Ted Wheeler

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Ted Wheeler
Ted Wheeler portrait.jpg
53rd Mayor of Portland, Oregon
Assumed office
January 1, 2017
Preceded byCharlie Hales
28th Treasurer of Oregon
In office
March 11, 2010 – January 1, 2017
GovernorTed Kulongoski
John Kitzhaber
Kate Brown
Preceded byBen Westlund
Succeeded byTobias Read
Chair of the Multnomah County Commission
In office
Preceded byDiane Linn
Succeeded byJeff Cogen
Personal details
Edward Tevis Wheeler

(1962-08-31) August 31, 1962 (age 57)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Katrina Maley
EducationStanford University (BA)
Columbia University (MBA)
Harvard University (MPP)
WebsiteGovernment website

Edward Tevis Wheeler (born August 31, 1962) is an American politician who has served as the mayor of Portland, Oregon, since 2017. He previously served as Oregon State Treasurer.

Wheeler was appointed Treasurer on March 9, 2010, to replace Ben Westlund, who died in office, and was subsequently elected to a full term in 2012. He is a member of the Democratic Party.[1]

In 2015 Wheeler ran for mayor of Portland and received more than 50% of the vote in the May 2016 primary, thereby winning the office. He was sworn in on December 30, 2016, for a term that began on January 1, 2017.[2][3]

During his first State of the City speech, Wheeler said he was focused on "helping to create a clear direction for the future of our community,"[4] and during an interview summing up his first six months in office, Wheeler said, "I see myself very much as a transitional mayor" because he has been primarily been dealing with population growth.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

A sixth-generation Oregonian, Wheeler was born in Portland to a family with roots in the Oregon timber industry. His father, Sam Wheeler, was executive vice president at Willamette Industries,[6] a Fortune 500 lumber company formed in 1967 by a merger of several smaller companies, including one established by the Wheeler family in 1912 in eponymous Wheeler, Oregon.[7] He attended Portland Public Schools, graduating from Lincoln High School.[8] He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Stanford University in 1985. He also earned an MBA from Columbia University and a master's in public policy from Harvard University.[9] Wheeler worked for several financial services companies, including the Bank of America and Copper Mountain Trust.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 2006 Wheeler defeated incumbent Multnomah County chair Diane Linn to become chair of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners,[10] taking office in January 2007.

Multnomah County Commissioner[edit]

Shortly after his election as chair of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, Wheeler worked with his colleagues to balance a county budget that had called for $22.3 million in cuts in 2009.[11] Wheeler also fought to preserve social safety net programs[12] and to eliminate hidden fees from state-issued debit cards.[13]

Following the loss of nearly $16 million in Oregon Common School Fund and Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund investments, Wheeler co-filed a class-action lawsuit with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to recover the money after firms misled investors.[14]

Building, preserving and updating public space and infrastructure was also a critical focus during Wheeler's time as County Commissioner. He led efforts to construct new libraries in Kenton[15] and Troutdale[16] and to construct the new East County Courthouse.[17] Wheeler also fought to fund repairs for the crumbling Sellwood Bridge.[18]

Under Wheeler Portland became Oregon's first municipality to Ban the Box, which reduces employment discrimination against residents with a criminal record.[19]

State treasurer[edit]

Wheeler in 2012
Wheeler at the 2010 Pendleton Round-Up parade

On March 7, 2010, incumbent Oregon State Treasurer Ben Westlund died of lung cancer. Two days later Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Wheeler to the office. Wheeler defeated fellow Democrat Rick Metsger in the Democratic primary election on May 18, 2010,[20] and defeated Republican Chris Telfer, Progressive Walt Brown and Michael Marsh of the Constitution Party in the November special election for the rest of Westlund's term, which ended in 2013.[21] He was elected to a second full term in 2012.

As treasurer, Wheeler practiced aggressive financial management, achieving more than $172 million in cash flow savings since 2013. He also promoted environmental stewardship, committing to double Oregon's investments in renewable energy resources by January 2020, and double them again by 2030, while also pledging not to pursue new investments in coal.[22] Wheeler also promoted the use of ESG (Environmental Social Governance) for all state investments to improve long-term performance, while urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to institute tougher reviews of carbon asset risk disclosures from 45 major corporations.[23]

Wheeler was also chair of the Oregon Retirement Savings Task Force, working to help Portland residents save for retirement,[24] and grew Oregon's pension fund to more than $72 billion, one of the country's five strongest state pension funds.[25]

Portland mayoral campaign[edit]

Ted Wheeler's campaign logo

Wheeler launched a run for mayor on October 14, 2015.[25][26] He campaigned on addressing income inequality and ensuring government accountability. During his announcement speech, Wheeler promised to build a government that worked "for every person."[27]

Taking care of those in need. Taking responsibility for protecting our environment. Taking action right now to close the gap between our wealthiest and poorest residents by providing economic opportunity for lower-income and middle-income families. Equal access to our government for every person. Understanding that every dollar we spend came from a taxpayer and we need show our respect for how hard that taxpayer worked to earn those dollars by spending them wisely. These are the authentic values of Portland. And these are my values.

