December 11 2019
On Thursday, after finishing a speech at the Oregon Health Forum in which he was heckled, Wheeler mumbled, "I can't wait for the next 24 months to be over," indicating he may not seek re-election.
"If you know me, you know I mutter quite a bit," Wheeler said in a statement issued later in the day. "Not one of my most redeeming qualities. I will make a decision next year with my family if I am running for re-election."
In previous media interviews, Wheeler has complained about the job, calling it "no fun."
The comment came a day after the City Council rejected his proposal to expand his powers to regulate protests. At the same meeting, the first-term mayor criticized a half-dozen people who regularly attended the meetings and subjected Wheeler to taunts and jeers.
Last month, Wheeler faced harsh criticism from a union that represents personnel from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding his handling of a 38-day protest in the city last summer by a group calling itself Occupy ICE.
The National ICE Council sent letters to state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking them to look into whether Wheeler committed misconduct when he directed the city's police officers to not respond to certain calls for service during the protest in front of the local ICE field office, the Oregonian reported.
In July, the city drew negative attention after the Occupy ICE protesters were forced to vacate their camp because they left piles of trash and debris behind.
That same month, the leader of Portland's police union slammed Wheeler for his response to the city's homelessness crisis,
"Our city has become a cesspool," Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, wrote on Facebook. "Livability that once made Portland a unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets.
In August, Wheeler's handling of the Occupy ICE protests drew attention from President Trump.
"Last month, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, shamefully ordered local police to stand down, leaving federal law enforcement officers to face an angry mob of violent people," Trump said during a speech honoring Border Patrol officers.
After Trump's remarks, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., called for Wheeler to resign in a resolution that took aim at anti-ICE rhetoric by some Democrats.
Wheeler responded to Trump: "We want an administration that represents us," Wheeler wrote on Facebook. "We want a president that we can be proud of."
Portland hasn't had a mayor seek a second term since Vera Katz, whose third term ended in 2004, the Willamette Week reported.
The incident brings back memories of previous Portland mayors. Katz's successor, Tom Potter, once declared during a City Council "I'm irrelevant" and stormed off the dais.
Fox News' Amy Lieu contributed to this story.
Photo: Mayor Ted Wheeler