U.S. Rep. David Wu, who recently made national headlines after WW published an account of his odd behavior and a photo of the seven-term Oregon congressman in a tiger suit, is scheduled to appear at a press conference on transportation improvements in Portland's South Waterfront this morning. It could get awkward.
On its own, there's nothing out of the ordinary about an embattled congressman's attendance at a media event in his district. For weeks, Wu has been in damage-control mode following revelations his staffers tried twice to get the Democratic lawmaker psychiatric help just before his November 2010 re-election.
But there is one unfortunate coincidence regarding the purpose of today's event. It is supposed to celebrate the federal government's $23 million investment in a transportation project that will support the Portland-Milwaukie light rail extension, Portland's eastside streetcar line and the Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar route.
So what's the name of the $23 million federal grant supporting that work?
Why, it's the TIGER (or Transportation Investments to Generate Economic Recovery) grant. And we're told they're gr-r-reat!
Wu is scheduled to join U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood along with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader (all D-Ore.) and Mayor Sam Adams at today's event. Wu was expected to attend another transportation-focused event Monday night with LaHood. But Wu did not make it to that gathering hosted by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. It's not clear why. Earlier on Monday, WW reported Wu lost yet another staffer from his congressional office.