In Portland, the grownups take the car keys back

Ted Wheeler was re-elected mayor of Portland last night, and Mingus Mapps ousted Chloe Eudaly from the City Council. Neither race was close, but Wheeler did not get a majority. A write-in candidate, Teressa Raiford, drew votes away from Wheeler's opponent, Sarah Iannarone. Raiford got 13 percent of the votes.

The outcomes of these races represent a clear defeat for the far left. If Eudaly had held onto her council seat and Iannarone had defeated Wheeler, the City Council would have gone beyond progressive and rocketed way out there. Wheeler's and Mapps's victories move things toward the center, relatively speaking.

But now we enter uncharted territory. Mapps may be expected to be moderate, maybe even conservative, but in truth, he is largely an unknown commodity. Jo Ann Hardesty, the council's other Black member, can be expected to remain radical. But it's too early to tell what we will get from Dan Ryan, who started just a few months ago, and Carmen Rubio, who will come on board with Mapps in January.

To me the most interesting question is what Wheeler will be like in a second term. As all the pundits are pointing out, we haven't had a second-term mayor around here in a long time. In the past year, Wheeler has rarely taken a noteworthy stand on anything. On the touchy issue of police misconduct, he's walked a tightrope, so much so that he almost lost. Now that the election is over, he'll be unleashed. I can't believe he would ever want a third term as mayor, and even if he did, a re-election campaign would be four years away. And so Ted can just be Ted now.

One thing that the entire council owes the city's voters is police reform. The ballot measure replacing the police discipline system passed by a 4 to 1 margin. It may not survive a legal challenge by the police union, but the council darn well better get us a much more responsible police union contract when the current one expires this coming June.

Ryan and Hardesty are up for re-election in 2022.