I’m watching the second day of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin and I want to throw up. Chauvin is the 44-year-old former Minneapolis police officer who is on trial for the murder George Floyd on May 25th of last year. I want to throw up because of the excruciating video of Chauvin torturing Floyd to death. I want to throw up because of the young people who witnessed the police officer kill a man in broad daylight. I want to throw up watching Chauvin’s attorney trying to discredit the witnesses as “angry blacks.” And I want to throw up because there are already countless white people on social media trying to blame the murder of George Floyd on George Floyd.
Police kill roughly a thousand people a year, and, on average, about 44 police officers are convicted of anything in those killings, usually on a charge…
Hello friends and family! It’s important to remember most financing for new home development is provided by investors and funds not associated with banks. Most banks avoid new home construction unless there are special and particular circumstances that will limit risk to nearly an absolute minimum. This is why you only see banks getting involved with affordable housing if there is government investment involved. Over the last two years, the Portland market has lost at least 50% of its housing development resources. This comes to at least 500 Million dollars! What this means is that resources that are doing business in Portland are charging more for interests and fees to borrow the funds that are available to get it started.
Those investors are also pickier when it comes to developments they will finance. Housing policy in Portland has made financing housing developments more expensive and thus far riskier. This is good for property owners because it adds upward pressure to existing real estate values. When the viral Covid-19 pandemic is mostly over we are going to see upward pressure on rent values and market values that will rival what we saw in 2016, which surely will not be good for most renters.
It is important that friends and family work together during this down cycle to prepare for the future and save for and arrange buying a home now. Today’s prices will seem cheap in the year 2023 if interest rates stay below 5% and they most likely will. All measures of rent stabilization the leaders we have voted for have instituted generally benefit property owners in the long run but put renters …especially renters with families in a perilous position of uncertainty.
Portland needs more housing actually developed and built, but current policies have effectively put a cap on how much housing can be developed. This is wrong! When you add on the issues the pandemic adds to our situation when it comes to labor, and housing for at risk populations’ becomes even more tenuous. Due to what is going on right now, it simply takes longer to build housing than it did before the pandemic and the longer it takes to complete a project the more the costs go up for the end-user and the more renters and their families will suffer and struggle, with issues like contending with crowded shared housing and even perhaps losing their housing.
Because of Federal Regulatory laws it is risky and complicated for institutional Banks to invest in housing development and the process is slow and burdensome. Developers have to be mindful of all aspects of potential risk because for the most part, the federal government wants banks to take very little if any risks at all. The cheapest (lowest interest rates and fees) in the United States occur with institutional banks.
The leaders we vote into office might want to talk with banks and real estate developers regarding how to address this issue. The state of Oregon through the cities and counties might have to take on some of the risks involved with developing housing, which we can all agree Portland needs more of. This would include perhaps up to 5% to 20% of the costs of developing or lower up. The good news is Portland no longer has single-family zoning and that gives the market a lot more space to make decisions that could benefit the entire market and address critical needs when it comes to building housing in Portland and the Oregon market in general. With some needed changes to the restrictions of the market, Portland can develop more housing and address this desperate need for lifetime Portland residents and the newcomers who move here every year.
With the right attention to this issue, additional housing in Portland can become more than just talk and can become a reality for Portlanders. They and all Portland residents deserve this much! Perhaps with more focus on these issues Portland can claim its famous “livability” once again.
*This article embraces the genre of Gonzo Journalism, wherein the writer becomes, even in a peripheral or insignificant manner, a participant in the story or commentary presented.
Author’s Note: This is a story that cannot be told in fifteen hundred words. As a writer and essayist for over 35 years, I tend to write long because I don’t believe it is safe or ethical to leave pertinent facts, perspective or testimony unshared. This article is a particularly important reading journey detailing destructive dynamics of racism occurring regularly in Portland politics, by particular players and spanning several years. It is based on personal interviews, video and audio tape, email exchanges, including published newspaper articles and text messages.
Furthermore, this article is not an attempt to speak for Black Portlanders but rather to offer my reflection as a white person observing other white individuals engage in blatant and destructive racist behavior in media and politics. I would never attempt, nor would I be able to apprehend the lived experience of people of color. That is not my purpose with this article, but rather to present a series of scenarios that illustrate the casual and relaxed racism that exists within the Portland media and political arena, and the real people of color who are hurt by it. I hope this article resonates with you, The Reader, as the unvarnished truth, and an exploration of what occurs when racist journalists demonstrate unbridled power, promote yellow journalism and attempt to smear the reputations of good people.
Introduction: Following the recent series of peaceful protests and violent destructive riots in Portland, as a result of the horrific murder of unarmed black man, George Floyd of Minnesota, certain dynamics regarding Portland culture again rear their ugly heads, and are impossible to ignore. The most significant are…
One: Portland has been called the “Whitest city” in the US due to its glaring lack of diversity.
Two: Print & broadcast media in Portland are dominated by white journalists & administrators.
Three: The Portland Police Bureau is manned primarily by white males in the rank and file and in its administration.
What does all this mean for Portland’s smallBlack Populationof only 5.8 percent? Well, it means many things, but what cannot be underestimated is the way the white majority impacts and determines who is heard or not heard by those in the white media’s vertical power structure.
As the whitest cityin the nation, Portland’s most obvious disadvantage is its continuing lack of substantive racial diversity. As gentrification marches on unabated, and a lack of affordable housing continues, the income gap between the rich and poor becomes even wider, revealing the obvious truth that only those who can afford to live in Portland are able to stay in Portland. People of color, often lifetime residents with rich family histories are consistently pushed farther east or farther west outside of the city, and even out of state.
The result of this decade’s long process of gentrification and income induced Diaspora is that growing numbers of people of color continue to disappear from the landscape. Portland is becoming whiter and whiter, and its lower income and middle class demographic, populated by people of color, continues to disappear because of this glaring lack of racial and economic diversity.
A Disappearing Community
The city of Portland feels this housing crisis in other ways, with the ongoing departure of the artists, musicians, poets and writers who made Portland so beloved for being that “weird” city of innovators and true originals natives and visitors always loved. Sadly, the creative individuals who put Portland on the map, (as a city that leads in the Arts) can no longer afford to live here because of the lack of affordable housing, which is only one of many issues that is also impacted by race. Many of these artists and musicians are people of color.
Recently, in a conversation with a good friend of mine, Fred Stewart, who is a lifelong Portlander and successful real estate broker, I was again reminded how small the black community is in Portland and how frustrating it must be to be a black person in this town. Fred’s primary beef with the Portland power structure is the whiteness of our Media and the City Council politicians—though this year Portland voted in accomplished activist and politician, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, where she works hard to create policy aimed at greater social equity for Portlanders and those in the under-served black communities. There is also Cameron Whitten, community activist, small business owner and nonprofit executive has founded the Black Resilience Fund, with co-founder, Salome Chimuku. They have currently gathered over one million dollars in donations to help low income people of color in Portland who struggle paying bills and getting enough food to eat. Both Whitten and Hardesty deserve our respect and admiration for what they’re doing to create positive social change in at risk black communities in Portland.
Fred’s other concern is the “hypocritical” and “racist”stance Portland journalists take when they write the rare article on black social issues, while simultaneously they “perpetuate negative black stereotypes” rather than extol the good black leaders are able to accomplish, people like Jo Ann Hardesty, Cameron Whitten and many other black activists. These concerns of Stewart’s mirror the concerns of countless other people of color in Portland.
Can a white journalist speak for black people, black culture, or truly understand black issues? Rather than having a white journalist“white-splain”to people of color their own concerns, issues or struggles with systemic racism, shouldn’t Portland media, small as it is, employ black writers and journalists who can and should do those things on more of an occasional basis? Fred Stewart and many others believe Portland newspapers should have black writers on staff, however for most of their collective existence; the main papers in town have been entirely white owned and operated, with only white journalists, and editors calling the shots.
Moreover, there are only a handful ofBlack church pastors who speak on black issues, but they are not journalists or professional writers and are interviewed rarely. If both print and broadcast media is governed almost exclusively by white journalists, how can black issues or any black voices be heard “speaking truth to power” when there are so few black voices writing for the black community in Portland’s white controlled media? Shouldn’t this pattern be something that changes, following the recent nationwide protests, demanding police reform and an address of the institutionalized racism that impacts people of color?
A City Being Watched
In the last few years the racism inherent in Portland media and politics has become well known. The Southern Poverty Law Centerwatches Portland regularly as do other “watchdog” human rights groups. The perpetuation of racial stereotypes is something that has been fed to Portland citizens for decades, often with little or no criticism when negative racial stereotypes repeatedly appear in either print or on film, such as in the TV news. This exists because of the glaring “double standard” according to Stewart, when the white majority journalists, who work at the major newspapers in town, write articles on black issues, but do not have even one journalist or writer who is a person of color to offer their perspective or unique lived experience.
This is the Portland scene though, and it’s been like this for decades. But perhaps this is a time honored dynamic of persistent exclusion and by extension of that, systemic racism, which needs to change? As the nationwide protests over the horrific death of George Floyd have demonstrated so effectively, Portland media needs to evolve and grow and not I believe, in its distribution of the white vertical power structure, but rather evolve in what is known as the horizontal power structure—that which represents the voice of the people—people of all colors, creeds, income brackets, genders, and nationalities.
In an attempt to create real diversity and actually demonstrate that inclusiveness can be more than merely a written keyword or a trendy sound bite used in flowery fund raising speeches or political races, perhaps the vertical power structure in Portland needs to embrace people of color so they can become part of the cadre of print and broadcast media professionals who are regularly published and disseminated. Perhaps if this becomes important to Portland leaders, real diversity, social equity and harmony can become a reality and not just an elusive ideal spoken of at political gatherings as something folks wish might happen one day, but regretfully just doesn’t seem destined to happen anytime soon.
A State Founded on Racism, Exclusion and White Supremacy
In Portland media and politics, there are some well known examples of racism that have occurred in recent years, and I’ll share some poignant examples in the body of this essay. These represent incidents of racism that often typify Portland politics, and which I feel are the most timely and worthy of discussion, considering the upcoming political run-offs in November.
Coming from a state that was created with the idea of excluding African American’s from its population going back to when Oregon was still a territory in 1844, and passed its first Black Exclusionary Law, the racist traditions of its inception are proving difficult to ignore as the repercussions of that racist history continue to be dealt with today.
*When considering these patterns of racist behavior in Portland politics, and within print media, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly immediately comes to mind
When Eudaly began to talk about running as a candidate for city council, eventually running against disliked and notoriously arrogant “Harvard graduate” Steve Novick, she met with Willamette Week writer, Aaron Mesh at a PSU panel discussion in early 2016. Eudaly had been invited to attend the PSU forum in February to discuss candidates’ issues and why she wanted to run for city council. As a low income single mother of a disabled son, Eudaly’s platform of providing affordable housing was a powerful draw for struggling Portlanders who kept seeing their rents skyrocket, their wages remain low and their struggles go unheard, unrecognized, and ignored.
On the day of the panel discussion, there were several other candidates present, including Steve Novick, (hoping to be re-elected) candidate Stuart Emmons, Sarah Iannarone, and Fred Stewart. I wrote about this PSU Panel discussion in a 2016 commentary on “racism” published with the GoLocalPDX online news source. That article on racism can be read at the link here.
During the discussion, Fred Stewart spoke eloquently about his extensive knowledge of the realities, practices and challenges of the housing market. He spoke about how to create more housing, and why “rent control” would not address the issue of a housing shortage, but would only push out more low income black Portlanders.
Stewart shared details of his extensive experience as a real estate broker and how that expertise helped him understand the complexities of the housing market, including the issues of housing supply and demand. He also spoke of his concerns for Portlanders in general, specifically the often under-served black community.
And then Eudaly responded.
In a tone dripping with condescension and contempt Chloe Eudaly explained that she had “black friends” too. She went on to say she felt she was more in tune with “black” concerns and what black Portlanders need than Fred Stewart was, a black man in his early fifties and a lifelong resident of NE Portland. Eudaly underscored her opinion that she was more in tune with black residents than Stewart was, saying it was because she was a business owner and offered no other reason than that. The below passage is from the 2016 commentary I wrote about that panel discussion and addresses what I personally witnessed:
After Fred Stewart had completed a statement, as to issues facing black Portlander’s, Chloe Eudaly offered her response. I watched, to my dismay, as she turned her head to her left, toward Fred Stewart and then proceeded to speak in that direction, as if she were speaking directly to him. She announced that she had “black friends” too and might know more about what black people in Portland need or want because she runs a business. In essence Eudaly called him out.
