Most recently, the mayor’s director of policy Nicole Grant and Tia Williams, a senior policy adviser announced their departure, adding to the list of Black staffers exiting the city’s government.
Out of the 20 people on the Mayor Wheeler’s team, five Black staffers have already left or will be leaving in the coming months.
Jamal Fox, former deputy chief of staff, left during the summer, taking a position in Washington state. Cupid Alexander and Sierra Ellis also left, taking new jobs in Spokane, Washington and Reed College, respectively.
“I have been fortunate to have some incredible people on my staff. It is a loss when they leave, but I am proud when they leverage the hard work they put into this administration and find new, rewarding opportunities,” the mayor said in a statement.
Wheeler has boasted a diverse staff, with Black staffers holding some top positions in his administration. Maurice Henderson, Wheeler’s former chief of staff was the first Black person to hold the position in Portland’s history.
“I could not do this work without this team, and they deserve to be recognized for the dedication, contributions, and talent,” Wheeler added.
According to Census data, Portland is about eight percent Black. The Office of Equity and Human Rights report African Americans make up nearly seven percent of the city’s workforce.
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