Urban Alchemy Transferred an Employee Facing Allegations of Sexual Misconduct to Oregon

In Portland, WW has learned, two other male staffers at Urban Alchemy have faced allegations of sexual misconduct.

As of the end of February, Clinton Triangle housed 191 men and women, along with 35 dogs and four cats. (Brian Burk)

An Urban Alchemy staffer accused of serious sexual harassment while working in California was transferred to Oregon earlier this year, according to a lawsuit filed in a California state court.

The staffer, Tracey Webb, relocated to Clinton Triangle—a large temporary shelter site operated by Urban Alchemy in Southeast Portland, according to sources with knowledge of the move.

Webb’s alleged misconduct has drawn two lawsuits by former California Urban Alchemy employees, both of whom named the San Francisco-based nonprofit as a defendant.

Webb’s arrival in Portland came less than a month after the first lawsuit was filed by Lynette Broussard, on Dec. 20 in San Francisco County Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges Webb, who then worked in a supervisory role, repeatedly hugged her in an office where he kept a cot, and asked her out on dates. She alleges she suffered retaliation after reporting his sexual harassment to an Urban Alchemy human resource representative last September.

The second lawsuit was filed March 1 by Carrie Myles, who began working for Urban Alchemy in September 2023 in a San Francisco shelter for the homeless. Myles’ lawsuit, first reported by news website The San Francisco Standard, alleges she was repeatedly groped by Webb, and was sexually assaulted during a December night shift when he pulled down her pants and thrust his genitals between her legs.

A former Urban Alchemy staffer at Clinton Triangle said Webb, after he arrived in Portland in January, had a supervisory role.

Urban Alchemy did not respond to WW’s requests for comment about the lawsuits or Webb’s current employment status. Webb also did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement released to news website The Standard, Urban Alchemy’s chief of community and government affairs, Kirkpatrick Tyler, said Broussard’s allegations were “baseless and cynical, and we are confident that there is no truth to them. Anyone can say anything they want in a legal complaint, and there isn’t a large organization on earth that isn’t subject to its fair share of meritless claims by individuals with one motive or another.”

In Portland, WW has learned, two other male staffers at Urban Alchemy have faced allegations of sexual misconduct reported to the nonprofit by 23-year-old Hannah Bates, who resided last fall at Clinton Triangle.

Bates was raised in Portland, and lived on the streets for several months last summer at a tent site on Southwest 13th Avenue that also drew other young people. After a sweep in September, she was referred to Clinton Triangle, where she stayed until January, when she moved into an apartment in Northeast Portland.

Bates tells WW one of the staffers entered a bathroom stall where she was showering and pressed her to give him oral sex. “For the longest time, he was trying to get me to meet in a bathroom,” she says. “Every time I would have an excuse why I couldn’t go, then he caught me off guard.”

Meanwhile, Bates says, she had a weekslong relationship with another staffer.

“He took advantage of someone who was vulnerable and used them,” she says. “It’s not fair to me.”

In December, Bates filed complaints about the conduct of the two men with Urban Alchemy, she says.

Urban Alchemy’s Tyler says Bates’ allegations were investigated, including a review of surveillance camera video, but were not substantiated.

Tyler says staff members are prohibited from having sexual relationships with shelter residents. “It’s predatory, an abuse of power. In our training, we go deep into that,” he says.

Bates made a brief appearance in a video commissioned by Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office to feature once-homeless Portlanders who had found refuge from the streets at Clinton Triangle.

In that video, Bates offers an upbeat account of her stay at Clinton Triangle.

“This is a good place to start a new life,” Bates says in the video, which does not identify her or other Clinton Triangle residents by name. “They teach me really good housing skills, which is really great.”

A Wheeler spokesperson says the making of the “Inside Clinton Triangle” video was an “organic process” that featured guests who volunteered to be interviewed.

“I said what I felt like I was supposed to say,” Bates says of her comments in the video.

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