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Mayor names Mike Marshman as Portland's new police chief

PORTAND POLICE BUREAU - New Portland Police Chief Mike MarshmanMayor Charlie Hales on Monday named Capt. Mike Marshman to be the new chief of the Portland Police Bureau following the retirement of embattled chief Larry O’Dea.

O’Dea’s departure had been considered inevitable by many following publication of a Harney County report indicating that O’Dea did not admit to accidentally shooting a friend while off-duty and on an April 21 camping trip. Instead he reportedly suggested the man’s wound was self-inflicted.

O’Dea is now under investigation by a variety of agencies looking at whether a crime occurred and whether he and other top police officials violated city policies.

In a press conference Monday at City Hall, Hales said media coverage of the O'Dea investigation has been unfair, adding “he has served Portland so well.” But Hales added that he agreed with O’Dea’s decision to step down, saying the bureau needed stability and “unquestioned leadership” in light of the “confusion and turmoil” surrounding the case.

Marshman, for his part, said the “paradigm” of policing in Portland needs to change, so officers become partners rather than authority figures.

Hales had little choice but to reach down in the ranks to promote Marshman. The Portland Tribune reported recently that O’Dea’s four assistant chiefs have been named as “involved members,” or suspects, in an administrative investigation by the city’s civilian police oversight arm, the Independent Police Review Division. That includes Donna Henderson, who had been named acting chief by Mayor Hayles on May 24. Officers have criticized the four for not launching an internal investigation until news of the shooting was broken by Willamette Week in May.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Portland Police Chief Larry o'dea announced his retirement.In light of the criticisms of the assistant chiefs, Marshman’s name had already been circulating as the logical choice to serve as interim. He has overeen the bureau’s obligations with the federal government over compliance with a 2014 settlement that gave the U.S. Department of Justice oversight of the bureau.

The Portland Police Association,which has been critical of O'Dea, put out a press release hailing his departure: "We are optimistic that Chief Marshman can breathe new life into our Police Bureau."

Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler, in his own statement, called Marshman a "quality choice." But Wheeler said a comprehensive national search is called for to fill the job permanently. "I am confident that Chief Marshman will be a top candidate for the position, should he have an interest in continuing as Police Chief."

Hales has characterized the past practice in changing chiefs as "off with their heads, out the door, who’s next." And indeed, the politically sensitive chief's post has become a revolving door over the years.

Shortly after being elected mayor, Neil Goldschmidt in 1974 appointed Bruce Baker as chief. Baker retired for health reasons in 1981.

Baker was replaced by Ron Still, who remained chief until 1985.

Then Mayor Bud Clark appointed Portland police Capt. Penny Harrington, only to dismiss her in 1986 after her husband, a police officer, was accused of compromising a drug investigation.

Clark appointed Jim Davis to replace Harrington, but fired him in April 1987 after squabbling about the bureau’s budget.

Davis’ replacement, Richard Walker, lasted until November 1980, when he left after being accused of slapping a female subordinate.

Clark appointed Capt. Tom Potter to replace Walker. Potter retired in June 1993.

Charles Moose served until August 1999, to be replaced by former Los Angeles police official Mark Kroeker, who resigned under pressure in August 2003.

Derrick Foxworth lasted until June 2006, when Potter, who had been elected mayor, removed him over an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

Potter appointed Commander Rosie Sizer, who was dismissed by Mayor Sam Adams after she publicly criticized Adams’ proposed budget.

Adams appointed Mike Reese to replace Sizer. Reese retired after more than four years, to be replaced by O'Dea .

Jim Redden contributed reporting for this article