— Ted Wheeler

In October 2015, former Portland mayors Vera Katz, Tom Potter, and Sam Adams endorsed Wheeler.[28][29] Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis also endorsed him, as did State Representatives Lew Frederick and Tobias Read, former State Senators Ron Cease, Jane Cease, and Avel Gordly, and 2012 mayoral candidate Eileen Brady.[30][31]

Wheeler was also endorsed by several groups including Basic Rights Oregon, the Portland Business Alliance, and the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council.[31]

On May 17 Wheeler garnered more than 50% of the vote in the primary election, winning the office outright.[32][33]

Ted Wheeler speaks to supporters at a campaign event

Mayoral tenure[edit]

Wheeler was sworn in on December 30, 2016, for a term that began on January 1, 2017.[3] One of his first actions was to make initial assignments of city departments (known as bureaus) to the five commissioners, of which the mayor is one. He assigned to himself the Portland Police Bureau, the Portland Development Commission, and the Portland Housing Bureau,[34] among others. He said he intended to reconsider the initial assignments during the annual budget process in April.[35]

In July 2018 The Oregonian reported that half of arrests in Portland were of people who were homeless. Wheeler, who oversaw the police department, said he saw this as a problem and that it would influence his budgeting decisions.[36] In September 2018, Portland residents who found Wheeler's response to the growth of homeless encampments inadequate petitioned his office and other local agencies to take stronger action.[37]

In 2018 Wheeler was overheard saying, "I cannot wait for the next 24 months to be up."[38] But he has also said he aspires to break the streak of one-term mayors and has not said whether he will run for reelection.

In October 2018, while also Police Commissioner, Wheeler was criticized for allowing Antifa groups to block traffic and harass drivers.[39] In June 2019 he came under fire again for his lack of action during another protest march in Portland involving Antifa, in which journalist Andy Ngo was injured by a group of protesters. The incident was caught on camera, causing US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell[40] to tweet: "Where is Mayor @tedwheeler? Where is the national media?! @MrAndyNgo" and "This is unacceptable. I am outraged. This violence from intolerants must stop. Portland leaders must be held to account."[41]

Political positions[edit]


Wheeler is pro-choice and advocates for access to reproductive healthcare. Ted and Katrina Wheeler were honorary chairs of Planned Parenthood's 50th Anniversary Gala.[42] Wheeler has donated to and raised funds for Planned Parenthood.[43]


As treasurer, Wheeler relaunched the Oregon College Savings Program, which reached a record $2.3 billion in January 2015. The 529 savings plan allows money saved for college to grow tax-free and gives the donor a deduction on their taxable income.[44] As mayor, Wheeler supported dissolving ACCESS Academy, an alternative program for gifted children not served by their neighborhood school due to disabilities or other challenges that prevented their learning.[45]

Environmental issues[edit]

Wheeler is a proponent of increasing Oregon's investments in renewable energy funds. He commissioned a study to determine whether Oregon can replace fossil fuel companies in its fixed income portfolio. Wheeler does not support new coal investments.[46] He supported the City of Portland's ban on expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.[47]

Freedom of speech[edit]

Wheeler has stated that "hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment."[48][49]

Gun control[edit]

Ted Wheeler with Jennifer Williamson at the Portland Orange Walk for victims of gun violence at Peninsula Park

Wheeler advocates for increased gun control, and supports requiring rigorous background checks for people attempting to buy guns.[50] On March 14, 2018, he released a letter in support of the student walkout against gun violence.[51] On April 20, Wheeler told hundreds of students outside Portland city hall that he would work on a ban of assault-style weapons in Portland.[52]

LGBT rights[edit]

Ted Wheeler & family at PRISM Pride Parade

Wheeler and his wife Katrina are involved with Basic Rights Oregon. Wheeler won the group's Fighting Spirit Award in 2008 following his executive order in 2007 enacting full healthcare benefits for transgender workers, and has been endorsed by the organization.[53] He supports same-sex marriage and signed and supported the 2013 Oregon United for Marriage initiative, which advocated the legalization of same-sex marriage in Oregon.[54]

