The Sam Adams aide who last year accused the former mayor of sexual harassment and a wide variety of unprofessional conduct will speak publicly about those accusations this week.
Cevero Gonzalez has signed up for one of the "communications" slots at the outset of Wednesday's morning Portland City Council meeting. The free-form slots allow five citizens each week to bring whatever business they want to discuss before council. Gonzalez—who's worked for two mayors—wants to talk about the culture in the City of Portland.
"I just want an opportunity, since it's out there, to speak on this issue and have it enter into the public record," he told the Mercury today. "I want to talk about not so much what happened—that’s already out there—but really to challenge the city again to pursue an outside investigation, if not exclusive to this issue [then] to sexual harassment that happens citywide."
The missive, first reported by Willamette Week, laid out a series of troubling allegations against Adams, including accusations the mayor aggressively quizzed Gonzalez about his sex life and sexual preferences, forced Gonzalez to scout bathhouses and gay bars for Adams when he traveled, forced Gonzalez to act as his designated driver, and more. Adams has denied the allegations.
When Gonzalez sent the memo, Adams had been out of office for years. The former aide says he brought concerns to his superiors in the mayor's office, and was rebuffed.
In December, City Attorney Tracy Reeve told the Mercury the city wouldn't conduct an inquiry into Gonzalez's claims. She noted that Gonzalez had declined to come in and talk formally about the matter. He says he was dubious that the city would be proactive.
"History has shown that the city moves very slowly on issues that impact them directly, which is why I asked for an external party" to investigate, Gonzalez says. "An external party might be better suited in a more neutral fashion to investigate the policies that were in place.'
In his three minutes, Gonzalez says he will also share the experience of another city employee, at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, whom he witnessed being harassed. And he will take issue with the fact that his letter to city officials was shared with the media, absent a public records request.
"This private correspondence was leaked to the media, without my knowledge, circumventing the city's own public records request process," Gonzalez wrote when requesting a slot before the council. "I would like to address City Council to request an investigation of said leak."
Records show Gonzalez sent a request on December 5 to speak at a city council meeting. He'd hoped to get a slot as early as January 3.