Portland Mayor Kate Snyder gets a round of applause from councilors and city staff after concluding her inaugural address to a standing room only crowd Monday in City Council chambers. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — The mayor’s office officially changed hands this week as outgoing one-term mayor Ethan Strimling passed the duties, and the council gavel, to Kate Snyder.

Outgoing mayor Ethan Strimling delivers final remarks Monday before turning the mayoral reins over to Kate Snyder. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Snyder, former chairman of the Portland Board of Education, was elected mayor last month from a field our four candidates that included the incumbent mayor.

In his final address as mayor to the council, Strimling said the four years he held the office were “the hardest and the most gratifying.”

“The hardest because we were fighting so hard for important gains to protect those we could not afford to lose and the most gratifying because what we achieved will affect generations,” he said.

The gains, he said, include a bond for reconstruction of four elementary schools and the largest investment in schools the city has seen in decades. They include a property tax relief program for low income seniors, a citywide restriction on pesticides, hundreds of affordable housing units in the process of being built, offsetting energy use at City Hall with solar power, a more robust fund for asylum seekers, no capacity for the new homeless shelter and holding businesses more accountable to pay better wages.

“These, among many others, will be our legacy,” Strimling said. “(It is) the legacy of all of you in this great city who put pressure on us to find the best answer and the legacy for us in this chamber who found a way to get to yes. We could only achieve those results with all of us ultimately standing together.”

“Our legacy is not over with a change of who will lead this city for the next four years. I cannot stress enough how important it is to help our new mayor, Kate Snyder, to succeed,” Strimling said.

Strimling said he doesn’t yet know what he’ll do next, but “I know I will always stay committed to the work of those on the margins in our community, those in the middle struggling not to fall backwards and those who are successful and want to use their success to help other rise up.”

In her inaugural address Monday, Snyder thanked Strimling for his tenure as mayor.

“Mayor Strimling led with conviction and passion and helped advance progress in a number of important realms,” Snyder said. She pointed out his leadership last summer when hundreds of asylum seekers came to the city, saying he helped to make sure the city’s response was “welcoming, inclusive and compassionate.”

At-Large City Councilor Pious Ali, who was sworn in for his second term along with new District 3 Councilor Tae Chong, also thanked Strimling for his service.

At-large Councilor Pious Ali and District 3 Councilor Tae Chong take the oath of office Monday. Ali is embarking on another term of the council, while Chong is starting his first term.

“Thank you for working to make sure Portland is welcoming to those who decide to move here and thank you for making sure the marginalized members of our community are heard,” he told Strimling. “From the number of years I have known you, I know you won’t go away quietly and I am looking forward to seeing what you do next. I hope whatever it is, you stay true to who you are.”

Snyder said she is eager to get to work with the council and city staff to address some of the concerns she heard from voters, including housing affordability, rising taxes, traffic congestion, the need for better public transit and the city’s response to homeless and vulnerable populations.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Snyder will convene the City Council for its annual goal-setting workshop to set priorities for city staff and guide the work of the council’s standing committees.

“I know this is a council that cares about citizen input and the community’s priorities. There is an appetite for healthy and fair debate and decision making in Portland through a process that respects all voices and range of opinions,” she said. “We won’t always agree, but listening to the whole debate with an open mind for learning and understanding, will, I believe, allow for responsible and durable outcomes. Please join me in looking optimistically ahead.”

Ethan Strimling looks on as Kate Snyder is sworn is as mayor Monday in Portland. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

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