A group of activists called “People for Portland”, has got under Mayor Ted Wheeler’s skin. Wheeler wants Portlanders to take pride in the downtown area again.
Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, told Oregon Public Broadcasting Monday that people should be proud of what the city is doing to recover despite the difficult circumstances.
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek announced a list Monday of recommendations for revitalizing Portland, including new tax relief policies and trash cleanup programs. She also proposed a ban on drug consumption in public.
People for Portland have erected large billboards in downtown Portland that are not particularly kind to Portland’s leadership. The billboards criticize the city for its crime and homelessness issues and attack Mike Schmidt, the radical district attorney backed by George Soros.
Billboards in the city proclaim “record crime”, and “murderers” on the streets and other frightful accusations.
Wheeler, a former state senator who has not run for reelection, and has avoided much of the criticism from the group, believes the campaign to be wrongheaded. Portland’s crime rate is declining. He said the billboards are deterring event planners, business owners, tourists, and potential residents from investing in Portland.
Wheeler stated that “we compete with other cities across the country to get jobs, investments, travel and tourism.” Wheeler said, “We make it easy for our competitors when we put up billboards saying, ‘We stink really bad here’.”
People for Portland deny that their advertising campaign has damaged Portland’s reputation. “Only a desperate politician would blame a sign for the reality right beneath it,” said Dan Lavey.
He said that the problems in Portland were caused by failed politicians, policies, and leadership, not by a billboard.
Wheeler asked Gov. Kotek’s plan of revitalization was designed to counter the negative publicity the city received. Kotek’s recommendation that the city bans public drug use gives a hint as to why the city is “sucking.” Wheeler cannot fathom why people would not want to walk through a downtown where people are passed out or dead from drugs.
Wheeler believes that People for Portland’s ad campaign has been driven by “profit.”
He said: “At the very least, people are paid a lot to display these messages.” “People make money off the reputation of a city and I find it disgusting.”
Kotek’s suggestions were announced at an annual “leadership” summit of the Oregon Business Plan. This event, which drew hundreds of local business leaders who depend on the success of the city for their financial stability, was a major draw. Wheeler pointed out that it is ironic that so many of these business leaders are major donors to People for Portland. He wants these funders to consider their actions before they give more money.
He said, “I’m asking the people not to make any investments. I ask them to save their dimes and nickels, and not invest it in negative publicity about the city we are all trying to help and support. Let’s stop selling against ourselves.”
The man is so self-centered that he doesn’t understand how his policies can be blamed for negative press.