Believe them the first time

When I decided to take a hiatus from blogging years ago, my friend Phil Stanford told me not to worry, I wouldn't miss anything. He said that most of the same characters who were making news in Portland as I left the blogosphere would still be around, doing the same things, when I returned.

One of the people who got a lot of attention in my first round of blogging was Jefferson Smith. Smith was the founder of the nonprofit Bus Project, a former state representative, and a finalist for mayor of Portland in 2012 before it was revealed that he had badly assaulted a woman while he was in college. When the news of his violent streak broke during his mayoral campaign, he showed up at the victim's house unannounced. So bizarre was his behavior that I took to calling him Nutsy.

I also dug into the finances of the Bus Project, and discovered that they were an appalling mess

Smith faded from the scene, but I noticed he became the boss at XRAY Radio, a local station that mixed politics and music. I caught the music side of XRAY once in a while when a friend of mine did a show there. It seemed legit. I guess Smith can't get in too much trouble doing that, I thought.

I was wrong.

Here's the latest on Smith, courtesy of Willamette Weed. Turns out, people who work for him say he's a disaster as a manager, the station's payroll practices are chaos, and gee, he still has his problems with women.

All six described Smith bullying and intimidating station employees, especially women. They said he barraged them with after-hours calls and emails when he didn't agree with their decisions. Each one claimed their job description was vague or functionally nonexistent. All of them felt they were expected to respond to Smith at all hours, including holidays and weekends.

Karabaic says the station engaged in bookkeeping so shoddy that some of the station's six hourly employees didn't receive minimum wage.

I'm not sure why the Weed is going after Smith again now. Back in '12, they sandbagged what they had on him until after they politically assassinated another mayoral candidate, Eileen Brady. Once the race was narrowed to Smith against their boy Char-Lie Hales, Willy wheeled out the Smith assault story and Hales cakewalked in for an utterly forgettable term as mayor.

Anyway, it looks like Nutsy is on the market again. I believe the guy's in his late 40's now. The job hunt isn't going to be easy.

UPDATE, Nov. 23: What I said here about Willamette Weed is speculation on my part. I try to explain myself here.


  1. Glad to see you back. Nutsy has been hiding in plain sight. Some things never change.

  2. You know how I found out about this article? I got an email from Max Brumm. People don't know the full story but Max was running for Mayor back then and he figured out Jefferson Smith way before the rest of us. I told him I thought about writing the campaign up in something entitled, "The 19-Year-Old Who Saved Portland". What held me back is that I didn't want to spend a second in Jefferson Smith's world. Talk about Next Level Bad Karma.

    Looking back now my personal favorite twist was when the story of my disastrous interview with Jefferson got out and there was a Blue Oregon thread that just shellacked me. Then right in the middle of the thread the story broke that Jefferson Smith had recently shown up at his victim's residence - the woman he hit in college. Suddenly the thread turned almost 100% supportive of my take. It was a classic internet 180. I haven't seen that much back-pedaling since NFL safeties tried covering Jerry Rice.

    Closure: I'm a song writer so I process these things in song and then let them go. If you want to see my song about Jeffy Jeff, here's the link. It's called "Smart Talkin' Fool."


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