Public safety[edit]

Wheeler supports abolition of a provision in the Portland Police Association's contract that has been coined the "48-hour rule." The provision gives officers who have employed deadly force a 48-hour buffer before they have to answer questions.[55]

Personal life[edit]

Ted Wheeler at Arch Cape's Polar Plunge on New Year's Day

Wheeler lives in Southwest Portland with his wife and daughter. An Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman,[56] he summited Mount Everest in 2002.[57] Wheeler started his first day in office by commuting to City Hall via bicycle.[58]

Electoral history[edit]

Oregon Treasurer Special Democratic Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ted Wheeler (inc.) 216,214 64.91
Democratic Rick Metsger 114,597 34.40
Democratic Write-ins 2,273 0.68
Oregon Treasurer Special Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ted Wheeler (inc.) 721,795 52.94
Republican Chris Telfer 571,105 41.89
Progressive Walter "Walt" Brown 38,316 2.81
Constitution Michael Marsh 30,489 2.24
Write-ins Write-ins 1,738 0.13
Oregon Treasurer Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ted Wheeler (inc.) 955,213 57.84
Republican Tom Cox 609,989 36.93
Progressive Cameron Whitten 38,762 2.35
Libertarian John Mahler 30,002 1.82
Constitution Michael Paul Marsh 15,415 0.93
Write-ins Write-ins 2,181 0.13
Portland, Oregon Mayoral Primary Election, 2016[59]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Ted Wheeler 105,562 54.67
Nonpartisan Jules Bailey 31,955 16.55
Nonpartisan Sarah Iannarone 22,831 11.82
Nonpartisan Bruce Broussard 7,465 3.69
Nonpartisan Sean Davis 5,217 2.70
Nonpartisan David Schor 5,083 2.63
Nonpartisan Jessie Sponberg 3,235 1.68
Nonpartisan Bim Ditson 2,467 1.28
Nonpartisan Patty Burkett 2,346 1.22
Nonpartisan David Ackerman 2,255 1.17
Nonpartisan Deborah Harris 1,636 0.85
Nonpartisan Lew Humble 748 0.39
Nonpartisan Trevor Manning 480 0.25
Nonpartisan Steven J. Entwisle Sr. 405 0.21
Nonpartisan Eric Calhoun 358 0.19
Nonpartisan Write-ins 1,040 0.54

