, taking that position away from commissioner Charles Jordan, who had been assigned it by the previous two mayors[7] and had held it since 1977.[8]

Ivancie's tenure as mayor was scandal-free; however, his conservative politics and pro-business positions were frequently controversial in Portland, a city with strong progressive leanings. Ivancie opposed the development of the popular Pioneer Courthouse Square, on the grounds that the square would become a gathering place for transients. He oversaw the construction of the Portland Building and advocated construction of wells to back up the Bull Run Watershed—the city's primary source of drinking water.[3] Much of the construction of the first MAX Light Rail line occurred during his tenure.

Defeat in 1984[edit]

In 1983, a coalition of progressive activists in the city, disenchanted with Ivancie's politics, sought out a challenger to run against Ivancie in the 1984 mayoral election. This was a proposition that local political observers[who?] considered unlikely to succeed, given Ivancie's strong political connections with local business interests, The Oregonian, and organized labor. They found an unlikely candidate in J. E. "Bud" Clark, a local tavern owner and former beatnik. Clark announced his candidacy less than six months before the May 1984 election, but was widely dismissed as a "joke" candidate who had no chance to win the election.[citation needed] However, dissatisfaction among Portlanders was running high – the economy was in recession and crime was on the rise.

In March 1984—two months prior to the election—Clark trailed Ivancie by 35 points in one poll. However, the Clark campaign put together a large number of volunteers who canvassed the city. After an early May poll by The Oregonian showed the race tied, the Ivancie campaign replied with negative advertisements questioning Clark's religious beliefs (Clark has claimed to be a "born again pagan"). The ads offended Portland voters, who elected Clark to be the next mayor on May 15, by a margin of 13 points.[9][10]

Post-1984 political career[edit]

After the defeat, Ivancie briefly turned to national politics, heading up the Oregon branch of Democrats for Reagan; after Ronald Reagan's re-election, Ivancie was named to the Federal Maritime Commission. After this, he retired from politics and moved to California.[10] He stayed out of the Portland public eye until 2007, when then-mayor Tom Potter proposed an amendment to the Portland city charter to convert the city from a commission form of government to a strong-mayor system. Ivancie, along with Bud Clark, lent support to those opposing the charter amendment;[11] the proposal would go down to defeat.


  1. ^ a b c Radhuber, S. G. (August 17, 1975). "Frank Ivancie: Where does he stand?". The Sunday Oregonian. Northwest Magazine section, pp. 8–12. 
  2. ^ Jenning, Steve (April 25, 1978). "Ivancie stakes political future on counterbalance role". The Oregonian. p. B3. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Painter Jr., John (December 30, 1984). "The end of an era: Ivancie years in public eye marked by differences". The Sunday Oregonian. p. C2. 
  4. ^ City of Portland Auditor's Office: Election Results, 1960-1979
  5. ^ a b Young, Bob (March 9, 2005). "Highway to Hell". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on April 30, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ Williams, Linda (November 25, 1980). "Beaming Ivancie sworn in as Portland mayor". The Oregonian. p. 1. 
  7. ^ Griffin, Anna (April 4, 2014). "Charles Jordan remembered: Portland's first African-American commissioner and longtime parks director was 'a giant in this city'". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  8. ^ Maynard, Rosemary (February 10, 1977). "Jordan dealt police in City Hall job shuffle". The Oregonian. p. 1. 
  9. ^ John Schrag (March 9, 2005). "This Bud's for You". Willamette Week. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Don Hamilton (December 12, 2003). "1984-2004: Will history repeat itself?". Portland Tribune. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Ryan Frank (April 5, 2007). "Whoop, whoop: Clark finds an ally in Ivancie". The Oregonian. 
Preceded by
Connie McCready
Mayor of Portland, Oregon
Succeeded by
Bud Clark