'Out-of-Touch' Mayor of Protest-Ravaged Portland Mocked Over Plans for 'Welcome Back' Festival
The once welcoming downtown of Portland, Oregon has been devastated by months of rioting that erupted in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in May 2020, leaving the city centre disfigured, with shattered storefronts and graffiti-ridden buildings.
Mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler has welcomed citizens of the city to take part in a lively "Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland" festival, offering "fun, family friendly activities" - but many city-dwellers are hardly in a festive mood.
Announcing the event on Twitter, the mayor promised live concerts, roller skating, and other "fun" activities from Friday to Sunday, but the response in the comment section has been tepid at best.
© AP Photo / Don RyanIn this Jan. 17, 2017, file photo, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks during a press conference in Portland, Ore. A Portland man is suing the city and Wheeler, claiming the mayor's office has improperly kept secret records about a homeless shelter project.
In this Jan. 17, 2017, file photo, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks during a press conference in Portland, Ore. A Portland man is suing the city and Wheeler, claiming the mayor's office has improperly kept secret records about a homeless shelter project.
© AP Photo / Don Ryan
Many netizens questioned the appropriateness of such celebrations, accusing the mayor of being tone deaf and out of touch with reality as the city is grappling with the aftermath of frequent, oftentimes violent, protests.
Several users also noted the questionable choice of language in the poster for the event, which said "Rekindle the PDX love", while others derided one of the events, dubbed "Paint the Town".
The city of Portland has been hit by frequent Black Lives Matter protests that have occasionally been marred by confrontations between demonstrators and the police. The protests, ignited by the death of George Floyd, have caused substantial damage to the once vibrant city centre, which is now scarred by graffiti and smashed windows.