Consultant Finds More Trouble in PBOT Shop

In May, WW reported on bullying and harassment at the Portland Bureau of Transportation maintenance operations group. In response, the city commissioned a "cultural assessment" of the shop's 377 workers. Two responses tell a lot about that culture: 26 percent of respondents requested overtime as a condition of participating, and the consultant who did the assessment purchased a "burner" phone so there would be no record of employees calling her. "Fifty percent of respondents said that disrespectful and rude behavior could occur at work without consistent consequences," the consultant's report, released Nov. 28, said. Indeed: The employees previously identified as perpetrators of ritual humiliations and shooting colleagues with high-pressure air guns still have their jobs. "After assessing the report, the commissioner will make decisions about what changes need to be made," says Brendan Finn, chief of staff to Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Mayor Ted Wheeler Chats Up Amazon

As Amazon weighs where to locate its second headquarters, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler flew up to Seattle on Nov. 28 to meet with company officials. Portland is among the bidders for Amazon HQ2, but Wheeler spokesman Michael Cox says the mayor's visit is unrelated. "The meeting is not about HQ2," Cox says. "It is about their current downtown footprint, including 400 employees." Wheeler is also meeting with Nordstrom about livability issues, and Vulcan—Paul Allen's parent company for the Trail Blazers—about the future of the Rose Quarter. "These meetings are meant to strengthen relationships with companies that have a strong presence in Portland," Cox adds.

City Council Candidates Have a Rough Week

The past few days have not been kind to two candidates for the open seat on the Portland City Council. On Nov. 24, WW reported that Andrea Valderrama, a mayoral staffer, was arrested for driving under the influence four years ago, early in her tenure at City Hall. She told police at the time she was the designated driver. Last week, she apologized. On Nov. 27, WW first reported that Pacific Green Party of Oregon's Seth Woolley filed a state elections complaint arguing that Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is improperly campaigning for the seat without first resigning her county position, and is violating campaign contribution limits set by voters last year. Smith says neither is true.

TechFestNW Gets a New Home

Portland State University and TechFestNW, presented by WW, have formed a three-year partnership to hold the annual event in PSU's new Viking Pavilion, starting in 2018. Next year's event, to be held April 5-6, will feature speakers from around the globe discussing food tech, digital health, smart transit/smart cities and inclusivity in tech culture.