John Coyne announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to the District 5 seat on the City Council, which represents the North Deering, Deering Center and Riverton neighborhoods.

Coyne, a registered Democrat who is finishing his second term on the council, said he is stepping aside so he can spend more time with his family and concentrate on his career as a juvenile corrections officer for the state Department of Corrections.

“(Serving on the council) takes so much time out of your personal life and I’ve been able to balance it this long, but it takes its toll,” said Coyne, who is married with two children, including a recent high school graduate.

Coyne’s announcement comes a day after longtime District 4 Councilor Cheryl Leeman announced that she would not seek re-election, ending a 33-year run in elective office. While city elections are nonpartisan, Leeman was the council’s only registered Republican.

The decisions by Leeman and Coyne set the stage for an intense campaign season in Portland. Leeman said it’s the first time in her 30 years on the council that she can remember two open seats in one election.

The decisions to step down could open the door to a political shift on the council.


Like Leeman, Coyne has been a conservative voice on a council better known for its liberal or progressive tilt. Coyne stuck up for businesses and opposed the recently approved 5-cent fee on paper and plastic bags, as well as the referendum that legalized marijuana.

Coyne said he doesn’t think his and Leeman’s announcements signal deeper problems within the council.

“There have been some things that have come out I don’t agree with policy-wise, but I don’t have any ill will with anybody,” he said

Coyne said one of his final actions on the council will be to ask City Manager Mark Rees to create a reuse committee for the former Reed School, which is on Homestead Avenue in the Riverton neighborhood and previously accommodated the school district’s central kitchen.

Coyne, who served one term on the school board, including two years as chairman, wants to make sure the community has a voice in deciding the school’s future.

“I don’t want 45 (housing) units in a backyard,” Coyne said. “The neighborhoods have been great when it was a kitchen and worked with the city and they deserve to be a huge part of the next use.”

Coyne has not ruled out a future run for elective office.

Coyne and Leeman are the only two members of the council with terms ending this year.

David Brenerman, a former Democratic three-term state legislator who also served on the council from 1982-85, including a stint as mayor, said he intends to run for the District 5 seat. Other potential candidates likely will surface once nomination papers become available June 30.

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