While you were out

We had a couple of juicy local news stories break on Friday, and so you probably missed them. Both shine harsh spotlights on unethical, if not downright corrupt, government employees in Portland.

First we had old Brian Hunzeker, the wayward former head of the Portland police union. He was shown the door yet again by the police bureau on Friday, this time after getting caught moonlighting as a sheriff's deputy in Clark County, Washington, where at last report he lives.

The last time old Brian got the ax from the Portland force was for misusing police bureau information to defame then-city commissioner Jo Ann (With the Bullhorn) Hardesty. Of course, a marsupial arbitrator reinstated him with back pay that time. Who knows if he'll stay gone this time? He's on administrative leave up in the 'Couve; that probably means he's still getting paid by them while he's back on the couch watching Netflix.

Meanwhile, over at Multnomah County, the head of "rental assistance" – which, by the way, is where a big part of your Metro homeless tax is going – was fired after being caught with her fingers in the till.  But to make matters worse, she won't be prosecuted because the whole rental assistance game is so utterly without controls that there are essentially no rules. As the new kid at the Weed tells it

Simmons worked for the county for eight years before being promoted to manage the Multnomah Stability Initiative in 2022. Her name remains on the county website advertising the program, which says the program “assists homeless and low-income households leave poverty and become self sufficient.” The program offers a litany of services for low-income families, including financial rent assistance.

A county budget document notes that 60% of the money given out through the Multnomah Stability Initiative must go to “culturally specific organizations.”...

Detectives referred charges of attempted theft and three counts of official misconduct to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. But prosecutor Austin Buhl declined to press charges.

He explained his reasoning in an eight-page memo dated in January. Simmons’ conduct raised “serious ethical concerns,” he noted, but it wasn’t clear she’d violated county policies.

For one thing, the rent assistance program had no rule requiring that the applicant actually live in the location for which they were applying for rent assistance. And, Buhl noted, the county doesn’t seem to require applicants to disclose whether they hold multiple leases.

That wasn’t all. He found it “problematic” that tenants could get assistance without having paid a single month of rent. And, finally, he noted that the county has “no requirement that landlords receiving monies through these rent relief programs establish they are legitimate landlords” by, say, submitting proof of registration with the city.

It's just appalling to see what's happened to this town. Grift and graft everywhere you turn, and no relief in sight.


  1. The graft and corruption were just as prevalent in the thirties and forties. In those days ideology wasn’t an issue.


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