City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty slammed a city contractor shown displaying a pro-police emblem while on the clock — but said there was little she could do after the company declined her request to remove the symbol.
Hardesty released a statement on the matter after a photo surfaced on Twitter showing an Oregon Concrete Solutions-branded truck with an emblem of the "thin blue line" flag affixed to the front driver's side panel.
The truck was parked near a sidewalk expansion project on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard near 32nd Avenue on May 13 when the photo was snapped, Pamplin Media Group has learned.
On May 27, Hardesty confirmed that she was aware of the issue, but said her ability to respond was limited, despite being the elected official who oversees the transportation bureau.
"The thin blue line imagery is viewed by many in our community as a symbol of white supremacy that has been prominently displayed by those who oppose the Black Lives Matter racial justice movement, and we understand this is causing distress in the community," Hardesty said. "You can count me as one of the many Portlanders who finds this imagery deeply offensive."
Oregon Concrete Solutions, also known Sidewalk Solutions, is based in Portland and owned by Christopher Collins, according to state records. A representative of the company did not immediately have a comment when reached by phone.
Hardesty said PBOT asked the contractor not to display the flag while working on the city's dime, but they reportedly declined to do so. Hardesty said their oversight ability is limited by the language in the contract.
"This incident is proof we have more work to do for Portland to live up to last year's anti-racism resolution, including holding city contractors to the same standards we hold city government," she said. "I will be working with PBOT and the City Attorney's Office to look at systemic improvements we can make to address this issue going forward."
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