The director of livability and sustainability for Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, Amanda Watson, departed July 19.
Watson played a pivotal role in the mayor’s office, overseeing the condition of Portland neighborhoods—inextricably linked to homelessness—and the city’s climate strategy. She moved into the role in February.
The reasons for her departure were not immediately clear. Neither Watson nor the mayor’s office responded to a request for comment. Watson’s automatic email reply said to direct any questions about livability and sustainability to mayoral aide Sam Adams.
“Thank you for reaching out. My last day working in Mayor Wheeler’s Office is 7/19/21. For issues related to livability and sustainability, please contact Sam Adams,” the email read.
Watson’s departure comes as Portland is bitterly divided on how to reopen for business amid rampant homelessness, and less than a month after a record heat wave left over 70 people dead in Multnomah County.
According to her LinkedIn page, Watson has worked under the mayor since 2018, serving as a policy adviser and program coordinator before starting her role as director of livability and sustainability in February 2021.
Watson’s departure is one of several from the mayor’s office in the past few months.
In May, Sonia Schmanski, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff, departed, as well as Jim Middaugh, the mayor’s former communications director.