Institutionalized and Systemic Racism is Often Unconsciously Expressed
At no time did Moderator, white, liberal, progressive, Aaron Mesh, and longtime writer with Willamette Week, challenge Eudaly on her racist statement to Fred Stewart. He did not correct Eudaly’s absurd presumption, or at the very least ask why she would make such a statement, wherein she claimed she knew more about black issues than a lifetime resident of Portland who is also a black man. At no time did Mesh share the obvious fact that Stewart also runs a business, which is his successful real estate company, Stewart Group Realty Inc. At no time did Mesh ask Eudaly why she would presume to know more about housing than a person, Stewart, who had, at that time worked in real estate, banking, and the housing market for over 28 years.
When Stewart immediately and stridently objected to Eudaly’s shockingly racist statement, and expressed his frustration and dismay that Eudaly, a white woman, would claim she knew more about black concerns then he did, he was shouted down by Aaron Mesh and others, including Stuart Emmon’s. They all ordered Stewart, simultaneously, to be quiet and silence any objections he might wish to express as a result of Eudaly’s absurd claim. Stewart was immediately silenced and I recall vividly that he appeared disgusted and confused by what had just happened.
Within seconds of the short drama ending, Eudaly became wide eyed, and emotional, turning away from Stewart, huffing and puffing, and behaving as if she were frightened. The message conveyed by Eudaly and the others was that Stewart was in the wrong and Eudaly was not.
It was an Oscar worthy performance on Eudaly’s part.
I sat in the audience, in the third row, watching the fiasco unfold. I have to say it was surprising and yet also morbidly amusing to observe Eudaly manipulate the situation to her advantage so effortlessly. It was like watching a small child poke another child with a sharp, pointed stick, and when the poked child objected, the one who had done the poking pretended to be the hurt party, whimpering and pouting. The emotionally manipulative nature of Eudaly’s stunt was stunning and indicative of someone who was not particularly educated and not particularly bright, relying more on their instinctive knowledge of how to deceive and manipulate situations to their advantage, in much the way a jealous young sibling would. And yet Eudaly was presented with absolutely no consequences for the extremely offensive and racist comment by either Aaron Mesh or anyone else on the panel. What Eudaly did cannot be called a “micro-aggression” because it was not subtle enough to be a micro-aggression; rather it was a profoundly blatant and racist attack. It was a foolish attempt at one-up-man-ship, after which Eudaly received a full pass from the Moderator Aaron Mesh.
I found Eudaly’s behavior and also that of Aaron Mesh to be alarmingly and unapologetically racist. I recall, after Eudaly made her comical statement, my jaw dropped and I sat there wondering if I had heard her correctly. Sadly, I realized I had. I couldn’t help but wonder how anyone could be that naïve, ignorant, and uninformed. When Eudaly was set to speak again, Aaron Mesh said in a coddling and motherly tone to the young person holding the time card: “Give Chloe a little more time.” I could tell Eudaly thoroughly enjoyed the preferential treatment by the smug look on face. It was nauseating to watch.
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of Relaxed Racist Behavior
During the last part of the panel discussion, Eudaly gave her final statement. She was allowed to finish, and no one interrupted her. However, when Stewart attempted to give his final statement Eudaly interrupted him, muttering over him about things she had previously said. Aaron Mesh said nothing to prevent Eudaly from speaking over Stewart.
Mesh allowed it.
Stewart continued speaking, trying to calmly speak over Eudaly as she continued to speak for almost ten seconds. Finally, as a spectator I felt I had had enough. I was disgusted and couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. In disgust, I made a loud shushing sound in three quick utterances with my mouth, “Tush! Tush! Tush!” to indicate that Eudaly needed to shut up, stop talking and stop trying to speak over Stewart, and allow him to finish his final statement.
Aaron Mesh immediately looked toward the audience, in my direction, and tried to ascertain who had made the shushing sound. I don’t believe at that time that he was able to figure out that it was me. But I recall feeling a strong sense of satisfaction that I had been instrumental in getting Eudaly to finally stop her rude, impolite interruptions of Fred Stewart. Eudaly also looked over in my direction, wide eyed, and apparently surprised that someone would do that. Apparently, it did not occur to her that someone in the audience might be offended by her blatant rudeness, and manipulative game playing, even after she had made her mindlessly ignorant racist remarks only a few minutes before.
During the entire discussion, Eudaly was consistently given more time to speak than any of the other panel guests, and Stewart was consistently cut off while he was still in the process of completing a sentence. The racist behavior I saw by Eudaly and Mesh was incredibly disappointing. They were supposed to be enlightened white liberals but I could see they were anything but enlightened, or even minimally respectful to… the only black person on the panel!
The entire bizarre exchange typifies the kind of blatant and relaxed racism that is a part of the white, liberal political scene in Portland.
This is the kind of racism that shuts out the voices of black people, and even attempts to shame them for speaking out, just as Chloe Eudaly and Aaron Mesh attempted to shame Fred Stewart for speaking out against Eudaly’s absurd racist statements.
The racism inherent in Eudaly’s ludicrous and loaded remarks, when she attempted to own Fred Stewart’s lived black experience and apprehend that experience as her own is a common pattern in Portland racial politics.
*It must be noted for the sake of accuracy that Chloe Eudaly is a light skinned Caucasian woman and has no lived experience being either black or a black man in America. Eudaly does not have a single black relative nor is it likely she has ever once been called the N word, or other damaging racial epitaphs as Fred Stewart has repeatedly been called over the course of his life, while living in America as a black man and trying to survive the ugliness of racist attacks and discrimination. Nor has Chloe Eudaly survived the violent racist attacks that have defined Fred Stewart’s history on a personal level, and the history of his family in Mississippi, many of whom were victims of the Night Riders. This included several actual lynchings, (involving ropes and gasoline as the tools used) which resulted in Stewart’s family members being murdered in cold blood by violent white bigots, based on the “rumor” of a false allegation.
The 2016 Nigel Jaquiss Hit Piece on Fred Stewart
According to Fred Stewart and other critics, including myself, there are journalists in Portland media who promote the stereotype of the “dangerous, angry black man” in an attempt to create sensationalism, drama, sell newspapers and maintain the status quo of white power in Portland politics. Two of these Portland journalists are Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week and lesser known or appreciated journalist, Steve Duin of the Oregonian. Both men wrote hit pieces targeting Stewart in two separate 2016 articles, in which they exploited a loud but harmless argument Stewart had had with his then 16-year-old teenage daughter, in which the police were called, spoke with both Stewart and his daughter and then left after seeing “no crime” had been committed.
*Fifteen days after I published my GoLocalPDX article on racism, writing about what had transpired at the PSU Panel Discussion, and in which I defended Fred Stewart, Jaquiss wrote a poorly researched hit piece on Stewart, published with Willamette Week April 12, 2016.
The Jaquiss article is filled with errors, incorrect allusions and perpetuates what Stewart calls “the negative racial stereotypes of dangerous angry black men who beat women and children.” The fact that Jaquiss indicates Stewart’s status as running for city council within the very title reveals his truest ambition of writing the piece—to destroy Stewart’s chances politically.
The offensive stereotypes, as presented by Jaquiss and Duin are not consistent with anyone who knows what an, intelligent, rational and generous man Stewart has proven himself to be. At one point WW claimed that Stewart had been arrested for not paying child support to his ex-wife, which was not factually correct. WW had to correct the error and admit it publicly several days later. What the error demonstrates is a journalist, Jaquiss, who was not overly concerned with accuracy and was in a rush to publish and fulfill his agenda of destroying Stewart’s campaign and run for city council and if that included wrongly claiming Stewart had been arrested, then so be it.
Jaquiss had courted Stewart for months, asking him questions, mainly via email and telephone conversations, about his life, his successful work as a real estate broker, his marriage and subsequent divorce, including questions regarding his teen daughter and her relationship with her mother. Before the hit piece was published April 12, 2016, Jaquiss was willing to drive to Stewart’s home for a visit. Stewart had sprained an ankle rushing to an appointment that afternoon, but Jaquiss still wanted to interview him. After Stewart explained he was in pain from spraining his ankle, and tried to beg off, Jaquiss continued to push for the interview, and suggested he would drive to Stewart’s home, at which point Stewart reluctantly agreed. Jaquiss arrived later that evening, and was welcomed inside Stewart’s home, where they sat down and began to talk. Stewart’s former girlfriend, Margaret Ibanez, who remains a close friend, was also present at this meeting. At that point, as the discussion progressed, Stewart began to feel uneasy and asked Jaquiss directly if he was planning on writing a negative article about him and his daughter.
*Willamette Week journalist, Nigel Jaquiss then lied to Fred Stewart as casually and pleasantly as any narcissist sociopath who regularly lies to those he is happily pleased to betray.
Nigel Jaquiss LIED.
This is an important fact to point out, because it indicates a relaxed relationship with the morality and ethics of journalism. How many other times has Nigel Jaquiss lied when composing a story? An important likelihood to consider for any young writer or journalist who may choose to emulate Jaquiss is how many other times has this Pulitzer Prize winner been deceptive and lied? And what has been the human cost of those lies? Jaquiss lied and reassured Stewart; in a pleasant good-natured tone that he was not writing an article about Stewart or his daughter, but just gathering general information. The hit piece came out shortly after Jaquiss smiled at Fred Stewart, thanked him for his hospitality and happily walked out his front door.
*In response to the Jaquiss hit piece published April of 2016, is that I wrote my own article, three weeks later, called Journalism of Destruction, published again with GoLocalPDX publisher and communications expert, Josh Fenton of Rhode Island. Journalism of Destruction was disseminated nationwide, and caused quite a stir as it was shared thousands of times on social media sites including on the Twitter account of a well known newspaper editor from out of Oregon State.
Being able to call Nigel Jaquiss a “liar” was a thrill and an empowering experience. Some folks have told me that it was a foolish risk to take on such a powerful white man, but “speaking truth to power” sometimes involves sacrifice. Though I was uneasy about putting my name to the 2016 piece I wrote, I was conversely also happy to do so, knowing how important the messages about race were, and that Portlanders needed to consider those messages and really think about the impact of racism in media and what the human costs can be.
Fifteen days after I wrote my GoLocalPDX response essay to the Jaquiss hit piece, Oregonian writer, Steve Duin, composed a copycat hit piece on Fred Stewart. Duin had called Stewart a week prior to his copycat story coming out, and asked for his take on the relationship Stewart had with his teenage daughter. Stewart said he had never physically abused his daughter and that Duin could speak to his former girlfriend, his mother and sister and they would corroborate his statements. Stewart shared that his daughter had been raised learning the uses of deception by his emotionally disturbed ex-wife. Stewart offered to share documentation with Duin, including false police reports his ex-wife had filed with PPB, but Duin was not interested in looking at documentation that would support Stewart’s version of the events of his life. Stewart told me: “I could tell by talking to him that he didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. He’d already made up his mind that I was a dangerous black man.” Stewart’s daughter was again used as the naive tool to further perpetuate the negative stereotype of the dangerous, violent black man who cannot be trusted around women and children.
Two days after Duin wrote his copycat hit piece on Fred Stewart, my husband Don DuPaywrote his own editorial published with GoLocalPDX. Racism in Portland Politics is Alive and Well in 2016, May 9, 2016. Don was that angry about what had happened to our good friend Fred Stewart. In the editorial, Don writes about the way people of color are often mistreated by Portland media, specifically referencing the hit pieces by Jaquiss and Duin.
White racist journalists in Portland have attacked candidate Fred Stewart for no other reason than he is a black man who demonstrates intelligence, savvy and skill not only in leadership but in transforming entire NE Portland neighborhoods as a real estate agent. These are men who do not want black leaders in city council. Their weak, poorly constructed written attacks have proven this.
Unlike Nigel Jaquiss, who used more than only one source for his racist, sensationalistic, yellow journalism hit piece, Duin embarrassingly felt that one source, other than Fred Stewart, (whom he had condemned already) would be enough, rather than the generally accepted minimum of three sources. Duin’s one source was of course Stewart’s angsty teenage daughter, with a history, much like her poor example of a mother, of dishonesty and deception. Sadly, at no time during this time in her life was Stewart’s daughter aware she was being exploited by Nigel Jaquiss and Steve Duin to perpetuate racial stereotypes, with no thought to how this exploitation would negatively impact her later on.
*The result of both hit piece stories and the manner that Stewart’s daughter was exploited and encouraged to betray her father is that her entire black family have disowned her. She now has no relationships with her black family members and is more socially isolated than she ever was before. These are realities, however, that I’m certain Nigel Jaquiss and Steven Duin do not lose sleep over. Why would they? She’s not their daughter.
In Duin’s copycat hit piece, he explains he had previously heard about the drama between Stewart and his daughter, (as circulated through the Portland media grapevine presumably) but chose not to write about it, “…because I considered Hunter’s privacy more important than her father’s political ambitions.” Duin’s ‘I’m the bigger person’ boasting rings false. Duin didn’t care about Stewart’s daughter’s privacy. Nor did he care about Stewart’s daughter in any capacity. It is obvious Duin felt it was more than acceptable to come between a young biracial teenager and her father—the same father, who had supported, provided for, protected and indulged his daughter since the day she was born, as a cherished only child with no siblings.
