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Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Blasts Colleague Chloe Eudaly’s No Vote: “Performative Allyship”

Eudaly voted against the city budget, saying cuts to the police budget did not go far enough.

Today's Portland City Council vote on the city's 2020-21 budget ended in an unusual fashion, with Commissioner Chloe Eudaly voting against adoption after having voted with her three council colleagues in favor of a series of budget amendments that cut an additional $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau budget and redirected most of that money to community-based programs.

(The police budget was earlier trimmed by $12 million as part of across-the-board cuts forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Eudaly, echoing the sentiments of most of those who provided public testimony, said she could not support the budget because the police cuts did not go far enough and nowhere near the $50 million many of those who testified demanded.

"This moment demands bold action, and we didn't rise to that challenge," Eudaly told her colleagues in explaining her vote.

Eudaly was the first member of the council to join Hardesty in calling for deep police reforms in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody May 25. But her dissent today, which caused the council to have to bring the budget back next week for another vote, struck a nerve with Hardesty.

Hardesty issued a statement shortly after the vote that singled out Eudaly for criticism.

"I also want to address what happened towards the end of the vote today: While my colleague can take a principled 'no' stance on passing this budget, I as a Black woman cannot," Hardesty said in a statement. "I have spent countless hours moving my colleagues to support what I've proposed. Last year I proposed only half of what was brought to the table this year, and did not receive one single vote in support, including hers. This included my proposal to defund the Gun Violence Reduction Team and reallocate those funds to save 50-plus parks jobs and support community centers, which was also a demand from the community. My cannabis amendment for this year's budget, which she also did not support, would have cut an additional 23 positions in the bureau. That's why we are only seeing 84 positions rather than 107 positions cut. We keep hearing the need to be bold, yet that boldness did not manifest in this moment, nor did it manifest last year.

"I do not want to let this detract from the very real steps taken, but it is an important reminder on what performative allyship looks like. While we are making strides in realigning our budget with our values, this 'no' vote does nothing to materially support our BIPOC communities. All this does is delay the much-needed relief for our communities and continues to allow these units to exist for that much longer."

Eudaly's spokesperson, Margaux Weeke, said Eudaly did what's right for Portland.

"Commissioner Eudaly stands by her statements in council today," Weeke said in a statement. "She stands with the tens of thousands of Portlanders who have demanded bold action, and she will continue to work with Commissioner Hardesty, Mayor Wheeler, and Commissioner Fritz to advance a budget that reflects what our city is demanding in this moment."