Although Charlie Hales will not formally resign from the Portland City Council until May 31, candidates already are lining up to replace him.

They include: Sam Adams, chief of staff to Mayor Vera Katz; Josh Alpert, an assistant to Hales; Randy Leonard, a state representative and Portland firefighter; and Multnomah County Commissioner Serena Cruz.

Former Church of Elvis owner Stephanie Pearce also has stopped by the Portland elections office to ask about the race.

The first vote to replace Hales will be a Sept. 17 election that will cost the city an estimated $200,000.

If history is any indication, however, the race will go to a runoff election. The last three contests to fill a council vacancy attracted so many candidates that no one received more than 50 percent of the vote in the first election, requiring the two top candidates to face off one more time. Those races were:

1981 Ð Frank Ivancie vacated his City Council seat after being elected mayor. Eighteen candidates, including conservative activist Bill Sizemore, filed to replace him. Neighborhood activist Margaret Strachan defeated Democratic state Rep. Earl Blumenauer in the run-off. Blumenauer later was elected to the council.

1984 Ð City Commissioner Charles Jordan resigned from the council to head the parks department in Austin, Texas. Nineteen candidates, including Sizemore and Multnomah County Commission Chairwoman Gladys McCoy, filed to replace him. KATU-TV news reporter Dick Bogle beat businessman Herb Cawthorne in the runoff.

1996 Ð Earl Blumenauer left the council after being elected to Congress. Sixteen candidates filed for the seat. Hales beat attorney Chuck Duffy in the runoff.

Ñ Jim Redden