In the Duin hit piece, Duin included a link and condescending appraisal of the response essay I had written regarding the racism inherent in the Jaquiss hit piece. Duin wrote: “His April 13 story sparked additional hostilities on social media, including a rant on GoLcalPDX by one of Fred Stewart’s most vocal supporters.”
Most of my writer friends, family and social media followers in Portland and elsewhere would never presume to describe my thoughtful essay Journalism of Destruction as a “rant” but rather as a serious, well researched essay and a true example of gutsy Gonzo Journalism. My essay was however the proverbial ‘other side of the story’ as shared by someone who was also experienced in the challenging arena of raising a teenage daughter as an only child in today’s narcissistic modern world. And it was an essay which included perspective from having respectfully interviewed, at length, and in a rational manner, Fred Stewart, his mother, Mrs. Dorothy Stewart, his sister Tracy Stewart and his former girlfriend Margaret Ibanez.
Duin had attempted to gather information about Fred Stewart from his elderly mother, but was not interested in hearing her fair appraisal of her son’s character. At one point, Duin offended Stewart’s mother, who is elderly, during a telephone conversation. Duin told Mrs. Stewart he felt her son was a liar, and asked why she didn’t just “tell the truth” about him. Mrs. Stewart was offended by Duin’s comment and hung up the telephone. She was made that upset by his sarcastic suggestion that she was lying. Duin not only accused Stewart of lying, but also Stewart’s mother as well. What kind of person torments an elderly black woman like that? Apparently, Oregonian journalist Steve Duin does.
* Another amusing element to the Duin hit piece is that Duin couldn’t even get the publication date correct that he was referencing. It was not April 13, 2016, but rather April 12, 2016 that Jaquiss published his racist hit piece—another example of a careless and complacent Portland journalist, Steve Duin, not doing careful research? It would appear so.
Nigel Jaquiss and Steve Duin were both willing to exploit a black teenager to publish racist yellow journalism, and spread racial stereotypes. And Duin was personally willing to disrespect and insult an elderly black mother, just to get a story. Neither of them cared about the damage either hit piece would inflict on Fred Stewart’s family, including his elderly mother, Mrs. Dorothy Stewart who was devastated by both articles and feared her son would be targeted and killed by white supremacists’ and who spent several weeks “crying every day” worried that her son would be “lynched” because of the way both hit pieces had ultimately destroyed Fred Stewart’s reputation, accusing him of being a wife beater and child abuser.
The sad reality is that Duin did not care about a confused biracial girl, anymore than Jaquiss did. Why would Duin care about a girl who had been raised to hate her own ethnicity and black heritage by her disturbed Caucasian mother Robin Raymond? Why would Duin refuse to investigate Raymond, who had once been a street prostitute and survived a checkered past replete with rumors of incest and sexual abuse occurring during her childhood. Why not? Because to do that would not agree with Duin’s agenda, which was to destroy Stewart’s political chances in Portland, finishing off what Nigel Jaquiss had started.
However, I investigated those angles. And that included viewing documentation that proved Raymond had given birth to a severely deformed and retarded infant, a boy named Tristan who she abandoned at an Oregon hospital the day of his birth, and his subsequent death at the age of 13. Tristan’s death would occur only a few months before Stewart’s daughter’s birth. Why would Duin not do careful and fair journalism, when he could just jump on the bandwagon and attack Fred Stewart, as Jaquiss had?
Because that is what racists do.
Duin cared only about destroying a black man’s candidacy for political office in whiter than white Portland. Ultimately, I believe Duin wanted to demonstrate that like the well-known and once highly respected Jaquiss, Duin had the moxie to join in on the symbolic pig-pile of Stewart. Duin wanted a piece of the action, to join in on the unwarranted destruction of one man’s reputation, who by all accounts had been a devoted and patient father—the kind of father who regularly coddled and made excuses for his petulant and indulged daughter. A daughter who’s notoriously entitled and disrespectful behavior toward nearly all her black relatives, including her elderly black grandparents, was in fact well known by all members of the Stewart extended family.
The “nickname” mudpie is a racially insensitive and derogatory term and it offended Stewart. Yet even after asking his former wife, Robin Raymond, to stop calling their daughter “Mudpie” explaining that it was racist and a negative label, which would destroy the girls self esteem and self image, Raymond would not stop using the slur. The following excerpt is from the Yellow Journalism essay I wrote and reads:
Her mother’s nickname for Hunter was also something Stewart objected to; “Mudpie.” Despite asking her to stop using it, she refused, calling her daughter “Mudpie” for years. The slang meaning of most references to “mudpie” is that it is a pile of random excrement from a bovine animal.
There were dysfunctional elements to Stewart’s daughter’s relationship with her mother that neither Jaquiss nor Duin ever considered important enough to investigate, because their agenda was clear. They wanted only one thing, and that was to destroy Fred’s reputation and thereby his chances at a political win. The complex dynamic of a white mother ashamed of her “half black” daughters heritage, who had raised her daughter to be ashamed of her biracial status was not something these white journalists were interested in investigating or writing about. But the racist trope of perpetuating the false stereotype of the “dangerous and violent black man” was what they wanted to push—their racist agenda was clear and why they were doing it was also clear—to prevent a black man from becoming a Portland city commissioner. That Stewart’s reputation was also destroyed was incidental to their goals and entirely irrelevant to them.
Stewart is a successful, articulate and powerful influence in his NE Portland community. But to them, apparently, he was merely a big, scary looking black man. Jaquiss and Duin’s primary motive for both hit pieces was not in advocating for women and girls; but because they wanted to destroy the political campaign of Fred Stewart—a black man.
And they did.
*Duin wrote his copycat hit piece, just as Jaquiss wrote his hit piece because they knew the stories would be sensational and would be eaten up by a hungry white readership. The two men also wrote the stories because of the unconscious racist beliefs both men harbor in the hidden recesses of their stunted hearts and unenlightened minds.
Hiding behind the smiling mask of a powerful white liberal is not hard in Portland. If you know what to say, and how to say it, you can get away with virtually anything. This includes character assassination, in much the same way Stewart’s character was assassinated by both Nigel Jaquiss and Steve Duin. Some people have compared what happened to Fred Stewart as a symbolic Lynching. “A lynching of a different sort?”
One must ask the obvious question: would Nigel Jaquiss or Steve Duin, (both father’s of young white daughters) ever consider using the daughters of white politicians in a similar manner simply to publish a questionable story filled with yellow journalism tactics, sensationalism, inaccuracies and exaggerations? Where are their ethics as journalists? Have they ever had ethics in journalism?
Would they ever consider using the daughter of say, Charlie Hales, or perhaps the young daughter of Ted Wheeler, or Frank Ivancie, or one of the daughters of Republican political candidate Mark Callahan as a teenage source? Why is it okay to be a blatantly deceptive journalist, pushing a racist agenda and use the incredibly young and confused daughter of a black man to perpetuate negative racial stereotypes?
I think the answer lies in the vertical power structure in Portland’s white controlled print and broadcast media—to whit—because Jaquiss and Duin knew they could get away with it. And they didn’t CARE who was hurt as a result, least of all some 19-year-old black kid they could use, exploit and then discard.
This again is what racist white supremacy looks like.
Chloe Eudaly: with So Much Lacking, Pitiable Compensation is Inevitable
And now Dear Reader, let us venture back to Chloe Eudaly. With regard to Eudaly’s background, I think it’s important to note that she dropped out of high school sometime after her freshman year, and attended Portland Community College for approximately one year before dropping out yet again. Later, during her campaign, according to numerous sources, Eudaly lied, claiming she had earned an Associate’s Degree from Portland Community College, when she had not.
It is the opinion of several people, including myself, that no matter how well read Eudaly may believe she is, and no matter how moderately well spoken she is, she still has the equivalent of an eighth grade education. As such Eudaly is not truly able or qualified to be a competent leader in the Portland political arena for the simple reason that she doesn’t have enough education to understand simple rudimentary aspects of leadership roles that one learns in high school and in college, and I believe her conduct proves this.
Fred Stewart on the other hand graduated, on time, from Cleveland High School in 1983. He attended Portland Community College for one year, taking refresher courses, then transferred to Portland State University, attending for a little over one year, then later studied for and passed the rigorous state exams required to become a real estate broker licensed to work in the state of Oregon and elsewhere. Stewart was also a US Marine for several years, was honorably discharged, and worked several jobs all during his teens and early 20s, including working for the Franz Bakery for a number of years where he was known as a hard worker and was extremely well-liked.
Additionally, after Stewart married and had a child, he engaged in a pattern of civic involvement that can only be described as admirable and indicative of an engaged and concerned citizen willing to do his part to help make Portland a better place. Stewart served on a number of Portland committee’s and boards acting as a dedicated volunteer. Some of those groups are mentioned below…
1.) Stewart acted as president of the King Neighborhood Association from 1990 to 1999.
2.) Stewart volunteered with the Police Budget Advisory Committee from 1993 to 1998
3.) Stewart was on the board of the South/North Light Rail Committee from 1996 to 1997
4.) Stewart was on the board of the Metro Future Vision Commission from 1993 to 1996.
*Most noteworthy is that Stewart served on the Portland Police Internal Affairs Committee from 1994 to 1998.
When Stewart served on the Portland Police Internal Affairs Committee, (PIAC) from 1994 to 1998, he was engaged in an extremely important leadership role, which involved considerable complexity. After police officers were investigated for any manner of wrongdoing or excessive force by the Internal Affairs Division, Fred and other members of the (PIAC) board would read the written findings of IA and give their perspective on what they believed ought to be the final outcome of those determinations.
*This meant weighing in on issues pertaining to discipline or possible termination of employment of sworn Portland police officers employed within the ranks of the Portland Police Bureau.
In all of Stewart’s volunteer work, he demonstrated his concern for Portland institutions by his active engagement with other accomplished persons in creating impactful, positive change for the entire Portland community. This speaks nothing of Stewart’s regular day to day work transforming north and northeast Portland by selling real estate and transforming a once blighted, rundown community into an upwardly mobile area, becoming in only a few short years a trendy and popular area with a booming real estate industry.
*Fred Stewart played an integral role in that important and historic process all throughout the North End and should be recognizedfor the part he played in transforming derelict NE Portland neighborhoods into the vibrant communities they are today in 2020. In an article inThe Atlanticin August of 2016, Stewart was featured in a flattering story on his real estate successes entitled: The King of NE Portland Real Estate.
Eudaly’s employment experience, by way of contrast, consists of having had approximately two previous jobs in her adult life, before entering politics—the second of which was as the owner and operator of a second hand bookstore, which has been neither particularly successful nor a lucrative business venture. Eudaly has no history of volunteer work to speak of and certainly nothing to compare with Stewart’s exceptionally well-rounded employment and activist background as a longtime volunteer and real estate broker, putting him in the position of knowing more people in Portland than virtually anyone else I know.
Given Eudaly’s lack of even a mediocre education she appears to suffer under the weight of challenges regarding how to successfully traverse interpersonal communication respectfully and with even a moderate level of effectiveness.
Eudaly has all the earmarks of an extremely insecure woman.
Due to these deficiencies, it is clear Eudaly struggles with an obvious inferiority complex. Her inferiority complex expresses itself through her imperious, unapproachable and queenly manner—in essence she reveals her insecurities with the false pride she needs to compensate for all the ways in which she is lacking.
Given Eudaly’s limited educational background, it is also likely she simply doesn’t comprehend how to collaborate or work well with others. Working well with others is something people generally learn how to do from completing “group projects” during the latter part of high school and during their early college years. The primary purpose of the group project, in a classroom setting, is to teach youthful and adult learners how to communicate respectfully, navigate group gatherings harmoniously, disagree without taking things personally, learn about emotional intelligence, nonverbal body language and cues, formal and informal leadership styles, and direct and indirect communication styles. The other challenge of working as a team includes the fair and equitable distribution of duties and responsibilities to achieve the group projects common and expressed objectives.
These are rudimentary leadership skills that Eudaly has demonstrated she has absolutely no experience understanding or engaging in, in a professional setting or in a professional, adult like manner. Eudaly has demonstrated this lack of awareness repeatedly, by being overly aggressive in her communication style, and by being acutely and embarrassingly disrespectful in how she treats others, including people of color. This lack of maturity and insight into her own behavior includes her notorious and well-known demands that people address her by her “title” and demonstrate that she is properly “respected.” These desperate demands for “respect” have occurred during active City Council meetings, much to the dismay and amusement of those professional individuals carefully observing Eudaly’s supercilious, transparent and pitiable behavior.
