Darkish cash group launches marketing campaign to push Portland-area leaders for outcomes on police reforms, homelessness, cleanup efforts

A new anonymously funded political group launched a campaign on Friday to encourage elected leaders in the Portland area to move faster and better coordinate to address challenges viewed by unnamed donors as the greatest challenges in the city.

Many of the things they want to do, from creating safe homes for people on the streets to reducing gun violence, are in great demand with voters and officials from across the political spectrum. But they do not have easy solutions and there is no broad consensus on which steps to take in the right direction.

The dark money charity People for Portland began broadcasting television spots Friday urging officials at all levels of government to “end the humanitarian crisis on our streets, reform the police force, restore public safety and cleanse our once beautiful city “.

“Portland is still full of potential, but the politicians are doing too little, too slowly, to save our broken city,” says a woman in the TV ad as black and white pictures of tent camps, graffiti and headlines about murders pass by.

“Let’s tell the politicians to do their job to save the city we love,” concludes the ad, suggesting that people go to the group’s website and sign up for unspecified future political activity.

With the group’s funders remaining largely anonymous, the two longtime political advisors who lead the campaign have a more public role in the appeal. Dan Lavey, who has worked for independents and Republicans like Chris Dudley, and Kevin Looper, who has worked for progressive causes and Democratic candidates like Governor Kate Brown, are partners in this effort.

Under state and federal campaign funding rules, it is legal for the group’s donors to remain anonymous under their establishment as a political nonprofit.

Looper said in an interview on Friday that the central problem Portland is facing is “the lack of courage among elected officials … which makes them more afraid to do wrong than to do something”.

The campaign targets every elected official with ties to the Portland area, including city officials, district officials, metro regional government councilors, the sheriff and district attorney, state lawmakers, and the Portland-home governor who is also from Portland. Through digital and television advertising, the total cost of which they rejected, Lavey and Looper plan to urge local voters to contact their elected leaders and urge them to take action on People for Portland’s priorities.

“We need to get the public more involved so … elected officials at all levels feel the heat of the people they represent,” Lavey said.

Local leaders, particularly on the Portland City Council, are already working to resolve most of the problems that People for Portland lament. But the group says they want them to get results faster.

That includes making body-worn cameras mandatory for the Portland Police Department, which the U.S. Department of Justice asked the city to enforce July. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler directed the police bureau this month to prepare for body-worn cameras, including researching various camera systems and getting bids. OPB reported. Long a vocal opponent of body-worn devices, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said she was learning how to use the technology successfully in other cities, OPB said.

People for Portland urged the city to request the body-worn cameras in a comment sent to The Oregonian / OregonLive and made separately available to the newsroom on Friday.

The city commissioners are already in the process of defining six locations where it will be built Protected Villages with showers, toilets, laundry service, psychiatric care and case managers. The move is tied to the latest from the city council politics in the evacuation of camps, which lowered the bar for the removal of “high impact” camps, in part because of the idea that people could move to the city-sanctioned villages.

The city and other regional and state government agencies also began concerted efforts to accelerate garbage collection and landfill cleaning in the Portland area after service cuts and lack of coordination resulted in solid waste accumulations around the city during the last year. However, the group says governments have more to do and “professional sanitation is an expected basic function of government”.

In addition, People for Portland wants Multnomah County’s District Attorney Mike Schmidt and other prosecutors to “prosecute those involved in violence and vandalism” during demonstrations, according to a form letter posted on the group’s website. Schmidt has obtained guilty pleadings and multi-year prison sentences for several people charged with arson, window smashing and other vandalism in connection with nighttime protests in downtown and other parts of the city.

People for Portland Cities Survey paid for by FM3 Research as proof that many Portlanders agree with its priorities and want local executives to deliver faster results. According to the group, a poll of more than 800 likely voters conducted more than three months ago showed that 84% of respondents agreed that tent camps are a “humanitarian emergency” that requires more urgent action from city and county officials, and 85% supported it Redirecting existing taxpayers’ money to create “50 Safe Sanitary Villages” for the homeless across the city. When it comes to public safety, the group cites survey results that found 62% of respondents said the Portland police force could be reformed, 91% supported police body cameras, and 49% believed the city had too few police officers. 84 percent of respondents agreed that law enforcement agencies “should aggressively pursue the small number of people who use protests to cover for property damage and violence”.

Finally, People for Portland asked if Portland voters would stand against the city and county incumbents in the next election if things didn’t get better. Almost nine out of ten eligible voters surveyed said they did.

A poll of 300 Portland residents conducted by Portland firm DHM Research for The Oregonian / OregonLive over a very similar period April 30 through May 6 found that 42% said the city should hire more police officers . Most of the city dwellers surveyed said the police presence should remain unchanged (30%) or decrease (24%).

Lavey and Looper repeatedly pointed out a short timeframe – Looper suggested two years – in which elected leaders need to make significant improvements to prevent Portland from becoming a “lost city” in which a critical mass of people have decided not to renew commercial leases and stop supporting elements of a vibrant city like art.

Andrew Hoan, CEO and President of the Portland Business Alliance, did not immediately respond to a call Friday afternoon asking whether the group supports the People for Portland campaign.

However, two well-known business owners expressed their support. Businessman and philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer, whose commercial real estate company owns Portland real estate, said he had “been approached about funding,” met with the group, and believed the campaign had “some good goals.”

“I support anything that helps Portland get back on track,” said Schnitzer, who refused to say whether he made a donation to People for Portland.

