Oregon Cities

Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan announces run for new council seat

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Portland City Commissioners Rene Gonzalez and Dan Ryan make final preparations for a City Council public work session on July 18, 2023.

Portland City Commissioners Rene Gonzalez and Dan Ryan make final preparations for a City Council public work session on July 18, 2023.

Caden Perry / OPB

City Commissioner Dan Ryan wants to remain in City Hall in 2025. Ryan announced Thursday that he’s running for a spot on City Council representing the newly established District 2, which encompasses North and inner Northeast Portland.

Ryan said he’s running because he is optimistic about Portland’s future.

“We will continue restoring Portland with grit and determination; we can and will become the city we all know we can be,” said Ryan in a statement.

Ryan was first elected to Portland City Council in 2020 and won a re-election campaign in 2022. He previously worked as the CEO of All Hands Raised, a nonprofit focused on improving the education system for youth in Multnomah County.

As a city commissioner, Ryan helped create the Safe Rest Villages program, which operates several outdoor shelters intended to transition people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. He has also led a shift in how the city funds art programs and artists. Last year, Ryan announced an end to the city’s decades-long contract with the independent Regional Arts & Culture Council, which provides arts education programs and administers grant funding to local artists. Ryan, who had raised concerns with transparency within RACC, relocated that work to the new City Arts Office.

In his campaign announcement, Ryan also notes his record opposing the “defunding the police movement” and his strong relationship with neighborhoods.

Ryan is the only current City Council member running for a council position in November. His fellow commissioners — Mingus Mapps, Rene Gonzalez, and Carmen Rubio — are all running for mayor. Mayor Ted Wheeler is not seeking re-election.

If elected, Ryan will join a very different council.

Starting in January 2025, Portland will be split into four voting districts, each represented by three city council members — effectively tripling the size of the city council. Under this voter-approved change, city council members will no longer oversee city bureaus, instead focusing on legislative work. Ryan has raised concerns with this new model in the past, proposing last year that the entire plan be returned to the voters for a second consideration. That didn’t happen.

Now, Ryan appears committed to seeing the new system through its first chapter.

“As the only current council member seeking election to the newly constituted Portland City government, Commissioner Ryan pledges to bring his results-focused work ethic to the team,” reads a press release announcing Ryan’s campaign. “He aims to help new members acclimate to pressing issues and actively engage with neighborhoods to achieve city-wide results.”

Ryan joins a packed race. At least thirteen people have already signaled their intent to run for one of the three District 2 seats this year.

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