MAYOR TED WHEELER just experienced a rite of passage: his first-ever complaint from a police union.
On Friday, the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association (PPCOA) publicly accused Wheeler and his chief spokesperson, Michael Cox, of divulging secret information to the public.
The PPCOA says Wheeler’s office broke city rules when it released an initial findings memo about Police Chief Mike Marshman penned by the city’s human resources director—a document that specifically describes the information as “confidential.”
The mayor released the memo along with his announcement that Marshman was being reinstated atop the police bureau. The chief was placed on leave in March, amid allegations he’d had his assistant, Lieutenant Mike Leasure, sign Marshman into a training session he never attended. Kanwit’s memo said that Leasure had initially claimed that was the case, but later recanted.
The problem, in the union’s mind, is that Leasure’s conduct is still under investigation. The union says details of potential employee discipline needed to remain confidential.
The release, then, displayed “a shocking disregard for the due process right of a city employee,” the PPCOA says. It asked Wheeler’s office to apologize. Wheeler refused.
“The Mayor’s office determined that the public interest required the release of this information to ensure transparency,” Cox said last week. DIRK VANDERHART
IN A STAUNCH reversal, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has decided to defend strong new campaign finance limits overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.
The reforms, put into place by last year’s Measure 26-184, are potentially at odds with a 1997 Oregon Supreme Court ruling that found limiting campaign contributions unconstitutional.
County commissioners, in a rare move, are petitioning the Oregon courts to validate the measure’s constitutionality before it goes into effect, stating in a press release that “contributions that create unfair or unequal access in politics and the skyrocketing cost of elections are having a corrosive effect on our democracy.”
But the county also originally stated it wouldn’t defend the reforms, arguing neutrality would allow the courts to clear up any claims of unconstitutionality.
Supporters of campaign finance limits were outraged, and let it be known. After public outcry, the county backpedaled and announced it would be defending the measure in court.
“The Board agrees with the voters: It is time to take action,” an updated press release says. CLAIRE HOLLEY
LLOYD DISTRICT businesses are dropping hints they’ll oppose the relocation of respected homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too into their neighborhood.
The Lloyd District Community Association (LDCA) told the Mercury last week it was caught off guard by the recent announcement from Mayor Ted Wheeler that R2DToo would move to a plot of city land just west of the Moda Center.
Not only were they not contacted, LDCA members say, they worry for campers’ safety.
“The distance to social services requires travel and the area’s confluence of transit routes (bus and rail) may pose unnecessary safety risks,” the group said in a statement. “There is also a safety concern with the site’s proximity to the busy Union Pacific main line, just down the bluff.”
Such “safety” concerns are nothing new for neighborhoods looking to block homeless camps, of course. It remains to be seen if the LDCA’s remarks will find any purchase among officials keen on getting R2DToo moved to its proposed home by June. DVH
PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL'S newest members came in under the wire Monday, just beating the city-imposed deadline for posting their official calendars from January through March.
While most council members post their calendars week by week, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler had been on more relaxed schedules.
Eudaly didn’t post a single calendar to the web until minutes before Monday’s 5 pm filing deadline—set by city rules dictating the records must be posted 15 days after the end of each calendar quarter. That’s perfectly legit under city code, but doesn’t offer the real-time glimpses into Eudaly’s schedule that’s been status quo for many offices.
Wheeler, meanwhile, had been posting his calendar regularly, but stopped in early March. According to spokesperson Michael Cox, that’s because the staffer managing the calendar has been on leave since March 10. Wheeler’s office, too, posted the required information by deadline. Most delightfully, it reveals that Wheeler accepted an award for Person of the Year from Dope magazine.
Not everyone complied. The directors of seven city bureaus didn’t meet the deadline for sharing their full calendars through March. DVH
THE RECENT STREAK of Portland property developers offering up in-progress buildings as homeless shelters continues.
Two developers—Beam Development and Urban Development Partners—have given officials permission to establish a 100-person temporary shelter at the Shleifer Furniture Company building, near Southeast Grand and Stark.
The new shelter doesn’t represent additional beds. It replaces a shelter at Southwest 4th and Washington that closed last week. That building was also supplied on a temporary basis by local developers.
Beam and Urban Development Partners plan to turn the Shleifer building into a hotel, and will allow its use as a shelter until fall, according to a release from the county.
Beam’s leadership has stifled efforts to ease homelessness in the past. Principal Brad Malsin last year played a role in stopping R2DToo from moving to the Central Eastside. DVH