It's an amazing day. The Portland area's most roguish government agency and pork pot, the Portland Development Commission, is now officially in a state of complete and utter meltdown.
Even the lethargic watchdogs at The Oregonian are smelling blood. Today they ran a front-page story in which they call into question the no-bid contracts by which a guy named Nathaniel "Than" Clevenger did p.r. work for the PDC over the last couple of years. Clevenger is a friend and political advisor to PDC chair Matt Hennessee (whose career in public life was pronounced dead by Willamette Week yesterday). Coincidentally, Clevenger also just happened to serve as p.r. flak for Opus Northwest, the company to whom the PDC commissioners voted last week to award the potentially highly lucrative contract to turn the east side of the Burnside Bridge into another condo canyon.
In the article, Mayor Tom Potter (bless his soul) is not only wondering aloud about Clevenger's contracts, but also calling for the final word on the Burnside deal to be delayed until after Hennessee and PDC CEO Don "the Don" Mazziotti are out of office come June 30. The losing bidder, Beam, has filed an appeal of last week's highly odiferous decision by the PDC board, and Potter wants the new CEO, not Mazziotti, to rule on that appeal. Good for the mayor; I hope he's successful.
Meanwhile, Clevenger himself seems to have gone off the deep end. B!X, who deserves an award for his reporting on the Burnside fiasco and on Clevenger's role in particular, reported last night that he had received an e-mail message from Clevenger that included the following passage:
How many people did you employ? Or, did paying an intern to help your rumor-mongering business not factor in your parents monthly support of your hobby? But enough of this childishness, how about you and me in a public debate. You bring your slander and innuendos. I'll bring a group of friends and some chips 'cause I know you can't really afford to buy snacks on your parent's allowance. Oh, but you'll have to crawl out from under that rock you live under to do it. Name the place, I'll bring my friends, you bring yours (if you have any). I'd like to see you address me in public the way you do in your site - you sissy. I'd say more, but am sure you'll print every word I write and I recognize children may be reading this. I know infants are. If you don't set a date, I'll find you at Stumptown and we can make a big show of it. Game?
Real nice. And late into the evening he was still at it over on Communique, ranting and raving through comment after comment. He even got into it with City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who, as "Than" is about to learn, doesn't suffer fools gladly.
You know what's needed right now? For Messrs. Mazziotti and Hennessee to leave their PDC positions two months early. By resigning today. As for Clevenger, if he actually wrote that e-mail and those blog comments, it's time for a major chill pill.
Mr. Clevenger, just as you offered free advice to Mr. Hennessee, let me offer some free advice to you: Take out a map and see how far it is from Virginia to Portland. If your claims to fame in Portland are being the one-time PDC public involvement expert, and the political brains behind Matt Hennessee, then you are lucky not to be on welfare at this point. The last thing you need to do is to start bullying people who are telling it like it is.
Perhaps you should give Kim Kimbrough a call, and schedule some golf dates. Because just like Kim, you are pretty much packing your own suitcase.
UPDATE, 5:47 p.m.: A document that purports to be the Beam protest letter is making the rounds. For what it's worth, I post it here (pdf).