COALITION TO SAVE PORTLAND DENOUNCES MAYOR TED WHEELER’S ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM, CALLING THEM CYNICAL AND BASELESS

Portland, OR The Oregonian reported on Friday evening that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called for an inquisition into the report that City Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty may have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, and blamed systemic racism for the report. The Coalition to Save Portland vehemently denies any racial motivation behind the news story and condemns Wheeler and Hardesty for their cynical attempts to make this story about race.

Gabe Johnson, the co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland, blasted Wheeler’s remarks, saying, “It’s outrageous that he would bring race into this. We reported a legitimate news story that affected an elected official. We demand accountability, transparency, and responsibility from every elected offical—values Hardesty herself claims to espouse. For either Hardesty or Wheeler to call this racist indicates that they are trying to bully our organization into silence. As a Black man, I cannot in good conscience let this go.”

Angela Todd, also a co-founder of the coalition, said, “Why is it okay for government officials to use their positions of power against private citizens that are simply revealing the contents of a police report? As a councilor and the head of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, if Hardesty was involved in a criminal act in a motor vehicle this is of particular interest to voters.  Additionally, I believe it is a gross use of taxpayer dollars to launch a systemic racism investigation, instead of our city simply acknowledging and producing, without the current red tape delays, a copy of the police report that identified Councilor Hardesty as a suspect. We will not be intimidated into silence or inaction as our city faces so many entrenched problems with livability and crime. I suggest Mayor Wheeler and Councilor Hardesty put their attention in that direction immediately rather than attacking private citizens.”

The Coalition to Save Portland wishes to thank Maxine Bernstein, reporter for The Oregonian, for publishing a portion of the incident report that was also reviewed by the coalition prior to publication:

At least some integrity in local press still exists, even though the vast majority of the questions fielded by the coalition over the past 24 hours have been deeply antagonistic and served to advance the agenda of Jo Ann Hardesty.

As reported by The Oregonian on Friday, March 5:

“Wheeler said he’s working with Hardesty, Portland’s city attorney and police chief ‘to create a thorough, independent review of the facts and actions surrounding the incident.’

“He said he asked Police Chief Chuck Lovell ‘to expedite collection of all relevant information and to ensure that every record related to the incident is preserved pending the completion of an independent review.’

“’What happened to Commissioner Hardesty is wrong and unacceptable,’ Wheeler said in a statement Friday evening. ‘It’s a reflection of broader systemic racism and it must be addressed. We need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. No one should be subjected to false accusations publicly.’”

The Coalition to Save Portland denounces this race-baiting witch hunt in the strongest possible terms, and implores the leaders of Portland to show actual leadership, and get busy solving Portland’s real problems.

The Coalition to Save Portland is an organization of community leaders and regular citizens striving to restore livability, safety, and prosperity to the Rose City by raising awareness, promoting honest dialogue, and advocating for transparent and accountable government with the goal to reverse Portland’s downward slide towards violence, crime, corruption, property destruction, and lawlessness. To join our coalition and help us save our beautiful city, go to www.savepdx.org and get involved For media inquiries to the Coalition to Save Portland, please call 503.575.7586 or email [email protected]

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