City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty today denied an Oregonian report alleging Hardesty was involved in a "minor hit-and-run" accident Wednesday, March 3, at 4:48 pm.
The Oregonian's report, which WW could not verify, attributed the allegation to an unnamed source, who described an incident involving an unnamed motorist who allegedly reported the incident to the Portland Police Bureau. The story reported that the alleged victim was rear-ended but not hurt and provided a license plate to police.
In a 12:30 Zoom press conference today, Hardesty categorically denied the allegations.
Hardesty told reporters she did not drive her car yesterday and has not driven for six months because her vehicle is inoperable. She said the car's door doesn't close properly and it now has a dead battery.
"I take these allegations very seriously and am here today to tell you that the allegations are false," Hardesty said.
Hardesty, who was elected in 2018 on a police reform platform and has pushed aggressively for police budget cuts since taking office, questioned the source of the allegations against her.
"These allegations are very suspicious," she said. "This appears to be part of a coordinated smear campaign perpetrated by Jeff Reynolds, former chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party and right wing media personality, as well as the Coalition to Save Portland, which Reynolds credits as breaking this story."
Reynolds could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hardesty said she had not been contacted by police about the alleged incident.
"When you have taken on police accountability issues as long as I have, you come to expect these kinds of attacks," Hardesty said. "I've experienced them in the past and I expect to continue to in the future."
The Police Bureau and Mayor Ted Wheeler, who oversees it, declined to comment.