Last week, WW wrote about Ted Wheeler's first two years as mayor of Portland ("The Walking Ted," WW, Dec. 5, 2018). Nearly all of the two dozen people WW spoke to about Wheeler described a leader incapable of pushing the city forward. Here's what readers had to say.
Jeremy Evan, via Facebook: "I honestly feel bad for Wheeler. I would not want the job of mayor at this moment. He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't."
Kitty, via wweek.com: "The far left and the far right are tearing the community apart. Mix that with a mayor who can't make a decision, and you've got where we are standing now."
Michelle Fail-feels, via Facebook: "Never had a good impression of Wheeler, even during his campaign. He came off, to me, like a WASPy, wonky elite who thinks he's smart enough to solve racial inequity and other chronic problems with one really good PDF document, and who takes it personally when his great ideas don't pan out."
Scott Jones, via Twitter: "Riveting story so far, but the story is not yet complete, even by the mayor's admission. I hope he can turn things around and finish strong."
OregonMamacita, via week.com: "Mayor Wheeler has every right to complain about crappy working conditions. At this point, Portland will not be able to attract anyone grounded and competent. I would be surprised if he signs up for two more years of protesters outside his house."
Otto I, via Twitter: "This Willamette Week cover is truly shameful. I'm no great fan of Mayor Wheeler, but he has family who may be haunted by this illustration."
Outlaw Cover Offends
As the leaders of the Give!Guide nonprofits listed below, we were disgusted by the depiction of Chief Danielle Outlaw on your Nov. 7 cover. We also found your Nov. 14 response to be insufficient and harmful itself. While acknowledging that "good intentions aren't enough," the first half of your response was dedicated solely to your intentions. You justified the racist caricature of Chief Outlaw by referencing your history of caricaturing city leaders; in doing so, you ignored the ugly history of cartoon depictions of African-Americans being used to perpetuate racist stereotypes. Your response provided no concrete actions you will take to address your blind spots. There was no mention of how you will hold yourselves accountable to making changes.
Your actions put us in a difficult position. We rely on the Give!Guide to help us raise a substantial amount of revenue. At the same time, we were uncomfortable promoting anything associated with Willamette Week in light of these incidents. The Give!Guide is a great gift to our community and to our nonprofit organizations. It allows us to raise vital funds for our organizations, introduces us to hundreds of new donors, and reconnects us each year to Portlanders who give to us through the Give!Guide. Our decision about whether to apply for inclusion in the Give!Guide next year will depend on what tangible action we see Willamette Week taking to address the blind spots identified in your response.
The Black United Fund of Oregon
North by Northeast Community Health Center
A story on Multnomah County contractors ("Under the Bridge," WW, Nov. 28) incorrectly stated the Urban League of Portland missed deadlines for a contract proposal. The nonprofit missed one deadline. WW regrets the error.