Earlier this week a Portland development company sent a rather blunt letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler and the city council warning that businesses were planning to leave the city because of the nightly riots. “If you know a retail or office broker, give them a call and ask them how many clients they have are trying to leave,” he wrote.
Mayor Wheeler apparently got the message and last night he made a speech in which he came about as close as he has come yet to denouncing Antifa/BLM/the nightly riots in his city. After a bit of throat clearing he said, “We also have to be honest with ourselves even as those around us, the president in particular, traffic in dishonesty and an attempt to stoke fear. The honesty is the acknowledgement that we as a city are helping to feed and fire the hysteria.
“We, and I put myself at the top of that list as the city’s mayor, we have allowed our proud tradition of progressive protest to be stolen by a few dozen individuals engaged in violence and criminal destruction. They’re intent on creating mayhem and attacking and harming people, not just property.”
“Enough is enough,” the mayors said. “It’s time to rise up and to take immediate steps to repair and beautify our city.”
A moment later, Wheeler made reference to the attack on Adam Haner: “Rising up to decry structural racism is a noble cause; pulling people from their vehicles and beating them in the street is a horrific, violent crime.” He then suggested he wanted protesters and police to “virtually lock arms” to end the violence.
Good luck with that one, Ted.
After announcing all of this last night, Wheeler met today with business leaders to discuss their issues and his plans to improve things. One of the people he met with was Andrew Hoan, head of Portland’s equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce:
“It is absolutely catastrophic how many individuals are now on our streets,” Hoan said.
But the problem downtown is far greater than just challenges with the homeless. Three months of sometimes violent protests have left many business owners reeling. Some have seen their shops looted or robbed, and customers are afraid to go downtown.
“There’s no consequence for the crimes that are being committed here and that’s not OK,” said Stacey Gibson, owner of a Subway franchise in downtown Portland…
“Honestly, for me, it’s just a bunch of words. He’s been saying a lot of different things and to me actions are the only thing that matters. I am so frustrated with the way the city is handling everything. We’ve got three months of rioting going on here, its absolutely ridiculous,” said Gibson.
They don’t sound convinced and bet that, behind the scenes, the police aren’t convinced either. They’ve seen him in action for too long at this point to really believe he’s serious. The first moment there’s a video that puts the police in a bad light, the mayor will revert to form.
The cynical part of me sees this as just one more attempt by progressives to take an issue away from the president that they are suddenly worried is gaining traction. I really don’t think Ted Wheeler cares about the violence as much as he cares about the president capitalizing on the violence to win the election. That’s why it has taken him three months to get to this point. Only on the eve of the final night of the RNC with the election weeks away is he finally talking tough (for him).
Here’s KGW 8’s report on the sad state of downtown Portland. Below that is Mayor Wheeler’s speech last night.