Oregonian: “Eudaly, staffers bungled efforts to change Portland neighborhood association rules”

Eudaly policy director Jamey Duhamiel quoted as saying “we need our neighborhood associations in their place.. any inconvenience is a big deal to their cozy lives.”

Emails and texts obtained by The Oregonian newspaper show an extraordinary “bungled” attack on Portland’s neighborhood associations by self-confessed anti-neighborhood activists — including some of the very officials charged with managing the City’s storied neighborhood involvement system.

While Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Civic Life bureau Director Suk Rhee deny the current code change effort has been intended as an attack on the system and is only an effort to broaden inclusion, the emails and texts tell a different story.

From the article:

Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has acknowledged a bureau under her control badly mishandled efforts to change the rules regarding neighborhood associations by failing to consult and involve the groups, newly released emails and text messages show.

The files reveal that the bungled undertaking led to intense pushback from neighborhood leaders and a lack of support by the City Council. That in turn has led Eudaly to delay the change and launch a damage-control campaign.

…the plan has backfired spectacularly, the emails and texts help to show. The communications were released to The Oregonian/OregonLive in response to a public records request.

…Text messages released by Eudaly’s office also show [Jamey] Duhamel, the commissioner’s policy director, expressing open disdain for neighborhood associations.

Duhamel sent those texts to Mustafa Washington, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s operations manager, during a May 2018 City Council meeting at which many addresses in Southwest Portland were changed to new South Portland ones to make the city 911 system more effective.

Though the change was thought to be non-controversial, about a dozen people gave testimony on it at the meeting, which frustrated Duhamel.

…“Why is this taking so long, ffs? Like WE GET IT ALREADY!! Who are they trying to convince?” she said in a message to Washington, using an acronym that includes profanity.

…“How you like that ‘high income, high caliber’ bull—,” Duhamel texted to Washington. “This is why we need our neighborhood associations in their place. They get too much power and voice.”

Washington responded, “I never thought this would be this big of a deal.”

Duhamel: “Well they are white and ‘high caliber’ soooooooo … any inconvenience is a big deal to their cozy lives. HOW DARE WE STRESS THEM OUT!!!”

Washington: “LOL, there are definitely more important issues than this.”

Duhamel: “So. Much. Privilege.”

In an interview, Duhamel said she regretted her words…

Read the entire article here.

One Reply to “Oregonian: “Eudaly, staffers bungled efforts to change Portland neighborhood association rules””

  1. A few off-the-cuff comments. 1) My impression from the June 26 meeting was that the proposed code changes are really a “decodification” of **all** community organizations, not just NAs, since the new code eliminates the entire legal framework for the organizations overseen by Eudaly’s bureau. (For example, it removes the requirement for open meetings.) The result is that instead of extending power to other types of community organizations, power is removed from all of them. I don’t understand how such legally ignorant language could even be drafted.

    2) Eudaly’s quoted comment about “being more of a renter than a resident” infuriates me as a lift-time renter in a PDX neighborhood who put in my time working for affordable housing (for which I would have been unqualified) during the 90s.

    3) Eudaly’s quote “[The Neighborhood Associations] want me to fix their shortcomings for them, which is not my job” brings up the 2016 Bureau Audit of ONI, which it **is** her job to respond to. (Or maybe not, since the “Office of Neighborhood Involvement” doesn’t exist anymore. 🧐)

    4) Certainly there are nimbys among the “privileged white” activists of Portland. But in general these are the people who laid the foundations of the “Peoples’ Republic of Portland” back in the 70s, many of whom have continued to put in second careers as volunteers in NAs to work for affordable housing, an excellent transportation system, a walkable city, etc. etc. (Hey, folks, we’re on your side! Quit lumping us in with the stereotypes and make use of us! Just think of us as “elders”)

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