Sources: Two Wheeler staffers leaving

Portland

Two new staffers also joined the Portland mayor's office in top positions so far this year.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, April 14, 2021. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Mayor Ted Wheeler’s staff is changing again.

Communication Director Jim Middaugh left two weeks ago to become executive director of the Multnomah County Drainage District. Its mission is to reduce flood risk by maintaining the county’s levee system, manage drainage, and respond to emergencies. Before joining Wheeler’s staff, Middaugh had been Metro’s communication director and had worked at City Hall for former Commissioner Erik Sten.

And Deputy Chief of Staff Sonia Schmanski is leaving this Friday, May 29. She had previously worked for the late Commissioner Nick Fish and said it was time to explore life outside City Hall.

Staff turnover is not unusual at City Hall, although Wheeler has replaced a relatively high number of top-ranking employees since first becoming mayor in 2016. This year alone, Wheeler hired former Mayor Sam Adams as his director of strategic innovations, which includes coordinating trash clean-up work in Portland. Before that, in January, Wheeler appointed Bobby Lee, then head of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, as his chief of staff.

Wheeler faces a threatened recall this fall by activists still upset by his 2020 reelection. The Total Recall Political Action Committee has so far raised a little over $30,000 and spent almost $16,000, including $3,000 for management from a company called Summon Monster.

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