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Tom Potter

City of Portland, Oregon

Mayor Potter has served Portland, Oregon for 38 years - as its police chief, a community leader and civil rights activist.

In the summer of 1966, Tom was a new cop walking the beat in the Sellwood and Brooklyn neighborhoods. As a young patrolman, he was the first Portland officer to join a neighborhood association. As a lieutenant, he was nationally recognized for leading the best Crime Prevention program in the country. In 1986, Tom was promoted to captain in the North Precinct. Four years later, Tom was tapped by Mayor Bud Clark to become Portland's next Police Chief.

After leaving the bureau, Tom was asked by police organizations across the country to consult on community safety issues, affirmative action and community involvement. In 1997, Tom became the Interim Executive Director of the Oregon Public Safety Training and Standards, the state academy which trains every police officer, firefighter and dispatcher except the state police. A year later, Tom served as Executive Director of New Avenues for Youth, which helps homeless children get off the streets.

Throughout his career - from street cop to Community Policing advocate to working with homeless kids - Tom has always shown a compassion for people who need an extra push to succeed, and a willingness to include every part of the community in decisions.

In 2004, Tom was elected Mayor of Portland. Although his schedule often stretches from dawn until late in the evening, Tom never misses his weekly rounds as a volunteer driver for the Loaves and Fishes Meals on Wheels program delivering hot meals to housebound elderly people in southeast Portland.

Tom has four children and fourteen grandchildren.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: June 14, 2013