2018 Portland Marathon canceled, organization dissolved after 47 years

Colleen Little, 29, of Lake Oswego, Ore., wins the women division of the annual Portland Marathon, which wound its way through the Rose City, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Portland, Ore. Little, who played college soccer at the University of Portland when the team won two national championships, said she dedicated the race to her UP soccer coach, Clive Charles, who died of cancer in 2003. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen) - AP

A decades-old tradition of the Portland Marathon appears to have come to an end.

In an open letter to the Oregonian Friday, board members of the Portland Marathon announced they're canceling this year's race and dissolving their organization after 47 years of operations.

They say they'll reimburse all 2,500 participants of the 2018 race fully through Active.com.

The embattled organization was investigated by the Oregon Justice Department, and Lester Smith, a former board member and race director, was fined $865,000 by the DOJ. The state found Smith was operating the marathon without meaningful oversight, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the marathon.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's spokesman Michael Cox sent the following statement Friday:

"Earlier this year, the City established a plan to issue an RFI to find a race operator for a world-class marathon for the year 2019 and beyond. The board of the Portland Marathon, having gone through various operational and legal challenges over the past few years, felt that the RFI would undermine their ability to produce a race in 2018. The City expressed that we wanted to continue to work with them on the 2018 race, but that we understand their decision. While we move forward with our plan for 2019 and beyond, we will also analyze the potential options, if any, for a 2018 race."

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