*In her tenure in City Council Eudaly has been compared to Donald J. Trump, and has been called a “female Donald Trump” and a “tyrant” numerous times on social media sites in Portland, by disgruntled former supporters and those who made the mistake of voting for her. Virtually no other city commissioner has experienced that, been compared to Trump or called a “tyrant” to the extent that Eudaly has.
Eudaly has further become notorious for storming out of city council meetings and other meetings she is required to attend when she becomes excessively emotional. This happens, apparently, when Eudaly finds she cannot handle the expectation for gracious, respectful social decorum befitting the complex and demanding position of a Portland City Commissioner. These sudden and consistently melodramatic departures from meetings have become a pattern with Eudaly, and include her staff rushing after her, in an attempt to comfort her and encourage her to calm down in much the way a parent comforts a small child.
Making Excuses and Being Mistreated: Cycles of Abuse
Eudaly’s long-suffering chief of staff, and former Campaign Manager, Marshall Runkel, appears to be the backbone of Chloe’s success and the one force that keeps her in check, or at least tries to keep her in check. The price however is that he appears bullied by Eudaly and consistently makes excuses for her unprofessional conduct and haughty, angst-ridden outbursts, even going so far as to warn people that: “”Respect is a requirement for successful communications” with Eudaly.
This desperate demand for “respect” was never made more apparent than when Eudaly was scheduled to meet with a group of African American community leaders at City Hall, April 17, 2018. Before the meeting even had a chance to get underway, Eudaly quickly alienated the entire group and then stormed off in a huff leaving the group confused, offended and wondering what had just happened—this included an elderly black man, Omar Shabazz, who had been looking forward to attending the meeting, and comes across at all times in the video recording as a rational, calm, respectful and mature individual.
The group of “black constituents” called the Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2 came to the meeting, which had been in the works for over two months, to discuss their concerns regarding the development of the North End of town, which historically consists of black neighborhoods. The group of community activists consisted of North Portland resident Alicia Byrd, who works as a Librarian for Multnomah County and is a dedicated community volunteer and two others, Shei’Meka Owens and Omar Shabazz, also activists and volunteers.
The members of Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2 arrived on time and settled in a public conference room, waiting to speak with Eudaly. But they became concerned about the presence of a board game haphazardly spread out on the table in the meeting room. Byrd allegedly said, in a 2018 article published by Willamette Week and written by Rachel Monahan: “It was some sort of satanic, demonic game. It looked like we were interrupting a Ouija session.”
The scattered objects Byrd saw was likely not an actual Ouija board but rather a child’s board game called ILLIMAT. The game ILLIMAT is a board game for kids, created by Keith Baker, and recommended for kids aged 12, but not for children 3 or under.
Apparently, Chloe Eudaly had become enamored of a children’s board game and had been playing it, while also attempting to contend with her professional duties at City Hall as a Portland city commissioner.
When the small group saw the children’s board game spread out over the table, it is reported that they requested it be removed so they could discuss the issues at hand regarding the development of the North End, which was why they were there in the first place. This would include having enough actual space to look at documents and papers they had brought with them, so the request, if it was made by anyone present, to have the children’s game removed would have been entirely appropriate. This claim, as promoted by Runkel and the WW article is not accurate, according to Byrd. In a recent email Byrd explained what she remembers actually happened:
I really need to mention that the WW article DID NOT depict the truth. We Did NOT request that the board game be removed, Chloe Eudaly’s staff member did. From the moment we walked into her office, her staff gawked and whispered. One lesser abled gentleman offered us a drink and he was quickly reprimanded by a coworker. Once we entered the boardroom, a staff member asked if we wanted the board game removed. Later, a member of Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2, Shei’Meka Owens, responded to the request and stated she wanted the game removed, seeing it took up a nice portion of the table and was a distraction to the purpose of the meeting. I’m just letting you know that from the minute we walked into her office the energy was weird and it was obvious by the reaction of her staff, staring, whispering, hesitant to approach us and greet us, that they were surprised. By what? They were not expecting a group of Black folks. That is it pure and simple.
After Eudaly strode into the room, as stated in the WW article, Eudaly became stiff and imperious: “Byrd says Eudaly was immediately cold to them,” adding that she quickly “took offence” to the request to remove the board game. Then, within only a few seconds, Eudaly apparently decided to change tactics. According to Byrd: “Eudaly demanded to know who was wearing perfume and abruptly walked out of the room.” The group of black citizens was left feeling bewildered and confused as to Eudaly’s unbalanced and disrespectful behavior, wondering why she refused to listen to them or their concerns, but stormed out of the room, instead.
*One of the people in the room, as mentioned previously was an elderly black gentleman named Omar Shabazz, a longtime volunteer and activist who is highly respected in Portland and in the Portland black Muslim community. He was left feeling confused and baffled by Eudaly’s bizarre behavior.
At no time during the two months of previous email contacts with Runkel and other members of Eudaly’s staff did anyone inform the group that Eudaly suffered from allergies. This manner of precautionary warning is a common courtesy that is offered to those with genuine allergies that become problematic, but this was not done with the three activists, Byrd, Owens or Shabazz—which leads one to question Eudaly’s veracity regarding suffering from any actual allergies at all.
At no time, for example, during Eudaly’s previous meetings with media, including the 2016 PSU Panel did Eudaly ever indicate she suffers from an allergy to perfume or cologne. I myself wore perfume (Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door) during that February 2016 PSU Panel, and Fred Stewart also wore cologne (Blue De Chanel, by Calvin Klein) during that panel meeting and at no time did Eudaly indicate in any way that she was allergic to either the women’s perfume I was wearing, or the men’s cologne Stewart was wearing, nor did she suffer any manner of allergic reaction.
*My suspicion that Eudaly does not actually suffer from an allergy to perfume or cologne was reinforced when I received an email from Byrd while doing research for this essay. Byrd shared an amusing experience she had with Eudaly, who was at a function and didn’t recognize her. The email confirmed for me that Chloe Eudaly likely never suffered a genuine allergy to perfume or cologne at any time. The email below was more than revealing and all the confirmation needed:
Its so funny because a week or so after this incident happened the non profit where I’m a board member received a Spirit of Portland award. I knew Chloe would be there so I intentionally wore my best perfume. I actually ran into her in the bathroom, as she entered the restroom. She stopped and made small talk with me not realizing who I was. Some time later at City Hall, I took a photo of her in her boardroom meeting with a group of perfumed folks. Chloe lied. She did not want to meet with us because we are Black. She was unprepared and caught off guard. I guess they thought we were a white group when we were communicating via email.
*The taped recording reveals that Marshall Runkel is a documented liar
During the entire tape, (which is mostly audio but also partially video) Marshall Runkel displays the vocal intonations of a California Surfer Dude, using the conjunction “like” excessively to stitch together hesitant comments and remarks. Runkel also uses “vocal fry” reminiscent of the four Kardashian sisters. His speech is further afflicted with an unfortunate upward lilt to his voice. This is called (HTR) or high rising terminal, also known as “upspeak” or “uptalk.” This upward lilt is also known as (HRI) or high rising intonation. This is a feature of some variants of American English where declarative sentence clauses end with a rising pitch intonation, until the end of the sentence wherein a falling pitch is applied. Described simply it means what when someone should be communicating with confidence, maturity, and clarity, they continually sound as if they’re asking a question rather than making a statement or having an actual conversation. It makes the person who is speaking thusly, come across as immature, hesitant, indecisive and weak.
In the tape, one can hear Marshall Runkel desperately attempt to explain away Eudaly’s unbalanced behavior, and he is heard apologizing profusely. The taped recording presents an entirely different picture of what really happened, as opposed to the blatant whitewash offered in the WW article written by Monahan. A portion of that exchange is included below.
Runkel: “Maybe there’s a opportunity, like, if there’s not having you guys interrupt your lives and come back down here again? If there’s a opportunity to meet out in the community or where…”
Byrd: “Yeah, we can meet at Dawson Park?”
Runkel: “We can already have another meeting, and give us a chance to try again? I would appreciate that.”
Byrd: “So, Marshall, this is what I want to know from you. You received my communication about what it is we wanted to talk about, right?”
Runkel: “Correct, yes. I saw it on the…”
Byrd: “So, why is it… this is what I‘m really trying to understand, how is it that the commissioner does not know what it is we want to talk about, when I’ve sent it and I’ve resent it and I’ve resent it?”
Runkel: “Well, that’s the one, that’s where I’m taking responsibility. I could see it… I should have… it came up this morning. I should have made sure that everybody understood that… there it is! Here’s what this all about! And I could have done a better job of setting us up for success. So, I’m…”
Shabazz: “Let’s do this again, in this conference room. I would like to see the commissioner come through, be more…cordial? I will be myself and if I come to a meeting, I’ll be sure I’m fragrance free.”
However, when Runkel was later interviewed by WW, unaware obviously, that Byrd had given Monahan the tape to view and listen to, Runkel was not truthful about the meeting, and made a very different claim to WW than can be heard on the tape. To WW’s Rachel Monahan, Runkel tried to explain what happened in the meeting room, and he did that by blaming the African American activists who had come to the meeting for Eudaly’s outburst, after they had spent weeks arranging the meeting, and had taken time off from work, paid for parking and had conducted themselves in a respectful manner.
Rather than acknowledging Eudaly’s complete inability to handle what should have been a simple and pleasant group meeting, Marshall Runkel, in the WW article, blames the three black citizen activists instead and throws them under the proverbial bus. The article, as written by Rachel Monahan suggests that the three black activists are at fault, and not Eudaly. It is an article dripping with deception and bias:
“Runkel says the constituents who came to talk about redevelopment in North Portland behaved disrespectfully. “The group reacted hostilely and disrespectfully to the presence of a game on the conference room table, then insisted it was their conference room because City Hall is a public building,” says Runkel. “That’s when the commissioner walked out.”
However, when I listened to the entire tape, I did not hear the claims Runkel made to WW about how the group “insisted it was their conference room because City Hal is a public building.” In the tape, Owens can be heard speaking in a respectful but bewildered tone paraphrasing something that Eudaly has just said, shortly before she storms out in a huff.
Owens: “And, oh, sorry… at that point when I was told: ‘Oh, so you’re coming into my office to tell me that you have a problem with something I have sitting on my table?’ Is that…was that…?”
Byrd: “That’s what she said. And that’s how she said it.”
Owens: “Yeah that’s what I thought. And it confused me because like I said, my understanding is this is a public space?”
Owens disbelief and shock at how she and her two friends were treated is palpable in her vocal intonations, conveying perfectly the absolute disbelief she felt. Byrd also comes across as completely honest, a person in utter dismay, and trying fervently to understand what had to have been a strange and bewildering experience.
What I heard on the tape contradicts the whitewashing WW writer, Rachel Monahan provides in her article. In her article, Monahan basically protects Runkel and does not hold him accountable for lying to her personally and to Willamette Week collectively. Monahan does not hold Runkel accountable for misrepresenting what he said to her and how his statement does not correspond to what he told Byrd, Shabazz and Owens in the meeting room when he was being recorded but was not aware of the fact that he was being recorded.
It would appear Marshall Runkel is yet another deceptive liar, just like Nigel Jaquiss.
In another passage of the WW article, included below, it is suggested that Teressa Raiford assisted in organizing the meeting but Byrd denies this—another factual error in the article by Monahan? Byrd also makes it clear in the WW article that in her former meetings with other city commissioners she had never been treated in the way that Eudaly treated her, and her activist friends:
Besides Byrd, the meeting’s attendees also included Shei’Meka Owens and Omar Shabazz, according to the activist Teressa Raiford, who helped organize the group, called Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2. Byrd says her group’s treatment by a Eudaly staff member and the commissioner herself contrasts with the treatment they’ve received in other commissioners’ offices.
Byrd also eloquently stated in the WW article: “We all know that Eudaly is a loose cannon,” Byrd says. “Why is that OK? Why does she continue to get away with this? I’m not into making excuses for people. She’s a grown woman and an elected official. She was so irate and so unreasonable and so out of control.”
In the tape I listened to, Runkel is heard apologizing and not blaming the group of African American activists in any way. He is heard on the tape, speaking in a beseechingly earnest tone and apologizing repeatedly. At one point Runkel says: “This got off on a terrible foot today. Frankly, I’ve never seen something go as poorly, so I feel embarrassed. I’m really sincerely apologetic that things did not go better.”
Despite Runkel’s awkward recorded apology for Eudaly stalking out of the room, Alicia Byrd, as reported in the WW article was left with a poor impression, feeling that while Eudaly “demands respect” yet she fails to show even a minimum of “…deference to ordinary black constituents who lack titles or influential positions.” Byrd went on to say in the WW article: “It’s PRP—Portland racial politics. White politicians and elected officials are used to dealing with approved black folks.”
