Dan Ryan wins seat on Portland City Council

Dan Ryan wins seat on Portland City Council

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan earned a seat on Portland City Council by nabbing 51% of ballots cast in the race against Loretta Smith for position 2. Ryan has a lead of about 4,500 votes with just 3,474 uncounted ballots remaining. Ryan will fill Nick Fish’s seat when he moves into City Hall next month.

Ryan is a former Portland Public School board member, graduate of Roosevelt High School in St. Johns, member of many local advisory boards, and former executive director of education nonprofit All Hands Raised.

Before typing anything else, I want to say I dropped the ball on this race. I’m sorry. I regret not getting both candidates on record about cycling and transportation-related issues. In years past we could rely on those issues being part of the campaign dialogue and news cycle. But as transportation has fallen off the list of high-priority topics now dominated by police reform, homelessness, affordable housing, and other important issues; it’s our responsibility to raise the issue.

Now we have a new council member who’s gone largely unvetted when it comes to transportation policy. Ryan (like most candidates these days, unfortunately) doesn’t mention transportation on a list of “strategic priorities” on his website. At the transportation candidate forum held back in March, Ryan’s comments lacked substance and didn’t make it into our lengthy coverage. The only notable stance he’s taken publicly is to oppose ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project, which he said is “Not OK” because it would lead to, “Spewing emissions on middle school kids,” and “Impinging on the Esplanade.”

The other tidbit of bicycling policy we’ve heard from Ryan is from a debate hosted by the Portland Parks Foundation on July 16th. Ryan was asked if he supports mountain biking in Forest Park and if not, where he thinks mountain bike riders should go. Here’s his response:

“It’s very situational. I’ve had experiences in Forest Park where I certainly did not enjoy a mountain bike zooming by me. So I always wondered where’s that section of Forest Park that could be utilized for that. I actually prefer Forest Park to be for hiking and maybe for running as long as they stay behind you and come in on your left. I find Forest Park to be a wonderful refuge for tranquility. We’re so fortunate to have that access in a city, in an urban dwelling. I think we need a separate place for riding bikes in the park… Maybe it should be where we repurpose one of those golf courses.”

That’s a very disappointing response that shows a lack of perspective and understanding about this issue. We look forward to talking more with Ryan about this and other issues in the weeks and months to come.


For now, here’s more of Ryan’s bio from the “About” page of his campaign website:

“Dan was an elected member of the Portland Public School Board from 2005 to 2008. This passion for education continued when Dan Ryan served as the CEO of All Hands Raised (formerly Portland Schools Foundation) from 2008 to 2019. As the backbone of the organization for the All Hands Raised Partnership, Dan lead the organization in synchronizing Multnomah County’s collective actions and guiding them toward measurable, meaningful results and rallying the community together to

Dan was the Portland Light of Fire Executive Director of the Year in 2018. Dan received recognition as one of Portland Monthly Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Portlanders, and is an alumnus of the American Leadership Forum in Oregon (ALF Class of XXVIII). Dan serves on the leadership advisory boards of Wells Fargo, the Portland Trail Blazers, and Trillium Family Services and the University of Oregon Alumni Association. Prior to All Hands Raised, Dan worked in the private, public and non-profit sector including positions at the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland State University, Metropolitan Group, Virginia Mason Foundation, and New School University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon and did graduate-level work at New School University’s Graduate School of Management & Urban Professional.”

Because this was a special election, Ryan’s term will last until December 31st, 2022.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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