The latest city of Portland lobbying reports contain an interesting disclosure: Mark Wiener, political consultant to Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Steve Novick, also has been acting as a paid lobbyist for Uber, the ride-hailing app that crashed into Portland last year after initially hitting road bumps at City Hall.
The arrangement suggests Wiener—who aided a deal between Hales and Uber in his dining room in December—has represented both buyer and seller as Uber has worked with the city to craft rules allowing ride-hailing companies to operate long-term in Portland.
Len Bergstein, a longtime City Hall lobbyist who now represents EcoCab, says the setup is unusual. âI think itâs profoundly disturbing,â he says, âthat the public business was done in secret by someone who was getting paid by two adverse parties.â
Wiener says he did nothing wrong, because he wasn't being simultaneously paid by the parties.
"It doesn't pass the sniff test," he says.
Tuesday, Novick declined to comment.
A spokesman for the mayor, Dana Haynes, said he couldn't answer questions that concerned the mayoral campaign. He said he'd pass a request for comment to the mayor after business hours.
Hales, so far, has not responded.
Saltzman tells WW he doesn't see anything inappropriate about Wiener's roles. He says it wasn't his relationship with Wiener (who was Saltzman's chief of staff when Saltzman was a Multnomah County commissioner in the 1990s) that swayed his vote.
"I don't think there's any correlation," Saltzman says.