In the recording, one can hear that Byrd and the others are trying to understand why Eudaly has stormed off. The group discusses what happened and eventually Runkel asks the group not to repeat something he has told them but to “keep it between us” instead. This section of the recording can only be perceived as a revealing and troubling request on Runkel’s part. The content below covers the transcribed interaction:
Byrd: “Let Marshall please finish explaining, because I don’t understand what you’re saying Marshall. Because when I sent out the email, I sent it to Commissioner Eudaly, I sent it to Josiah, I sent it to Robin, I sent it to you, I sent it to James. I sent it to everybody. So how is it she doesn’t know?”
Runkel: “Well, it came up in our staff meeting this morning, and we just…I, uh, I didn’t see the attachment right there? And so we didn’t get it settled this morning in our meeting when we go through all the meetings that are gonna happen during the week? And uh, like…I just…we were past this one? And there was still, there were still questions in the air that we didn’t resolve this morning at our staff meeting, and so… that we didn’t resolve in our staff meeting. That’s where I’m taking responsibility in saying, we shoulda resolved that and had a clearer understanding… everybody sitting around the table…our whole staff this morning…when we…when we…when there were questions about what the purpose of this meeting was we shoulda… I shoulda have been the one to say “alright here’s what this was for, here’s who’s there”…and we coulda, we coulda, uh, we coulda gotten that resolved…”
Byrd: “I guess Marshall, here again, this been over two months. I sent the response several times, including to Robin. I don’t understand where the mis…and what it sounds like to me is because I didn’t… that I didn’t put it in the agenda?”
Runkel: “In the format, yeah, that’s right.”
Byrd: “I hope it’s something not that petty because different communities communicate differently? And as long as I sent you what it is we wanted to talk about, does it matter that it wasn’t in the format? I mean you all could have copied and pasted it in the format.”
Marshall: “No, no no! There’s no… I mean like… please hear me, like…”
Runkel: “I’m not putting any of this on you. It’s our… it’s our screw-up and so I apologize for that.”
Byrd: “But Marshall, you have to understand we left work…”
Byrd: We came down here, we have paid to park. We were expecting to have a conversation with Commissioner Eudaly, and her attitude was just stink. There’s no other way… but you’re saying you take responsibility for it, but we are not allowed to meet with Commissioner Eudaly? Because of commissioner Eudaly’s staff? An error on their part? Why are we paying—why are we paying the brunt of that?”
Long silence…Runkel does not answer.
Byrd: “And she’s not even willing to come back in here?”
Long silence…Runkel does not answer.
Owens: “I want resolution.”
Byrd: “Let him answer.”
Runkel: “Well… this got off on a… obviously on a terrible foot todaaay? And like, what I’m trying to do is be…is take responsibly for that and say lets…”
Omar Shabazz gets up to leave and attention shifts to him.
Byrd: “Are you leaving?”
Shabazz: “If she has an opportunity to come back I’m going to make sure that her allergies aren’t flared up because of me. I’ll be downstairs.”
Byrd: “Where are you going to be?”
Byrd: “You’re not going to just wait out there?”
Shabazz: “I’ll wait out here? I can be out here. You know, alright?”
Byrd turns her attention back to Marshall Runkel.
Byrd: “Is this how we’re treated by elected officials? And to tell you the truth…I can’t remember…”
Owens: “I feel like I got two fair questions. She made a proclamation that this is a fragrance free building. Where is it posted that this is a fragrance free building and what does that even mean?”
Runkel: “Uh, I don’t know… I don’t know the details of that.”
Owens: “Okay. And my other seemingly fair question is, if it’s a fragrance free building, i.e., her allergies cause her to not be able to be in this room with us right now, I’m trying to figure out why exactly there was an aversion to my request to remove the Ouija board off of the corner of the table where we’re having a meeting?”
Long silence, Runkel does not answer.
Owens: “And I feel like the commissioner can better field that question, but I wouldn’t even mind if you just asked her and just relayed that answer back, because I understand she can’t come back in the room because of her allergies and this is a fragrance free building.”
Owens: “And, oh, sorry… at that point when I was told: ‘Oh, so you’re coming into my office to tell me that you have a problem with something I have sitting on my table?’ Is that…was that…?”
Byrd: “That’s what she said. And that’s how she said it.”
Owens: “Yeah that’s what I thought. And it confused me because like I said, my understanding is this is a public space?”
Byrd: “Its public property—its public property.”
Owens: “And it’s for the public, actually… so that’s a really confusing take on…”
Byrd: “This is…this is horrible.”
Owens: “I have never, in my life!”
Byrd: “So, wait, Marshall, I am remembering that I did receive an email stating that…”
Owens: (whispers) “Wow!”
Byrd: “I believe it was you… would need to… when the initial conversation started, that you would sort of look at the issue it was we wanted to talk about. It was either you or James, I can’t remember… would do the requisite work or the prerequisite work in preparation for this meeting? So, it doesn’t even sound like that happened? Is commissioner Eudaly just trying to skirt the conversation about the interstate corridor urban renewal area? Because I have a thread of emails that show: “Send us the topic so we can do the requisite research,” and all of that. But then you’re saying that they just found out about it this morning?” Runkel: “Well, there’s clearly a communication breakdown on our side. Like, I saw your message, so it’s not like… I’m satisfied that you got the information to us that we needed to get to and it’s our fault, uh, for not preparing adequately.”
*At this point in the recording, Runkel has previously stated that he first did not see the “attachment” but later he contradicts himself and states that he did in fact see the “message.”
Byrd: “So what is Commissioner Eudaly’s reason then for not meeting with us? For not meeting with a group of black citizens who want to talk to her about an issue that is near to us? That impacts Portland’s black community? What is her reason for not meeting with us right now, after having this meeting scheduled and on her calendar for several weeks now?”
Runkel: “Well, I mean…”
Owens: “Well, let’s see… (scoffs quietly) he already answered it three times.”
Runkel: “Yeah, I mean it’s just, I think… I think things got off on a terrible foot and I’m takin’ the blame for not preparing well enough, and setting up the conditions so the conversation would go well. so…”
Byrd: “What is meant by it got off on a terrible foot? Who’s terrible foot because my feet feel fine?”
Runkel: “Well, I mean it sounds like you guys didn’t feel welcome when you came into the office and like, then there was that thing on the table and the fragrance thing and like it just…uh…at…and…uh…”
Runkel: “I mean, frankly, I’ve never seen something go as poorly as this went, so I feel embarrassed and like, I feel uh, really and sincerely apologetic that things did not go better.”
Prolonged silence, approximately 40 seconds.
Runkel: “And… have you guys ever had a… a really bad day? Like a terrible day? The commissioners had a terrible day.”
*The fact that Marshall Runkel would ask three African American people (including an elderly black gentleman) if they have ever had “a really bad day” is almost comical in its naivety and lack of insight into the human condition or the reality of institutionalized racism and its very real human aftermath that people of color survive every day.
Byrd: “I had a horrible day, today!”
Runkel: “Yeah, and she’s just…I think…”
Byrd: “That’s not an excuse, but go ahead Marshall….”
Runkel: “No, I’m just tryin’ to tell you what’s—what’s really goin’ on. Like, I wouldn’t take it personally; like, there’s been a lot of… it’s been a tough day.”
Owens: “How do you not…”
Byrd: “So why do we have to… she’s a public official!”
Owens: “Right. She could have called and cancelled, then.”
Byrd: “This is public service. Why do we have to take the brunt of her having a bad day?”
Runkel: “Well, if I could ask you for a favor, I would hope you would keep that between us? Uh, just uh…it’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation. Uh…”
Byrd: “So where… where do we go from here? Because if we schedule another appointment, who’s to say commissioner Eudaly is not going to have a bad day? So what do we do Marshall? As citizens, as taxpaying citizens of this city, what do we need to do to meet with Commission Eudaly?”
Owens: (Whispers) “I’m not gonna subject myself to that.”
Runkel: “Well, uh, if you can give me a day? I will get you an answer.”
Byrd: “So, just send you… what is your direct number?”
Runkel: “I can write it, if you give me your card, I can write it on the back. This is my mobile number and you can text me or… caaall.”
Byrd: “Okay, thanks Marshall.”
Runkel: “Here, my names on the front.”
Byrd: “Okay, cool.”
The meeting concludes and everyone gets up from the table and walks into the other room. Omar Shabazz is seated in a chair outside of the conference room. He and Shei’Meka Owens exchange words quietly before the tape ends.
Shabazz: “Hmmm…that person entered the room with a… with an attitude.”
Owens: “That wasn’t even an attitude, that’s VE-NOM, straight venom!”
During the recording what is most notable is the consistently apologetic tone used by Runkel, during which he apologizes profusely, blames himself and then asks the group not to share that Eudaly had had “a terrible day” and to “keep that between us.” Contrast this complete and accurate transcription of the recording and the manner that Runkel blames himself for the failure of the meeting, basically due to his personal incompetence to stay abreast of what emails were being sent to Eudaly’s office, to the lies Runkel told WW reporter Rachel Monahan and you will see an extremely deceptive man who is comfortable with lying to multiple people in order to make problems go away.
In the WW article, Runkel blames the three black Portland activists for the failure of the 2018 meeting by stating that they were “hostile” and “disrespectful” to Eudaly, and it becomes abundantly clear that Runkel has lied in an effort to protect his boss, and the power structure he benefits from as a white male working in City Hall.
*That Marshall Runkel chose to do this by casting aspersions on the character of three respected black activists and longtime Portland residents is what makes his actions and his lies entirely reprehensible.
This is WRONG.
The tone and language of the recording, and the subsequent article published by WW indicates a man, Runkel, who engages in a pattern of deception that is troubling and clearly immoral. The article also demonstrates a WW reporter, Rachel Monahan, who was more than willing to whitewash the reality of what actually occurred, and what she knew occurred. Monahan chose to promote Runkel’s deceptive version of events and by doing so, throw the integrity, veracity and reputation of three respected black activists under the proverbial bus. This also is wrong.
The way that Chloe Eudaly treated Ms. Alicia Byrd, Ms. Shei’Meka Owens, and Mr. Omar Shabazz, an elderly black man was WRONG, and then to have their reputations’ sullied by the substandard reporting of a WW reporter was also WRONG. This story demonstrates the ways Chloe Eudaly, and the white dominated media in Portland engage in a relaxed form of white supremacy they may not even be aware of, but which results in racial conflicts and a lack of understanding or fairness.
They should all be ashamed of themselves but I also know, they probably don’t care enough to feel shame at the harm they have caused.
Chloe’s Profanity to Marshall Runkel—the Whipping Boy
In a 2019 video, available on You Tube, called “Chloe Eudaly calls the police after being questioned about white privilege” Eudaly is followed by a man who she seems to know and calls “Eli” who identifies in the video as a man of color. Eli follows Eudaly and Marshall Runkel from City Hall several blocks north, during which Eudaly repeats herself that she does not want to speak with him and states she believes he is “stalking” her and making her feel “unsafe.” She then announces she is going to call the police, and file a “restraining order” against Eli, but doesn’t appear to get anywhere with the call, finally hanging up and continuing to walk. The videotape is not that remarkable with regard to Eudaly’s attitude toward the man following her. Eudaly demonstrates her usual lack of respect for others, her typical chatty reactionary responses and well-known inability to remain silent. But what is most remarkable is the way she treats Marshall Runkel—with an absolute lack of regard, and an aggressive level of contempt. It is unmistakable and incredibly bizarre considering all that he has done for her political career—a person with no educational background and no employment record to speak of.
Near the end of the video Eudaly hisses at Runkel: “Where IS this fuckin’ place?! No, it’s NOT! It’s not, no!” Runkel is speaking very softly, and cannot be heard, but it’s clear he’s being bullied and this is something he’s become used to. Watching Eudaly verbally abuse Marshall Runkel is revealing, pitiable and extremely unprofessional conduct. Her aggressive behavior, and crude, vulgar language is something one would expect from an illiterate street urchin, not an elected official working in city hall in Portland, Oregon. Is this the kind of abrasive, pedestrian person we want representing Portland in an official capacity, or creating policy that will have lasting economic and cultural impact on citizens who have lived here for decades and call Portland their home?
Citizen’s just like Omar Shabazz, Alicia Byrd, or Shei’Meka Owens?
Eudaly has further demonstrated her unsuitability for the political arena by threatening other council members in comically grandiose emails wherein she demonstrates her overall lack of mental sophistication by attempting to coerce their votes. Specifically she threatened Amanda Frizt, who I interviewed several years ago, and have found to be a highly competent Portland leader.
