PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland man has sued the city and Mayor Ted Wheeler, claiming the mayor’s office has improperly kept secret records about a homeless shelter project.
Tyler Bechtel, who works as an Oregon State Police detective, filed a public records request for city and county emails related to the shelter plan. Bechtel claims Wheeler’s office acknowledged it had some records, but a city paralegal withheld an email and attachment, saying state law allows it to keep the records secret because they contain exempt financial and personal information and because the records contain “internal advisory communications,” according to records.
Bechtel claims the city erred on procedural grounds because it should have given him copies of the records with confidential portions blacked-out. The city disagreed in its own filings.
Wheeler’s office declined to comment, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported .
Bechtel and other critics of the shelter say it would be too close to a school and too far from the offices of social services agencies, and may pose a public safety problem.
“We believe that a shelter might be the right idea but not in this location,” Bechtel said, who has banded together with other east Portland residents as an organization called Southeast Allied Communities, which bills itself as opposed to the shelter.
The proposed shelter, which county commissioners approved in January, would be at Foster Road and Southeast 61st Avenue in Portland and plans to shelter up to 120 people.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com