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Mayor Ted Wheeler Deals With Protesters, Divided Portland At Inauguration


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler takes the ceremonial oath of office at Jason Lee Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler takes the ceremonial oath of office at Jason Lee Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

Ted Wheeler was officially inaugurated Jan. 1 as mayor of Portland. But he held a public inauguration Wednesday morning at Jason Lee Elementary in East Portland.

Wheeler was ceremonially sworn in by a number of students at the school.

Then, in the first moments after the swearing in, Wheeler was greeted by protesters. Two people walked up from the crowd and demanded that there be no more sweeps of homeless camps in Portland.

They were escorted out by Portland police, yelling, “Stop the sweeps. You are killing people in the streets.” 

After the brief interruption, Wheeler said he held the ceremony at the school in part because he’s committed to East Portland. 

“We cannot say, with a straight face, or with honesty, that we’ve lifted up and improved the lives of our residents if we have not lifted up and improved the lives of East Portland residents.”

Jason Lee Elementary teacher Nichole Watson, Jon George of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, T. Allen Bethel and Leroy Haynes of the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, and Carol Turner of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty also spoke during the event.

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