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Oregon AFL-CIO president may run for mayor

Tom Chamberlain says he will decide on a campaign within weeks

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain is thinking of running for the Portland mayor's post.

'I am considering it. A number of people have talked to me about it. I haven't said no,' Chamberlain told the Portland Tribune on Tuesday.

Chamberlain declined to identify who had talked with him about the mayor's race, but said he would decide whether to enter the race in the next few weeks.

'I'm up for re-election [as Oregon AFL-CIO president] at the end of September, so I need to decide soon,' he said.

Chamberlain has been president of the Oregon AFL-CIO for six years. Before that, he served as president of the Portland Firefighters Association and as a senior policy adviser to former Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Chamberlain said if he runs creating jobs would be his top priority. He pointed to the Port of Portland's plan to development West Hayden Island as an example of his job-creation priorities. The project is opposed by a number of environmental groups.

'We are a port city and we owe it to ourselves, commerce and the state to develop West Hayden Island,' he said.

Chamberlain said he has the ability to bring people together and make decisions. Asked if the two current major candidates in the race - New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady and and former City Commissioner Charlie Hales - lacked that ability, Chamberlain said, 'I don't know. I know I have it.'

Chamberlain's interest comes after two public employee unions commissioned a poll showing Mayor Sam Adams tied with Brady and Hales in the low 20 percent range. Adams decided not to seek re-election after reviewing the poll.