In a statement, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty slammed a city contractor for displaying a “Thin Blue Line” flag while on the clock. However, she stated that there was little she could do because the company declined her request to have the symbol removed.
Hardesty released the statement after a Twitter post showed the Oregon Concrete Solutions-branded truck with the "thin blue line" flag at the front driver's side panel.
The photo of the truck was taken while it was parked near a sidewalk expansion project on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard near 32nd Avenue.
Hardesty confirmed that she was aware of the issue soon after the photo was taken but explained that she couldn’t do anything about it even though she is the elected official overseeing the transportation bureau.
"The thin blue line imagery is viewed by many in our community as a symbol of white supremacy that has been prominently displayed by those who oppose the Black Lives Matter racial justice movement, and we understand this is causing distress in the community," she stated. "You can count me as one of the many Portlanders who finds this imagery deeply offensive."
Oregon Concrete Solutions, also known Sidewalk Solutions, is a Portland-based company owned by Christopher Collins, state records show. The company has yet to respond to the controversy.
Hardesty stated that PBOT made a request to the contractor, asking them not to display the flag while working on the city's dime, but they declined to do so. Hardesty claimed that their oversight ability is limited by contract language.
She stated: "This incident is proof we have more work to do for Portland to live up to last year's anti-racism resolution, including holding city contractors to the same standards we hold city government. I will be working with PBOT and the City Attorney's Office to look at systemic improvements we can make to address this issue going forward."
Sources: Portland Tribune