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Mayor Charlie Hales has announced the city's Human Resources Office has begun an investigation into inappropriate remarks made by his policy director, Baruti Artharee, about Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.

Artharee reportedly made the remarks about Smith's appearance while acknowledging her at a public event at the Quartet Restaurant on Thursday evening.

“As we said from the start, we are treating this issue seriously,” Hales said when announcing the investigation Tuesday. “We are treating it as a complaint regarding actions in violation of the city’s anti-harassment policy. We now are going through the appropriate steps, as laid out in city policy.”

Hales office was informed of the incident on Friday. That day, Gail Shibley, his cheif of staff, spoke to Artharee, the city’s legal counsel, and Smith's office

Artharee apologized to Smith that day. Hales apologized to her on Monday.

According to Hales' office, the investigation was started on the advice of legal counsel.

Anna Kanwit, director of Human Resources, said she wants the investigation to be thorough and timely. She declined to say how long such an investigation may take.

Kanwit has advised all parties, including Hales and Artharee, not to publically discuss the ongoing investigation in order to protect the integrity of the process.

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