Sources: Threats of violence now just part of job, Wheeler says
During his Monday news conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he and his family receive so many threats these days, he wonders what else is going on in the world when he doesn't hear of a new one first thing in the morning.
Wheeler spoke to reporters Monday, July 8, about the international controversy generated over the violence during the dueling downtown protests last Saturday.
While deploring the violence and promising to find solutions, Wheeler also said he, his wife and his daughter are routinely threatened with violence and even death — and so are other city officials on a regular basis.
They include threats against the entire City Council, Wheeler said. He blamed those who issue threats on the current political divide in the country and insisted they are not preventing him and the rest of the council from doing their jobs.
"I'm taking them in stride. Part of the job is people threatening to kill me, my wife, my daughter, and blow up City Hall," Wheeler said almost in passing.
Both sides see conspiracies
Mayor Ted Wheeler is being accused of favoring both sides in the ongoing dueling protests that frequently turn violent.
Left-wing protesters previously demanded that Wheeler resign because they believe the police have sided with right-wing Patriot Prayer protesters against anti-fascist, or "antifa," counter-protesters. And now Multnomah County Republican Party Chair James Buchal has accused Wheeler of supporting the counter-protesters.
Buchal, a lawyer who plans to represent Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, recently told the Portland Mercury "(the Multnomah County Republicans) have a continuous concern that the city administration, specifically our police commissioner Ted Wheeler, is attempting to turn antifa into a paramilitary wing of the local government. We have made clear our views of the kind of public disorder the (Wheeler) administration seems to encourage."
Homeless count later than usual
The 2019 homeless figures for Multnomah County may not be released until August at the earliest. That is much later than when the most recent figures were released in June 2017.
The federally required Point in Time homeless count is conducted every two years in Multnomah County. Preliminary figures for the 2017 count were released in June of that year, with the full report being released in October 2017. But according to the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the release of the 2019 numbers may slip to August 2019.
One reason is because the joint office is not working with Portland State University on the count this year, like it did in 2017. Instead, the Portland-Multnomah County office hired a data analyst to do the job this time.
The most recent counts released by other West Coast cities this year show their homeless populations have increased substantially.