During a council meeting on March 1st, Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler had a tense exchange with left-wing activist Keeley Higgins.
Higgins took the microphone to voice her opinion on the ‘tent ban’ policy proposed by the Portland Commissioner of Public Safety, Rene Gonzalez, which aimed to eliminate homeless tent camps throughout the city.
Activist hijacks council meeting to criticize “tent ban” policy
During the session held on March 1, left-wing activist Keeley Higgins knew it wasn’t an open forum. Despite this, she continued talking about the tent ban – a proposal aimed to curb the troubling situation in the city.
This made Wheeler step in and turn off Higgins’ microphone, explaining the topic was not on the agenda and she was being disrespectful to the Police Accountability Commission, which was currently speaking.
How is this happening to this city, in America? This is totally unacceptable, what a disgrace, this is not okay! You want people to come into downtown? To come here to work? Businesses to pay taxes? Tourism? @choeshow @tedwheeler @KOINNews @PDXReal1 @CommissionerRG @POTUS @VP pic.twitter.com/xe5AvFgMg8
— PDXMACE (@PDXMACE) March 9, 2023
Next, Wheeler explained to Higgins how she could sign up to “offer public statements on any matter” at a council meeting.
Higgins exclaimed, “Raise the ban; it’s killing people! It is not humane. It is bad. It is state destruction. Is it possible to get Ted Wheeler into the trap?”
Then, a woman could be heard shouting, “f*** Ted Wheeler!”
Wheeler: No one cares what you think either
Unfazed, the mayor replied, “You do realize when you do that, it completely undermines the rest of your argument?” Higgins responded, “I could care less what you think, Ted.”
#Portland mayor @tedwheeler chastised a militant far-left activist named "Keeley Higgins" in a rare moment after she went off on an off-topic, expletive tirade. The extremist was at a riot in 2020 & is still angry she was tear gassed by https://t.co/AeZHBM372J… https://t.co/YCjMBjx631 pic.twitter.com/AFKNAATWD5
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) March 13, 2023
“As a result of your behavior, no one really cares what you think,” Wheeler stated. He instructed them to be respectful and quiet and said, if they could not do so, to leave. He stated, “I don’t care if you like me or not.”
Wheeler continued, “the point is you are being extremely disrespectful of the time and effort of those who devoted a great deal of time and effort to the Police Accountability Commission.”
“I have no idea why you believe your opinion is more significant than theirs at this particular time. If you have something to say, stay on topic and don’t interrupt. I only ask that you be decent individuals. Can you accomplish that? You’re not sure? Okay, let’s find out.”
The incident at the council meeting exemplifies the difficulties local governments face in addressing these complex issues, while ensuring public discourse remains civil and respectful.
Due to its history of protests and unrest, Portland has been in the spotlight in recent years, particularly since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
The number of tent camps around the city has increased as the city struggles with the issue of homelessness. Some have argued that the ‘tent ban’ policy is inhumane, while others have argued that it is essential for public safety.
Either way, it’s pretty safe to assume the Portland mayor has his work cut out for him.