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mapes, Jeff (March 9, 2010). "Governor Ted Kulongoski names Ted Wheeler as next Oregon treasurer". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Wheeler sworn in as mayor during private event, will hold public inauguration next week". KATU. December 30, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  3. ^ a b "Wheeler takes oath of office in private". Portland Tribune. December 30, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. ^ TEGNA. "Full speech: Mayor Wheeler's State of the City Address". KGW. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  5. ^ Skanner, The. "Mayor Ted Wheeler at Six Months". The Skanner News. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  6. ^ "The life of Sam Wheeler". Oregon Live. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "The Wheeler Inheritance: Riches and Recovery". Oregon Live. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "About Ted". TedWheeler.com. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "Ted Wheeler". VoteSmart.org. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  10. ^ Wilson, Kimberly A.C. (May 18, 2006). "Day after rout, new Multnomah County chairman back on trail". The Oregonian. p. D1.
  11. ^ "Wheeler files for re-election".
  12. ^ "Ted Wheeler Wants to Talk Urban Renewal Programs".
  13. ^ "Controversial Fees for Unemployment Benefit Cards to End".
  14. ^ "Oregon seeks to lead securities lawsuit against Bank of New York Mellon and recover $15.7 million in losses triggered by foreign currency trading scandal". Office of the Attorney General. February 14, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "Public meeting scheduled on May 29 for siting of new Kenton Library".
  16. ^ Hannah-Jones, Nikole (3 April 2009). "County picks Cherry Park Market for new Troutdale library". oregonlive.com.
  17. ^ "East County Courthouse celebrates grand opening on April 10". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22.
  18. ^ "Wheeler Asks Portland to Help Pay for Sellwood Bridge". The Oregonian.
  19. ^ "10 questions: Ted Wheeler vs. Jules Bailey on lower-income residents". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  20. ^ "Kitzhaber, Dudley win primaries". Portland Business Journal. May 18, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  21. ^ "Oregon Secretary of State: November 2010 Voters' Pamphlet".
  22. ^ "Treasurer Wheeler Announces Steps to Increase Oregon's Investments in Renewable Energy".
  23. ^ "Oregon Treasurer asks energy companies: How prepared are you for climate change". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22.
  24. ^ "Oregon House approves state retirement savings plan". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  25. ^ a b "Record of Making Progress".
  26. ^ "Priorities for Portland - Ted Wheeler for Portland Mayor". Ted Wheeler for Portland Mayor. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  27. ^ "Ted Wheeler: I'm Running for Mayor in May".
  28. ^ Redden, Jim (October 14, 2015). "Katz, Potter and Adams endorse Wheeler for Portland mayor". Portland Tribune. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  29. ^ "Ted Wheeler Lands Endorsements".
  30. ^ Schmidt, Brad (September 9, 2015). "Ted Wheeler's campaign kickoff pitches progressiveness". The Oregonian (Oregonlive.com). Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, Oregon. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Endorsements – Ted Wheeler for Portland Mayor". Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  32. ^ TEGNA. "Ted Wheeler elected next mayor of Portland". KGW. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  33. ^ Staff, KOIN 6 News (2016-05-17). "Bailey concedes, Ted Wheeler to become Portland mayor". KOIN 6. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  34. ^ Templeton, Amelia (January 3, 2017s). "Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Dishes Out Bureau Assignment". OPB. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  35. ^ Floum, Jessica (January 3, 2017s). "Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Dishes Out Bureau Assignment". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  36. ^ Woolington, Rebecca (14 July 2018). "Half the arrests in Portland last year were of homeless people. Mayor Ted Wheeler says that's a problem". oregonlive.com.
  37. ^ "Portland petition pushes city to do more to tackle homeless camps". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  38. ^ housing, About Rachel Monahan Rachel Monahan joined Willamette Week in 2016 She covers; Hall, City. "Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Mutters That He Can't Wait for His Term to Be Over". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  39. ^ "Portland Mayor Comes Under Fire After Allowing Protesters to Control the Streets". Law Enforcement Today. 2018-10-14. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  40. ^ "Richard Grenell", Wikipedia, 2019-06-28, retrieved 2019-06-30
  41. ^ Grenell, Richard (29 June 2019). "This is unacceptable. I am outraged. This violence from intolerants must stop. Portland leaders must be held". Twitter.
  42. ^ "Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette Golden Gala". www.byronbeck.com. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  43. ^ "FY 2012-2013 Annual Report". Issuu. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  44. ^ "Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler: State's college savings plan is popular and growing". The Register-Guard. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  45. ^ Manning, Rob. "Mayor Ted Wheeler Urges Portland Schools To Let Charter School Stay Put". www.opb.org.
  46. ^ "Oregon Treasurer Wheeler Announces Steps to Increase Oregon's Investments in Renewable Energy - Cascade Business News". Cascade Business News. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  47. ^ "Historic Resolution: City of Portland Bans New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure — Audubon Society of Portland". audubonportland.org. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  48. ^ Phillips, Kristine (30 May 2017). "'Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment,' Portland mayor says. He's wrong". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  49. ^ Volokh, Eugene (29 May 2017). "Portland mayor urges federal government to revoke permit for 'alt-right' demonstration, on the theory that 'hate speech is not protected'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  50. ^ Wheeler, Ted (December 13, 2015). "Ted Wheeler Issues Statement on Gun Violence". Ted Wheeler for Mayor. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  51. ^ A Letter from Mayor Ted Wheeler to the Students of Portland, website for Portland government, accessed 15 March 2018
  52. ^ [1], accessed 24 April 2018
  53. ^ "EqualityPAC 2016 - Basic Rights Oregon". Basic Rights Oregon. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  54. ^ "Oregon United for Marriage kicks off initiative campaign". Proud Queer (PQ Monthly – Daily Online). Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  55. ^ "Portland Mayoral Candidates Differ on 48-Hour Rule for Cops". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  56. ^ "About Ted". Multnomah County, Oregon. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  57. ^ Fought, Tim (2010-03-09). "Ted Wheeler jumps to State Treasurer slot". Associated Press. KATU. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  58. ^ Maus, Jonathan (3 Jan 2017). "Portland's new mayor biked to work in freezing temps for his first day on the job". Portland: Pedaltown Media. Retrieved 4 January 2017. [Wheeler] rode his bike to work for his first day on the job
  59. ^ "May 17, 2016 Primary Election Results - Multnomah County, Oregon: All Precincts, Multnomah, All Contests (Update 12)" (PDF). Multnomah County Elections Division. June 3, 2016. pp. 13–14. Retrieved November 19, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ben Westlund
Treasurer of Oregon
Succeeded by
Tobias Read
Preceded by
Charlie Hales
Mayor of Portland