On September 18, 2019 Eudaly informed City Council colleagues in an angry email: “This will get uglier” if they voted against her on her plan to rewrite city policy on how local Portland’s 94 Neighborhood Associations function, and how they are managed. The threat reveals a woman with a poor understanding of the powerful impact precise language can have, or that polite, respectful discourse is expected from an elected official receiving a hefty monthly salary. Significant portions of the story are included below:
In an incendiary email sent Sept. 10, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly threatened to damage the reputation of Commissioner Amanda Fritz for opposing her changes to the way the city works with neighborhood associations. “I have tolerated her interference in my bureaus and mobilizing NA’s against me for 2+ years,” Eudaly writes. “I am done. If she persists, and especially if she gains any traction, this will get uglier, because it will become a referendum on her gross mismanagement of the bureau. In the email, which Eudaly sent separately to Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Nick Fish, Eudaly implied her colleagues could face similar consequences if they opposed her proposal.
Mingus Mapps Enters the Fray
After the 2016 Jaquiss article came out, depicting Fred Stewart as the stereotypical “violent and dangerous black man,” and his campaign run was destroyed, Eudaly later won the race as the surprise winner. Many people were indeed surprised someone like Eudaly had won, given her abject lack of employment history, lackluster educational background, and her consistently awkward social encounters with individuals far more qualified and educated than she. Later, Portlanders would learn of Eudaly’s abusive behavior toward those working for her. Much of that behavior mirrors known incidents of her abusive behavior toward Portland writers and employees at the second hand bookstore she owned and operated for many years, before becoming involved in politics, but that’s another story.
Portlanders further believe Eudaly won the race against Novick because she promised she would take on the important role of helping low income folks find affordable housing. Eudaly promised Portlanders she would create “rent control” measures to provide needed protections for at risk, low income renters, including the questionable practice of forcing landowners to pay tenants close to $5,000 to issue no cause evictions.
During her time in office, Eudaly hired and abruptly fired a highly educated and qualified black leader named Mingus Maps, with a Resume/Curriculum Vitae that would inspire admiration in anyone. After Mapps had been on the job six short months and when he objected to disciplining a subordinate worker, Eudaly promptly fired him. More information is provided below in a WW story:
He says he was fired from his city job after refusing to discipline a subordinate whom he thought was blameless. This week, he discussed his insurgent campaign, where he differs from Eudaly, and why it’s time for a leadership change.” Mr. Mapps, to his credit, goes on to delicately share his perspective on Eudaly’s clear incompetence by saying: “Clearly, one of the things that we don’t have right now is an evidence-based commissioner and a commissioner who will listen. A commissioner who will examine his or her assumptions when challenged. A commissioner who respects the public and a commissioner who respects staff.
In the recent race for seat 4, which included former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, Mingus Mapps got a large portion of the votes, and he and Eudaly are now set for a run-off in November of 2020. I know I speak for many Portlanders when I say that I fervently hope Mingus Mapps wins that runoff vote and I feel that way because I genuinely want what is best for Portland.
Pristine Ideals Don’t Agree with Eudaly’s Inability to Relate to People of Color
June 5, 2020 Eudaly published an admirable list of priorities regarding race, as a “blog post” which she titled: “Commissioner Eudaly’s Priorities for the Portland Police Bureau and Restorative Justice.” The list appears admirable, but it seems a hollow declaration considering her poor record regarding how she is not able to relate to people of color or at least treat them with a minimum of simple respect. The post seems like anything any number of white liberals could whip up in 15 minutes of writing, posting it on their website to prove to the public that they are the real deal, that they care, and that “Black Lives Matter!” It appears to be virtue signaling at its finest. When looking at Eudaly’s poor track record and the way she has treated people of color, the written statement appears entirely hollow.
And further considering the racist and dismissive way Eudaly treated Fred Stewart at the 2016 PSU Panel Discussion, (which again I witnessed) and considering the horrible way she treated Alicia Byrd, Shei’Meka Owens and Mr. Omar Shabazz in 2018 in City Hall, and considering her unjust firing of Mingus Mapps in 2019, all of these wonderful people of color, and assets to their Portland communities, and considering the petulant fashion that Eudaly demands to be “respected” with ingratiating shows of empty praise and flattery, upstaging even Steve Novick in the manner that she quickly became the very thing she had been protesting against, it is clear Eudaly is not suited for a lifetime career in politics.
*Miss Eudaly should be relegated as a political fluke, not to be repeated and not to be given another term in Portland city council for a literal plethora of sound reasons.
At this point you must be wondering: “Jeez, when will this essay end?” Well, Dear Reader, I have faith in you. I know because you’re still reading, you not only care about Portland as much as I do, but you are also an intelligent and inquisitive person and you want to come to the end of this reading marathon experience, which hopefully you will benefit from. So, please bear with me, we are approaching the explosive end of this particular reading journey.
Mingus Mapps or Chloe Eudaly for Seat Four: Who is best for Portland?
It would not take a genius to come to the obvious conclusion that Mingus Mapps is indeed the better choice for Portland City Council, as compared to Chloe Eudaly, burdened as she is with her inability to perform or relate to people in a mature or respectful manner, and particularly to people of color, as her track record has proven over a period of several years.
Mingus Mapps grew up in Portland and has family going back several generations who have lived in Portland. Mapps has distinguished himself by graduating from Reed College and then completing advanced degrees at Harvard and a PhD in political science from Cornell University. He understands that rent control is a quick “Band Aid” fix for the housing crisis in Portland but also that: “It’s a bad policy.” He understands the manner that rent control leads to racial discrimination in who is housed and who is not, and he has stated he does not want Portland to become another “San Francisco or New York.” I could not agree more.
Mapps worked for six months for an office which Eudaly oversees, called the Office of Community and Civic Life, but after being asked to “discipline” an employee because of their “body language” and refusing to do so, Mapps was fired by Chloe Eudaly. Mapps explains: “I was asked to do unethical things and I declined.”
Mapps is described by those who know him as caring, loving, patient and kind. He is the father of two sons and worked as a college professor, teaching political science to students of all ages. He understands that the small black community in Portland needs more than it has been getting from white leaders. Mingus Mapps is the kind of leader Portland City Council needs. Someone with the background, and the maturity to know how to lead large groups of people harmoniously and respectfully, who does not seek out Yes People, personal worshipers or grandiose displays of praise or “respect” to feel good about himself. This is the kind of accomplished person that Portland needs in City Council.
An Explosive Statement, made with a smile and a shrug
When speaking with Fred Stewart over the years, he often repeated a story about a conversation he had with Chloe Eudaly in the parking lot of the Portland Tribune building during the 2016 run for City Council. The Tribune had conducted an interview at a conference table, and all the usual suspects were there. This included Steve Novick, Chloe Eudaly, Stuart Emmons and Fred Stewart.
As Stewart was walking to his car, Eudaly was heading to her car, along with Stuart Emmons close behind. Eudaly approached Stewart to ask what he thought of the meeting and they began to talk. Stewart had long ago tried to accept Eudaly for the person she was, even after the poor impression she made on him during the February 2016 PSU panel discussion in which she claimed to know more about black concerns than he did, because she was a “business owner.” Despite Eudaly’s lack of employment or volunteer history, Stewart was always willing to engage with her in discussions concerning politics, housing, and what was needed in Portland to create lasting social change.
As they discussed the meeting with the Portland Tribune, Stewart took issue with the fact that none of the Tribune representatives asked any questions about black issues or the realities of racism in Portland. He complained that they did not talk about those issues once, unless he brought the topic up, and further complained that they showed no interest whatsoever in issues pertaining to black Portland.
Stewart: “I told her, we’re going to go through this whole process again in the next meeting, and black issues aren’t going to come up at all. To that Chloe said: “It doesn’t need to come up every single time.” Then we started talking about rent control and I told her: “Rent control hurts more black people than white people in Portland.” She couldn’t seem to get her head around that. So, I told her: “There’s two major issues about this, this rent control thing is detrimental for all poor people. That includes everyone on a fixed income. You’re basically telling poor people get out of Portland. Most black people live in that category of living, just below the poverty line. They have a one to 13 chance of being accepted if they apply for housing, because there’s so few of us and so many white people. And I told her: “Make no mistake Chloe; rent control is going to hurt poor people in general. Rent Control is attacking poor people, but it’s going to hurt black people especially.”
When I asked Fred Stewart what Chloe’s demeanor was when they were having this discussion he told me she didn’t care what he had to say:
Stewart: “She didn’t care! That was her attitude. She didn’t care how this would affect poor people or especially black people. She just didn’t care! I tried to explain to her that the issue was supply and demand and she just kind of laughed. She looked at me as if I was a kid, like I really didn’t know what I was talking about. Me, Fred Stewart! I had been selling real estate in Portland for almost 30 years by then. I had worked in banking, in real estate, and she actually thought she understood housing issues better than me. The thing is, with apartments that have rent control; they are managed mostly by white people. And when white people become the managers, they rent to their family first and then their friends and their friends of friends. That’s just how it works and the room for corruption is endless. This pushes out people of color. The whole system becomes complicit in discriminatory public policy, even unwittingly.”
I asked my friend Fred Stewart what Eudaly said at the close of their discussion and he floored me with his response. He told me Chloe Eudaly said this: “Look Fred, I understand what you’re saying, but white people have done enough for black people. Sometimes we have to do what’s best for everybody.”I was floored. And yet, knowing Eudaly, and her pattern of relaxed racism and her well-known inability to relate to people of color but rather to just offend PoC again and again, and alienate them with her ignorance and callousness, I was also not surprised.
In the years I’ve known Fred Stewart he has never once lied to me. Fred has always been completely honest, forthright and truthful, almost too truthful, about his life, his memories, or what people have said to him, even the horrible things, such as the incidents of racism he’s survived, being called the N word, which happened to him recently only a couple of years ago when a man in a car drove by and screamed the N word out his car window. I’ve talked to Fred when he’s been at his best, when he’s been happy and full of laughter and I’ve talked with him when he was deeply hurt by circumstances beyond his control, due to the way others have used and betrayed him. I have absolutely no reason not to believe his every word when he has recounted conversations he had with Chloe Eudaly during 2016, because it confirms a pattern of hostility, profound ignorance and a belief that she knows what’s best for people of color, or even that what is best for them is secondary to white people and what is “best for everybody.”
White people often don’t believe they’re racist, and cannot accept the ways that internalized racist beliefs may impact them and how they treat people of color. Just look at this commentary written by Fred Stewart in 2017 regarding a chance encounter with Mark Zusman, editor of Willamette Week and you can come to your own conclusion. The link here is unsettling and illustrates perfectly the manner that white liberals reject their own complicit involvement in racist behavior.Its complicated: Racism in Portland, by Fred Stewart.
But just think about what Eudaly said to Stewart. Just think about how anyone could actually believe that, “…white people have done enough for black people.” Is this the kind of ignorant, uneducated woman we want in Portland’s City Council? Is this the kind of white person we want representing Portland in any official capacity? That is for you to decide, Dear Reader, because I already know how I feel on the matter and I know who I support and who I do not support. Call to Action: Combating Racism in Portland Media: Holding Journalists’ Accountable
There are many things a person can do to combat racism and to combat yellow journalism which promotes racial stereotypes as well. What is needed today, in the racially charged climate following the aftermath of the deaths of several innocent black people, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, all killed within only short months of each other is people courageous enough to put themselves out there, on a limb so to speak.
This means if you see something that is racist, DO something about it. If you see a coworker make an inappropriate comment, or perpetuate a racial stereotype, confront that person in a direct manner and ask them why they would say or do that. If you see someone being attacked because of their race, for example, if you go to a supermarket and see a woman of color, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic or Native American being told to “Go back to your own country!” by another person, don’t just walk away but say something that makes sense. Take a risk and put yourself out there in some way. If you see a family of color being shunned in your neighborhood, do the opposite and make them feel welcome. Some other things to think about are listed below…
One.) Get to know someone of a different race and listen to them share their lived experience if they are troubled and need your friendship.
Two.) Give your time to that coworker, or neighbor or even a stranger that you meet who you feel might be contending with the deep hurt of the emotional isolation that racism causes. Take a chance and reach out.
Three.) Speak up about the injustice of racism, even if someone tells you that you shouldn’t. You can do this by making a video, or writing an essay about the destructive impact of racism and those who are harmed by it, or having a discussion on social media or Zoom about the impact of racism.
Four.) Try to understand what White Privilege really is and what it means… but without hating yourself in the process. In other words, don’t sing “The Guilty Song” and then walk away, freed from caring or freed from doing for your fellow man, when you are able to help.
Five.) Recognize how unconscious bias works in the minds of other white people and how it works with you, too. Be mindful of how unconscious bias can sabotage your efforts to create bridges of compassion, love and unity.
Six.) Use your voice and your platform in your community and in your workplace to support colleagues who are people of color, even if something as seemingly minor as a “Micro-aggression” takes place. Watch and be mindful of the ways people communicate with each other, including how you communicate with others.
Seven.) Understand also, that systemic racism goes beyond police brutality and exists everywhere, including in print and the broadcast media, in universities, in grammar schools and in millions of American homes.
