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Portland‘s mayor turned on a left-wing activist who hijacked a council meeting to air her own views, telling her in exasperation: ‘Nobody really cares what you think.’

Ted Wheeler, a 60-year-old Democrat who took over the famously liberal city in 2017, was chairing a council meeting on March 1 when Keeley Higgins took the floor.

Higgins started her ill-timed rant by saying: ‘Ted, I believe the last time I saw you in this kind of setting was when I gave testimony demanding that you end the use of poisonous gas on humans in this city.’

In February 2021, she testified in support of a bill to ban tear gas, describing how she was left choking for breath after being gassed at a protest. Portland became an epicenter of unrest following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, with more than 100 nights of protest.

Higgins said she was aware that the session was not an open forum, but she wanted to talk about the ‘tent ban’ – a policy introduced by Rene Gonzalez, the Portland Commissioner of Public Safety, to try and end the tent camps for homeless people that have mushroomed around the city.

Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, is seen on March 1 chairing a meeting of the city council

Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, is seen on March 1 chairing a meeting of the city council

Keeley Higgins is seen addressing the council, during a meeting of the Police Accountability Commission

Keeley Higgins is seen addressing the council, during a meeting of the Police Accountability Commission

‘I’m going to go for it,’ she said. ‘To give some context as to why I am here to address Rene Gonzalez’s ban on the…’

Wheeler then interrupted her, saying it was off-topic and inappropriate.

‘This is extremely disrespectful to the Police Accountability Commission that have the floor, right now, to discuss their item,’ Wheeler told her.

‘You’re not talking about that. So either get on topic, or leave.’

Higgins asked when she could address the tent issue, but Wheeler told her he could not answer her question, and said her topic was not on the agenda.

‘You see these people standing up?’ Higgins asked. ‘We’re all here for it.’

Wheeler replied: ‘Well, you’re here at the wrong time. I’m sorry, this is the Police Accountability Commission.’

Higgins tried again to get Wheeler to allow her to speak.

‘Can you tell me when the right time is?’ she asked.

Wheeler replied: ‘I cannot. But I can tell you it’s not right now.’

Wheeler on March 1 repeatedly told Higgins it was not the right place for her remarks

Wheeler on March 1 repeatedly told Higgins it was not the right place for her remarks

He then explained to her how she could sign up to ‘give public testimony on any subject’ during a council meeting.

Higgins blurted out: ‘Lift the ban – it is killing people. It’s inhumane. It’s evil. It’s state harm. Can I get a f*** Ted Wheeler in the trap?’

One woman could then be heard yelling out ‘f*** Ted Wheeler!’

The mayor, unperturbed, told her: ‘You know when you do that it actually totally undercuts the rest of your argument?’

Higgins replied: ‘I don’t really f****** care what you think, Ted.’

Wheeler said: ‘Well, as a result of your behavior nobody really cares what you think either.’

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He told them they had to be quiet and respectful, and if they could not do that they should leave. ‘And I don’t care if you like me or not,’ he said.

‘The point is: you are disrespecting other people who have put a lot of time and energy into the police accountability commission and you are being extremely disrespectful of their time and energy.

‘And I don’t know why you think your opinion is more important than theirs at this particular juncture.

‘If you want to say, stay on point, do not interrupt. I’m just asking you to be decent people. Can you do that? You’re not sure? OK, well we’ll find out.’

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