Tim Boyle, President and CEO of Columbia Sportswear Company, was open about his support for the group in an interview Friday. “I contributed some money to surveys to validate what everyone in town thought was right,” said Boyle. “The city is close to my heart, I grew up here.”

“Every elected official in the state of Oregon, especially the senior official, is all complicit in the problem we have in Portland today,” Boyle said. “Half of them live in Portland, the other half visit Portland, and it’s a shame they don’t actively move forward on all the issues that are clearly visible to everyone.”

Boyle said some Columbia Sportswear Company employees cited problems in the city as the reason they were leaving, and some potential hires turned down jobs they should have worked in the city.

“I’m more than happy to talk about this out loud and put my name on my loudness,” said Boyle. “I’m not a black money person.”

– Hillary Borrud

hborrud@oregonian.com; @hborrud

Flushing Township units cash apart for storm cleanup

FLUSHING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) – 8/19/21 – The Flushing Township Board of Trustees unanimously decided this week to allocate $ 30,000 for storm clearing.

The Wednesday night vote came after the area was badly hit by storms and a micro-explosion last week. They left branches and twigs that were later piled up on the curb in many parts of the city.

Flushing Township does not have a public works department. Township Supervisor Fred Thorsby said it also lacks the equipment and manpower to carry out the cleanup.

He told ABC 12 that the money for the rubble removal would have to come from the community’s general fund.

In a Facebook post, Thorsby said that a tree service would be hired to begin the cleanup on Aug. 30. The Post also said that signs would be posted at the entrance to the subdivisions on Aug. 30.

Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.

Following the cash: Florida is funding crimson tide cleanup

After a day he said he said between the mayor of St. Petersburg and the governor’s office we found out what was really going on.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – More than once in the past few days, the Mayor of St. Petersburg has said to wash politics out of the red tide crisis in his city.

Thursday he tweeted“Now nearly 800 tons. We will ignore the governor’s policies and continue to work with other state and county officials to get these fish out of the water.”

Almost 800 tons now.

We will ignore politics from the governor’s office and continue to work with other state and district officials to get these fish out of the water.

– Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) July 15, 2021

Almost 24 hours earlier, Kriseman had asked Governor Ron DeSantis to send resources to help with the cleanup. He specifically asked for more shrimp boats to collect the rotting marine life.

CONNECTED: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman urges Governor DeSantis to obtain resources for the red tide

Kriseman said he wasn’t sure how much longer the city and city contractors could spend cleaning up. He said the city needed help.

“We ask the governor, Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, we need your help.”

But on Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office painted a very different picture.

DeSantis assistant communications director Jared Williams emailed 10 Tampa Bay saying Mayor Kriseman was “either unaware of what is actually going on in his own garden or he is deliberately lying and taking advantage of the red tide as an attempt to get cheap political points ”. . “

Just got the following reply from Jared Williams, Assistant Director of Communications for @GovRonDeSantis as answer to @Kriseman‘s plea for dealing with government funds #red tide. pic.twitter.com/hLDRM9zhpE

– Liz Crawford WTSP (@LizCrawfordWTSP) July 14, 2021

Williams also sent a detailed description of everything the state has been doing to support the current red tide crisis in Tampa Bay. These claims included:

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of executing grant agreements for Counties Pinellas and Hillsborough
  • Pinellas receives $ 902,500 to help clean up the Red Tide
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials participate in weekly Red Tide coordination calls and initiate a Red Tide response with the City of St. Petersburg.

Kriseman countered the governor’s office reaction, and said, “I don’t care how our town gets help. Whether the governor calls an emergency or his DEP does something … I just need more boats.”

10 Tampa Bay wanted to verify some of the claims made by politicians.

Pinellas County’s public works director, Kelli Hammer Levy, says the county is currently receiving $ 902,500 from the Florida DEP, but they don’t have it yet.

“Between June 11 and July 10, we spent approximately $ 902,500 between the county and the city to get refunded by then,” said Hammer Levy.

She said she was also in regular contact with the DEP to change the agreement and get more funding.

“In fact, I phoned DEP’s interim secretary, Shawn Hamilton, 15 minutes ago. He has confirmed that they will be providing the county with additional resources to aid in the cleanup,” said Hammer Levy.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the city of St. Petersburg says it was left in the dark.

Benjamin Kirby, St. Petersburg City Communications Director, directed an exchange between a city lobbyist and an FWC employee at 10 Tampa Bay.

The lobbyist asks for help and says, I’m not sure what role FWC is playing in this, but could you alert your team? I am also alerting the governor’s office. Is DEP involved in such incidents?

The FWC representative replied on July 9th: Maybe you and I can contact the grassroots on Monday so I can pass on all of the information Gil shares today? I know DEP is involved in terms of water quality, but we are at the forefront when it comes to fish deaths. I will keep you up-to-date.

Kirby says this will be the last the city has heard from anyone with the state.

On Thursday, Williams said Governor DeSantis’s office had held several conversations with members of the St. Petersburg City Council, affected stakeholders and members of the region’s legislative delegation, but failed to provide specific names.

Williams 10 referred Tampa Bay to the DEP and FWC for details on who the DEP, FWC and the City of St. Petersburg will hold talks with.

Pinellas County’s Hammer Levy says she speaks to someone with FWC at least once a day, and during a meeting earlier this week, officials said this current bloom was unprecedented.

“The fact that this flower extends into Tampa Bay is really very unusual,” she said. The last time they saw anything like this was fifty years ago, when sewage was still being discharged into the bay.

CONNECTED: “Ignore politics”: Kriseman reacts to DeSantis during red tide