Eight.) Put yourself in another persons shoes—try to imagine what their lives are like—empathize, feel their pain, and connect on a human feeling level. Take a chance and reach our in friendliness and love.
PORTLAND MEDIA: In terms of combating the relaxed racism you see in the Portland media, you can hold racist journalists accountable by objecting to something racist you see in a written article or commentary. You can email them, call them on the phone, or you can create a website, become a writer, and engage in social justice by writing as a social act, in much the way I have done for many years now, since first creating my writing website in 2007. And if that means you have to publish your own article, essay or commentary to your own website, to see it get out there in public media, then do it. Be brave enough to speak out, and to Hell with those people who may object for whatever reason. Follow your conscience and do what you know is right and that involves speaking out or writing out your thoughts, your perspective and what your human values are. That involves going out on a limb, with no expectation of any return, but just the knowledge and satisfaction that you did the right thing and you tried to make a difference for the right reasons.
And if you love Portland as much as I do, then VOTE FOR MINGUS MAPPS in November 2020!
Final Note: Nigel Jaquiss, Mark Zusman, Steve Duin, Rachel Monahan, Chloe Eudaly, and Marshall Runkel were all contacted via email requesting any comments they might be willing to share. They chose to remain silent and did not respond to my polite queries requesting their perspective, comments or explanations. Their collective silence is revealing, at least to me personally, as a longtime writer, author, poet and woman of letters.
If you have any questions about this essay or wish to post a public statement, you may email me at email@example.com and I will post your comment. Comments containing profanity or threats will not be considered. As this is a traditional Google Sites website and not a blog, immediate comments are not possible. Thank you for your understanding.
My name is Fred Stewart, This is a story about the time I was attacked by the leader of the KKK when I lived in New Albany Mississippi in 1976. This is a Facebook post. I share this story so people have a reference that victims of racism and white supremacist terrorist organizations are alive and well. This is one of the hundreds if not thousands of times I as a black man in America have had to face racism in all of its brutality. I am not different than most black Americans. We all have our stories. I hope you have a chance to listen to them someday. You should ask the black people in your life to share their stories and listen because they are always educational.
About six weeks before I moved to Portland. I played little league. I wasn’t very good at baseball. My younger brother, Tony, and I were literally the last two picked for the team. We lost most of our games that summer. We were dead last in the entire season. It was like something right out of the movie Bad News Bears. The last game of the season we faced one of the best teams in the league and a contender for the play-offs. We were one up and it was the bottom of the 9th. Everyone in the league knew I wasn’t very good. But I’m out in the outfield at the bottom of the 9th and we were a point up. It was a classic two outs, and the bases were loaded. The batter hit the ball in my direction and the sun was in my eyes and I just reached up, and just as the ball was going over the fence I caught it and we won the game. They lost, we won. The pitcher, we were told was the son of the leader of the Mississippi KKK After the game this guy comes up to me, the pitcher’s father and he grabbed me by the chest and lifted me up the ground and started cussing me out. He was a tall guy, and I was eye to eye with him. He lifted me up and was screaming at me, right in my face, calling me Nigger this, and Nigger that.
He’s telling me I was gonna see my last day on earth soon. Here I was, just a little kid, and he was screaming at me at the tops of his lungs, letting me know I was about to die. He threatened to kill me. This was all over a baseball game. He told me I’d seen my last days on this planet. I still remember him and that day almost as if it was yesterday. I remember the guy was about as tall as my father who was 6 foot. He wore a cowboy hat, a white button down shirt, blue jeans, and had boots on. He was a typical red neck white guy, and was at least in his late thirties or early forties, a very angry guy, scruffy beard and mustache. Black people were really pissed but so were the white people, and most important Mr. Parks was pissed. Everybody took that seriously. Mr. Marks was the owner of Parks Auto. A Chevrolet dealership in New Albany back then.
I could see my mother was in the outfield parking lot, where a lot of people like to watch the game. They were all out there. My mother, when she saw what went down, she knew who he was, because she was working as a dispatcher at the Union Country Sheriff’s Office. So she knew exactly who he was. My mother was trying to get over to us, but my uncle Earnest and some other people were holding her back. They didn’t mean to but they ended up ripping off her shirt off—my mother wanted to get a piece of that guy and she even lost both of her shoes getting away from everyone. My mother came running and she jumped over the fence, meanwhile the guy is still yelling at me. Well, he heard my mother screaming at him and when he saw her, he just dropped me. My mother was screaming and cussing running toward us topless and shoeless and mad as hell….LOL As soon as he saw her, he dropped me like a rock.
That was a pretty impressive sight. A bunch of white people ran over and I heard people screaming at the guy. It was a big deal. It didn’t hit the papers but it was the talk of the town for a long time. Anyway, when things settled down a little Mr. Parks came over to my house. He was white, and he was the sponsor of the team and father of our couch. He came over to me, and said: “Tomorrow we’re having a big bonfire, with marshmallows and lots of food, hotdogs, hamburgers and I want you to come. That man did something very bad to you today. But he’s gonna come to you tomorrow and he’s gonna apologize to you. He’s gonna reach out his hand to you, and shake your hand, and he’s gonna apologize and say he’s sorry. Can you shake his hand and accept his apology? Can you do that?” So, I told him, I could.
Then Mr. Parks says: “Now, remember he is your elder but I appreciate how you handled everything today. You were a good boy!” I could tell Mr. Parks was pissed. He was clearly shaken by what happened. The party was a tradition with Mr. Parks and my brother and I had planned on going anyway. The baseball team was an integrated team, too. We never had any problems at all, we always got along. We had a good time at this party. And sure enough the guy shows up and he comes up in front of everybody, and God, and friends and family were all there. There could easily have been over 100 people there, and right there in front of everyone he came up and he apologizes to me. And he reached out his hand for a handshake and I shook his hand. He said he was sorry and said I played a good game.
Later, Mr. Parks came up to me and he said: “Fred, thank you for doing that. You did a good thing. You’re a good boy. No one is ever going to bother you again like that. That was not a good thing. And that never should have happened to you.”
So, about four years later, when I’m about sixteen, I went back to visit my grandmother for Thanksgiving, and people were still taking about it. Several people came up to me and said: “Hey aren’t you the guy the clan was after?” What I found out later was that Mr. Parks was really pissed. He was either the head of the board of the local bank, or something else but he had a lot of power. And he was one of the richest guys in town. Basically he told the guy if he didn’t apologize to me in from of God and everybody, and if he didn’t make it right, he’d be sorry. He told him: “If you don’t apologize to that kid, you’ll never get another loan from anybody in this state again, period!” Mr. Parks tore this guy a new asshole. And the guy apologized. And the guy did exactly what Mr. Parks told him to do, in front of everyone, black and white. They all took it seriously. There were a lot of white people who were pissed—in southern fashion. At the time, they considered me a city boy, but Mr. Parks still made him apologize to me. And I remember the pitcher, who was the clan member’s son; he came up to me after his Dad yelled at me, and he shook my hand and congratulated me on the game, and said: Good game!”
Number one, I learned how important a community is and number two, I learned that not all white people are racist. There were just as many white people who were pissed off about that, as black people. And number three, I think the biggest thing I learned was that this was not the only time this was going to happen. I felt like it was just the beginning. I had heard all the stories that my family went through, stories of the Night Riders (The Klan), knocking on their doors, looking for people. Basically after you go through something like that, you’re always on guard after that. Some people call it getting “activated.” I think I got activated after that. I don’t think I was quite the same again; I was just always on guard after that. My uncle told me he was worried that was going to be the end of my childhood. That he didn’t want me to stop being a little boy.
And I remember both of my grandmothers had to kind of had to sit on my Dad, to keep him from coming down to Mississippi from Milwaukee. My maternal Grandmother had to put a lot of effort into my father. I was scared he would come down and get killed. I think that was the first time I realized serious things were. I went to bed that night with a lot on my mind. I was worried about my mother and father. I was just 11 years old. . My Dad was pissed about that for years. I remember my grandmother yelling at him on the phone that night, and telling him that nothing was going to happen to “Freddie” and he needed to stay home. But I do remember years ago, I remember my mother saying that I was never quite the same after that. How could anyone be. Over the years I have had a lot of different emotions to what happened. I have laughed, I have been angry. I have used it as a point of understanding of what others have a faced when it comes to fearing for ones life. I think it could be one of the many reasons I hate bullies and violent people and have always strived to be comfortable with violence. I feel violent people are threats to the community. Violent people are unavoidable and that they must be stood up to and defeated. I am 55 and I am still trying to figure life out like everyone else. One thing is for certain. I learned a lot that day
Rumor has it that Trump wants to be impeached and is more than happy to let the House pass articles of impeachment to take to the Senate for trial.
During the trial, the President’s attorneys would for the first time have the right to subpoena and question anyone they wanted, unlike with the Special Counsel investigation, which was one-sided.
Trump’s lawyers would determine what testimony is allowed, including: DNC collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the election in favor of Hillary Clinton, the creation of the fake Trump dossier, the cover-up and destruction of emails that included incriminating information.
During the impeachment trial, our favorite coup-plotters would testify. A lot of dirt would be dug up. They would incriminate each other for lying to the FISA Court, for spying on the Trump campaign and for colluding with foreign political actors, including China, Qatar and George Soros.
The Senate will not convict the President, particularly because he committed no crime.
After the Senate acquits the President, there will an election, and Trump will win. It will be a backlash against Democrat hypocrisy and dishonesty. Many more Liberals will #WalkAway, many more blacks will #Blexit, many more Latinos will #Lexit.
Nancy Pelosi probably knows this and will probably try to stop it from happening. Enjoy the show!
Hello friends! The Portland papers are abuzz with the various details of two Portland women running for City Council. Joann Hardesty and Loretta Smith happen to be those women. Yet no one seems to be talking about something I believe they should be talking about, and that is the historic significance of this race!
Why is it this race historic? Because two women of color—two black women are running for city council in a town that is primarily white and in some circles is referred to as “the whitest city in the United States.” This is an important race because for too long the issues and concerns of black folks in Portland have been ignored and disregarded by white leaders who demonstrate that the black residents in their town are just not all that important to them. Smith and Hardesty will change that!
From what I’ve seen, both women are capable of doing the job. Each woman possesses the skills and the life experience to be great leaders, and the fact is they will change the dynamic of Portland City Council and perhaps even forever. Frankly, that can only be a good thing. Portland City council has long been an ‘all white club’ and Hardesty and Smith are going to change that dynamic, as well they should!
History shows us that in Portland whenever there has been a woman on city council, there has been a positive change and impact for the entire city and right now we have a choice between two black women. I hope Portlanders’ can see exactly what I mean when I say this is a historic moment for Portland. And I’m actually surprised that the media hasn’t written more about this historic time in Portland.
I can’t help but wonder, why are the newspapers not covering that aspect of this race? Why are there no women’s groups writing about the historic significance of this moment in Portland history? I’m flummoxed by the lack of focus on that part of it, because this is history in the making.
If you are wondering who I might endorse, I’m going to tell you I will not endorse either Hardesty or Smith. Who you vote for is up to you but I strongly encourage all reading my commentary here to do the research on your own. Read up on both candidates and come to your own conclusion. Decide for yourself who you think will best do the job because they’re both capable, they’re both talented and they’re both strong women who in the end will make Portland a better place, no matter their current or future roles within the city.
After thinking about the historic importance of this race it occurred to me that Portland is moving closer to becoming a city that is actually more inclusive and progressive to all its residents and not only the white majority of citizens, and everyone should take a moment to think about this shift. It is long overdue.
The citizens of Portland should take some time to pay attention to both these qualified candidates and make a personally informed choice as to who they decide to vote for.
The public should not, in my opinion, decide their vote based on any kind of endorsement or local opinion from any print or online media in Portland. I base this on the negative history the black community has had with media in Portland overall, and the fact that Portland media routinely does not show black residents of Portland that they care about them or their issues, or concerns.
Furthermore, there is the indisputable fact that Portland media does not hire black staff writers when the city abounds with thousands of qualified black writers who would be a benefit to any newspaper, writing meaningful articles on any number of cultural, social and political topics which impact people of color. It is for this reason that I do not trust the endorsements of Portland media on which person of color they decide to endorse because invariably the person doing the endorsing is not a person of color or even familiar with issues pertaining to people of color.
In closing, I will say that we all need to appreciate this historic moment in Portland’s history because at the end of the day we’ve got two women of color who can both get the job done.
I think we’re growing up as a community regardless of any divisive influences that may still try to tear us apart. We should understand that too, that no matter how transparent this race may seem, there are divisive influences and people who regard races like this as a war and will try to cheapen it and make people lose focus of the historic reality of this race and the importance of both women to the city of Portland and its future.
I’m just so proud of Portland right now and of both of these capable and qualified women. Trust your own judgment, do your own research and decide for yourself who you think the better candidate is and then vote for that candidate!
