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.