Portland Man Pepper-Sprayed by Mayor Apologizes to Mayor

Cary Cadonau wants to let bygones be bygones.

A McMenamins pub. (Abby Gordon)

The Portland lawyer pepper-sprayed by Mayor Ted Wheeler outside a McMenamins Sunday night has apologized to the mayor.

"I am remorseful for my decision to confront Mayor Wheeler on Sunday, Jan. 24, and I am sorry that he felt the need to use pepper spray," Cary Cadonau said in a statement released by his office. "I cherish Portland and our local community and recognize that Mayor Wheeler has a very difficult job."

Cadonau's apology was a sudden reversal after his representative told media for much of the day that he planned to release video of his confrontation with the mayor.

Mara Woloshin, who represents Cadonau, told The Oregonian he no longer wanted to display his footage or continue conflict with the mayor.

"Mr. Cadonau decided late Wednesday," she says, "that it is not in Mr. Wheeler's best interest,  his own best interest and most importantly, in the best interest of the of rebuilding our community to release the video at this point."

He offered instead to "amicably resolve" the dispute with Wheeler, which police are investigating.

"The mayor appreciates the apology," said Wheeler's spokesman Jim Middaugh, "and will have more to say soon."

Wheeler issued a statement Thursday morning:

"I want to acknowledge and appreciate Mr. Cadonau's apology. I consider the matter closed," the mayor wrote.

"I'm hopeful that this will be a catalyst for all of us to return to healthy, respectful civic dialogue," Wheeler continued. "Our city and our nation are going through challenging and stressful times, and there is great passion about the need create a different and better future. We must all remember that we have a shared desire for positive change, even if we may disagree about the best ways to go about it. It's important for all of to reflect on the need for urgent change and to remember that respect and safety are the foundation for creating and sustaining it."

Cadonau, 48, is a partner in the law firm Brownstein Rask LLP and an heir to the Alpenrose Dairy fortune who has been embroiled in a legal dispute over the future of the dairy.

He apologized to his law partners tonight as well. Earlier in the day, Alpenrose Dairy issued a statement saying he no longer owned a stake in the company.

"In 2019, Smith Brothers Farms purchased Alpenrose. As such, Mr. Cary Cadonau no longer has ownership interest in, nor is affiliated with, the company," said Alpenrose general manger Josh Reynolds. "Alpenrose has been a part of the Portland community for more than 100 years, and we take pride that we were able to bring back our home delivery service last summer."

Wheeler told police that he and former Mayor Sam Adams were leaving McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery and Pub on Sunday when Cadonau followed the mayor to his car. Audio recorded by Adams captured the three men arguing over whether Wheeler was following social distancing guidelines while dining out.

Wheeler then pepper-sprayed Cadonau in the eyes and threw a water bottle at him.

Police records show detectives told Cadonau they knew he later returned to the McMenamins and demanded to see Wheeler's tab.

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