Joann Hardesty and Loretta Smith are two women we should all be proud of and we need to remember that this race is bigger than both of them and it’s bigger than all of us. We are making history in Portland and this is actually happening in the days of Trump!
Written May 5, 2018, published to the internet May 10, 2018
Does character matter in Portland Journalism? Does it matter that Portland media is controlled by the long-established white elite? Does it matter that the newspapers in Portland routinely do not focus on important issues that impact people of color? Does it matter that the newspapers in this town do not hire people of color as staff writers? And does it matter where and how Portland newspapers get their ad revenue, in order to stay afloat? These questions do matter and they need to be answered.
The years 2017 and 2018 will become known as the years that sexual predators were given notice—at least in the entertainment industry and national media. They will become known as the years American women and the federal government decided to really fight back against the heartbreaking sexual exploitation of the young and the disenfranchised of our country, which includes underage children. https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/opinions/2018-will-be-the-year-of-women-schnall/index.html
These victims are our neighbors and folks we pass on the street every day. They matter and their protection and their futures matter.
When considering print media in Portland, have you ever wondered how one defines what moral goodness or judgment and leadership in journalism actually means? For example, how would Portlanders feel if they discovered one of their local newspapers had a longtime business relationship with Backpage.com—a relationship that goes back more than ten years and represents the exchange of large sums of money?
Backpage.com, if you remember, was seized by the federal government and shut down in early April of this year due to the rampant sex trafficking of poor marginalized women and underage children. This represents women and children of all colors, with ties as far away as Europe and ties right here in “Portlandia” Portland, Oregon, a city once renowned for its now nonexistent “livability.” Those various ties lead directly to sex traffickers, rapists, and pedophile fetishists who for many years lurked in the dim shadows of Backpage.com, advertising their wares with countless newspapers acting as an instrument of their dissemination. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/backpage-seized-by-government-indictment_us_5ac7d222e4b07a3485e49e16
Willamette Week has benefitted from doing business with Backpage.com, to the tune of perhaps millions of dollars and that relationship goes back at least a decade and maybe even longer than that. With this well-known fact, why did Oregon’s own attorney general, Ms. Ellen Rosenblum knowingly allow this to occur? Her platform while running for office was to crack down on sex trafficking in the state of Oregon.
Ellen Rosenblum is the wife of Richard Meeker, and Richard Meeker owns Willamette Week, along with frosty editor, Mark Zusman. In the attached video watch for yourself as Rosenblum stutters, minimalizes and attempts to distance herself, (not very successfully) from her husband Richard Meeker’s longtime financial relationship with Backpage.com. KOIN News Story on WW and Back Page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qPjnnUnw4Q
Most Portlanders have long known about Willamette Week’s cheesy back section, with all the personal sex ads, and the photos of half naked women, and half naked men, but it’s safe to wager that most people in Portland don’t know that Willamette Week received a lion’s share of their funding from Backpage.com, that is before it was shut down last month. CEO Back Page Pervert Arrested in Texas. https://abcnews.go.com/US/video/backpage-ceo-arrested-texas-pimping-charges-42635311
And most people also don’t know that while Willamette Week has denied doing business with Backpage.com, they have continued to do so on multiple occasions.
It’s not illegal to advertise for a strip club, and we all know Willamette Week has for decades financed their newspaper by doing business with such people, (just look in the back of the newspaper and you’ll see all the saucy ads for strip clubs) but accepting money from strip clubs is not the same as accepting money from “escorts” and other businesses who specialize in “massages” or “private dances” or even “lingerie modeling.”
And most folks know that those businesses are in reality only fronts for simple prostitution—with many of the prostitutes hired for that kind of work being underage minors. More than simple prostitution, the women, and girls and boys who are sold for such services are routinely victims of even more extreme forms of violent fetishistic sex abuse, thanks to Backpage.com and similar websites. Often it is the degradation and humiliation of these young victims that motivates the rapists and pedophiles who actively seek out this kind of perverse “anger retaliatory” sexual abuse.
There is one case, also directly related to Backpage.com, wherein a 14-year-old Washington girl was sold for sex and raped by up to 15-30 men per day in dangerous and prolonged sexual assaults. Her captivity lasted several weeks until she was able to escape. The physical, emotional, psychological and psycho-sexual damage to the women and children who survive such horror is difficult to measure. But we can be confident it represents a huge loss in human capital, and lost human potential not only for Portland but for the entire states of Oregon and Washington. Victims of extreme sexual abuse often develop emotional and psychological disabilities which prevent them from working or engaging in normal proactive activities associated with self-improvement, self-reliance and self-efficacy. https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/backpage-ceos-targeted-in-washington-sex-trafficking-lawsuit/393167720
Backpage.com was seized by the federal government because they operated without concern for rule of law, or for the human damage they were causing to thousands of innocent women and children. Their profits have been estimated to exceed hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps even one billion dollars. All these degenerates cared about was the money, and they had many willing accomplices in their business, including US newspapers that were more than willing to take the money and look the other way. Willamette Week was one of those newspapers. And that alliance has resulted in Oregon’s own attorney general, wife of Richard Meeker, to turn the other way, pretend ignorance of what was going on, and deny she knew anything about what her husband was up to, doing business with predator street pimps dragging around laptops, and engaging in the sexual slavery of women and children all across this country.
KOIN did an excellent story in 2015 detailing the Willamette Week and Backpage.com alliance. The story includes a revealing quote from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “Pimps and predatory offenders are a way that escort ads on Backpage.com provide a marketplace of young girls and boys to purchase for rape and other sexual activities.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qPjnnUnw4Q
Do Portlanders really want to take the political endorsements Willamette Week provides seriously, during its various political races? If in order to survive as yet another beleaguered print newspaper, Willamette Week was so desperate for money they were willing to take money from pimps and other criminals who rape women and children, do we really want to take anything they say about their political endorsements seriously? Given whom they do business with?
In terms of Willamette Week, what is more important, the fact that we have a Pulitzer prize winner as the head writer, Nigel Jaquiss, AKA, the Assassin? (A mean spirited journalist and once aspiring novelist who loves nothing more than digging into a twisted juicy sex scandal) or that Willamette Week has stayed in operation for decades and benefited financially from Backpage.com? The same Backpage.com that for years promoted the slow and agonizing suffering of women and children who have been sex trafficked in the city of Portland and elsewhere?
Who is going to hold Willamette Week responsible and expose their reprehensible hypocrisy? And what of the other newspapers in Portland, such as the Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune? Is there an unspoken agreement among these newspapers that they will not blow the whistle on Willamette Week’s long and fruitful relationship being funded by pimps and sex traffickers?
When sexual predators are being taken to task for their crimes, shouldn’t we also demand to know how newspapers benefit financially in order to keep their papers up and running? And if it comes out that newspapers are doing business with pimps, then shouldn’t there be legal ramifications from law enforcement? Should those papers be sued, fined, and exposed as the hypocrites they are?
More importantly, should Willamette Week, given their history with Backpage.com be held legally and financially liable to the victims of sexual slavery and sex trafficking that has occurred in Portland and surrounding areas, and deemed complicit in the abuse of those victims?
Don’t you think Willamette Week owes the citizens of Portland an explanation? If this newspaper no longer accepts money from pimps, rapists, and pedophiles, then for how long have they not been taking that blood-soaked money?
The hypocrisy of Willamette Week truly boggles the mind.
However, it is only a matter of time before Willamette Week finally kicks the bucket and dissolves, going belly up like so many other irrelevant newspapers that can’t compete with internet news websites and the competitive costs of production.
When Willamette Week finally experiences its melancholy death rattle, is it true Nigel Jaquiss plans on moving to France and splitting town? Only time will tell.
Coauthored by Fred Stewart and Theresa Griffin Kennedy
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State—from January 21, 2009, until February 1, 2013—after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and Senator. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Portland Friends and family, I’d like you to think about something I find important socially and culturally, and also distressing. It seems that the world is changing and in many ways for the worse; those changes are happening in Portland as well. Perhaps what some consider “the new world order “is slowly taking effect here, but with those changes are coming to some horrible consequences that are going to divide this country. Unless social justice fighters and city leaders do something to maintain the idea and the practice of social equity for all, we will all see a new Portland being ushered onto the stage of our town.
For the last several months I’ve been doing all I can to help people I know and people I come across when they need to locate a roommate so they can survive with a roof over their head. More and more people in Portland are losing their housing. There are families living in vehicles, being put under all kinds of stressors in their struggle to simply have a place they can call home, a roof over their heads, a place where they can stay warm and dry, away from the debilitating effects of the elements and the sickness and disease that come from living outside. There are women alone, who are being repeatedly sexually assaulted because they cannot find housing, or are being turned away from shelters that are filled to capacity, living alone and terrified of the dangers of the street.
With my full-time work, as a real estate broker and my busy life, I’ve not been able to help as many folks as I’d like to, in their efforts to find housing or a roommate, but I’ve helped quite a few and I’m proud of that. But the most distressing thing I’ve noticed while interacting with these folks is that there has been a new development happening in Portland and it’s frightening, to say the least. A new phenomenon is happening in the Rose City. House-less folks, in their desperation, to find a place to rest their heads, most of them who are also working people are offering to rent out homeowners backyards!
There’s a bidding war going on solely for spaces like this so that folks can pitch a tent and sleep outside! And landowners are taking advantage of it. They are taking advantage of the desperation of working people who cannot afford to rent an apartment in 2017 because with all the move-in fees they might need up to $3,000 or more dollars just to move in, let alone pay rent in Portland. I’m seeing people offer anywhere between $100 to as much as $600 per month for the opportunity to pitch a tent in someone’s wet backyard. For $600 a month they get to sleep outside in the wet cold, with no access to a kitchen, or even a toilet. If they’re lucky, they might get a landowner willing to allow an extension cord for electricity in their tent, so that they might be able to operate a small space heater, a hot plate or perhaps even a computer. Sometimes these folks ask for that extension cord out to the tent and access to a toilet, but it is certainly not assured. Many of these folks don’t even ask for that. How they are going to use a restroom in order to relieve themselves while they’re in their tent or near their tent I have no idea but think of how dehumanizing that would be! Can you? Can you even imagine the sense of hopelessness, the despair and the complete lack of dignity in having to live like that, and in being taken advantage of by property owners willing to do that?
Is this what we want Portland to become known for?
The bottom line is we’re seeing a frightening trend happening right in “keep it weird” Portland; a town known for its supposed activism, dedication to social equity and bigheartedness. Property owners are ready, willing and able to exercise a form of extreme economic power and control never seen before in Portland. They are offering little more than a patch of dirt for a struggling person or couple, or family with children and even infants to pitch a tent and live outside in the freezing cold for the price of what used to get a family of four a two bedroom apartment!
Are you wondering why this matters? Are you wondering if this trend will impact you? Well, friends, as an expert in the housing and real estate market for nearly 35 years, I’ve learned a few things, and you should be thinking about it because the reality is, you’re only ONE paycheck away from living under a bridge, especially now in the harsh and uncaring climate we see in Portland, Oregon. What this trend shows with crystal clear clarity is that a person need not be the wealthiest person in the market to be able to compete against others, and use what little advantage they have to gain monetarily from someone else’s misfortune, bad luck or desperation.
A person who makes just a little bit more money than the next guy can offer someone a spot to pitch a tent in their backyard. I’ve even heard of stories of folks renting houses who are renting out the backyards. That is the same reality we are seeing with our housing market when it comes to rentals. It comes down to supply and demand and what people are willing to pay simply for space to live. With 75% of new housing developments being constructed consisting of only luxury housing, where does that leave the Portlanders who’ve lived here their whole lives, who may also be low income? Where does that leave people of color, the elderly, or those disabled folks who live on a fixed income?
But the end result is that this pattern I see will create a shifting set of values that will in time become acceptable. Renting out tiny houses, renting out backyards is the beginning of a social and cultural shift in this country where poverty is being normalized and acceptable. Do we want a city of two people? The poor living in tiny houses and tents, with the house living better, with heat, kitchens, bathrooms? Does Portland want to normalize the rise of elitism, by normalizing the kind of desperate poverty?
Do we want a tale of two cities?
From what I know, all Portland need is more HOUSING. And we have the money to develop it. We need more adequate housing for low-income folks. Not tiny houses, not tents in wet, cold backyards but actual HOUSING that is affordable and not inflated. But that means the leaders in Portland have to value these things and also acknowledge that there is something sinister happening in Portland. Its a slow insidious form of elitism and its impact will gain momentum if we don’t do something to stop it.
What do you want Portland to be known for? Do you think all Portlanders deserve housing? Do you think poor people should live outside? Do you think this new city of the haves and the have-nots should continue in Portland
when it could be averted?
Email me with your thoughts, post a comment below or contact me via Facebook. I’m interested to know that you think.