I’ve been wondering for a while now: “What happened to Chloe Eudaly?” Now I know.
The former Portland City Commissioner and head of the transportation bureau left office with some very choice words for “the bike community” (and for me personally, but whatever) after losing a re-election bid to Mingus Mapps in 2020. After that, I didn’t hear anything about her or from her until this past weekend when she showed up to the Blumenauer Bridge opening celebration.
I bumped into one of her Facebook posts about the event and a few clicks later I had discovered that she has launched a new media platform via Substack called “Street Wonk“. I initially hoped the “street” part meant she had become a transportation nerd and I eagerly clicked around her first posts looking for insider-y stuff about PBOT. My disappointment was immediately overcome with interest when I realized what she’s actually creating is, “A new twice weekly newsletter about politics and policymaking from the street up!”
One thing I always liked about Eudaly was her candor (I even wrote an op-ed about it), so I’m thrilled she’s bringing that same vibe to Street Wonk and I think it’s something everyone should pay attention to. I don’t recall a former City Commissioner doing anything remotely as interesting as this.
In addition to articles and op-eds, Eudaly says she’ll launch a community forum site, host in-person events, and support progressive causes. “After we brush up on our media literacy, research, and debate skills, we’ll learn, discuss, debate, generate ideas, agitate, and champion change together,” she writes.
While Eudaly is just getting started (she says there’s a website launching this month), it’s already clear that her intent is to combine her knowledge of writing and publishing (she owned a bookstore before winning her council seat) with her experience inside government. Add in a recent fellowship position at Western States Center where she researched different methods of effective citizen engagement, and she has potential to add a very valuable voice to our community at a moment (with a pivotal election on the horizon) when we desperately need it.
“Be forewarned, I won’t be offering simple solutions to our biggest challenges because they don’t exist and I’m not running for office,” Eudaly says in one of her first articles. “Instead, I’m inviting you to join me on a community-wide quest to learn about the complexities and interconnectedness of our many challenges, discuss, deliberate and generate community-based solutions, and build momentum for progressive change from the street level up!”
One of the cool things she does each week is to take the Portland City Council Agenda and offer insights into each item. You get to learn about different policies, organizations, and people who showed up at council from someone who’s been on the other side of the dais. To me, as someone eager to learn as much as I can about how politics works in this city, that’s invaluable context and information. I’m a subscriber.
Check out Street Wonk on Substack if you’re curious.
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She was a sore loser and just a very unpleasant person. Hasn’t Portland seen enough of her?
Especially after all the damage that she did to the housing market.
I am sure this has everything to do with making the world a better place and nothing to do with “cough cough” getting paying substack subscribers… but good for her…
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get paid for work that makes the world a better place, is there?
I dunno. She was already really good at citizen engagement, especially when she told old white people on Portland’s west side that they were guilty of perpetuating white supremacy. Her comments engaged people sufficiently to vote her out.
This is the problem with a lot of so-called woke politics: people need to hear these things but they are often not ready to hear them.
I was about to say: She wasn’t wrong…!
But I take your last point, and readily acknowledge it was a politically stupid move. I find it interesting that my former westside NA was/probably still is a poster child for Eudaly’s NA code change, and that members of that NA are now being named in various articles fighting the proposed charter reform (and even in BikePortland comments!).
All that aside, Eudaly lost me when she chewed out a constituent during a council meeting when they forgot to address her “properly”. The interaction spoke volumes to her character, and it wasn’t good.
Damien, the president of my Neighborhood Association, SWHRL, is one of the two co-chairs of the Charter Review Committee.
Not only is it dumb politics to paint NAs with a broad brush, the disparaging comments about them in general are often untrue.
The funniest/saddest example of this I saw was in my PSU/PBOT transportation class. Some of my fellow classmates were David Stein, Eric Wilhelm, Josh Mahar, Clint Culpepper, Chloe Eudaly and Marshall Runkel. It was a good class.
I’m going from memory, but someone said something disparaging about NAs–I think it was Eudaly–and another person in the class responded by asking for a show of hands of those who were on their NA board. Nearly the entire class raised their hands. Ouch.
These were active transportation advocates from all neighborhoods in the city.
I’ll start by saying upfront that your core point – that it’s dumb to paint with the broad brush because it’s often inaccurate – is one I’m in total agreement with. To clarify my previous comment, all I’m meaning to say is that my former NA was absolutely accurately portrayed by said broad brush. We had good active transportation advocates, too (who were all driven out in what culminated in the NA’s whole transportation committee resigning…good drama, except when one steps away and realizes none of it matters much).
It put such a bad taste in my mouth that I haven’t reached out at all to my new residence’s NA, even though I have no reason to believe it has the same problems (other than that there’s a systemic bias toward the class of people who have the time and resources to volunteer time to NAs, and I think that systemic bias is poison to representation and I also don’t know how to realistically solve it).