‘Bold vision’ sought for 2019 Portland Marathon


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Seeking “a bolder vision – one that reflects a world class event that will showcase all that Portland has to offer,” the City of Portland re-opened the application process to produce the 2019 marathon.

Thousands of runners in the Portland Marathon (Undated, KOIN file)
Thousands of runners in the Portland Marathon (Undated, KOIN file)

The 2018 Marathon was in danger of being canceled after the former Portland Marathon group informed the city in April it would cancel its October race after previous race director Les Smith reached a settlement with the Oregon Department of Justice for illegally receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the organization. 

In stepped Run with Paula, owned by Paula and Dave Harkin. They put together the 2018 race, which came off very well as scheduled. 

Run with Paula also submitted documents to the city as part of the 2019 application. 

But city leaders wanted a broader based field of applicants. In a statement released last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “We have a rare opportunity to start over again and design a marathon that evolves and elevates this long-standing Portland tradition.” 

Andrew Hoan, president of the Portland Business Alliance, said getting the "right" race operator is "of critical importance to the Portland business community." 

He asked for event producers to submit their plans, but didn’t say what the city wants to change other than some restrictions. 

The president of the Portland Business Alliance, Andrew Hoan, said he supports the mayor’s plan. 

“This is trying to identify an operator who will be with us year in and year out, so getting the right operator in here is a critical importance to the business community,” Hoan said.

One hurdle the race has faced is a new city policy that limits how many off-duty police officers can be hired by race organizers. It’s a limitation that has led to course changes. 

Dave Harkin with the Portland Running Company, November 28, 2018 (KOIN)

Many involved in last year’s race worry the city is waiting too long to lock in a race organizer. 

“People who would sign up are for next year are signing up for other races,” Dave Harkin said. “Every day we wait someone in Chicago or other city is signing up for another marathon.” 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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