Ted Wheeler, Portland’s Millionaire Mayor, has his fingers in a surprising number of pies involving Oregon’s public resources, funding, and policy. As State Treasurer he oversaw the investment of almost a billion dollars of PERS funds into the volatile and exploitative rental derivatives markets - effectively funneling public pension investments into Private Equity takeover corporations to bust private pensions, further displacement of poor communities, and raise rents. Also during his time as Treasurer, Ted started a multi-state 501(c)(3), West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, with the goal of privatizing public resources like municipal water supplies. This group was heavily involved in the push to cap Portland’s historically successful reservoirs and hand them over to private management.
As mayor, Wheeler has been integral in the rush to pass the Unreinforced Masonry Mandate (URM) against protestations of Black Communities and community organizations. Now the city is involved in a heated legal battle over improper handling of this mandate and for violating a Federal court injunction and to give the community time to respond and adjust.
The combination of a wealthy, privileged background and manufactured progressive credentials make Ted Wheeler the perfect example of a neoliberal politician. Has been employed either in managing the wealth of the 0.1%, making governmental decisions de-regulating the industries where that wealth is extracted, or in the opaque world of “public/private partnerships,” The process by which our natural and public resources will be privatized.
This week on Wednesday Talk Radio we’ll be joined by Portland Assembly and friend of PA and data activist MK Hanson to look at Ted Wheeler’s family and personal history of appropriation of Oregon’s land and resources, and his willing participation in the globalization of Portland’s housing market as he signals his intention to run for re-election.