Latest People for Portland Attack Billboard Targets Vega Pederson

The Multnomah County chair is under scrutiny for the underspending of homeless services tax dollars.

Tourists dropping by downtown nightclub Dante’s to pose with the “Keep Portland Weird” mural will now catch a glimpse of the city’s political discontents. On the opposite wall of the same building, in full view of West Burnside Street traffic and above a parking lot once frequented by fentanyl dealers, is a new attack billboard from the advocacy group People for Portland.

Like previous billboards, the 40-foot-tall sign makes bleak assertions about downtown conditions while playing rough with the name of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. (“Portland is a Schmidt Show,” it proclaims.) What’s new about this billboard, however, is the second target: County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson.

Her face is featured next to Schmidt’s, under the rebuke: “All talk. No action.”

Vega Pederson is taking heat about the spending of Metro tax dollars on homeless services. As WW has written, the county has underspent tens of millions of its tax allotment—and Vega Pederson’s colleagues on the board of commissioners want that money spent to increase shelter capacity, among other strategies that might show immediate results on the streets.

That probably aligns with the objectives of People for Portland’s funders, who include downtown property owners. But it’s hard to say for sure, because the group is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, a designation that allows it to raise and spend money without disclosing its donors.

Unlike Schmidt, Vega Pederson isn’t on the ballot for reelection in 2024. Her four-year term continues through 2026.

Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did People for Portland.

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