Mayor Aide Baruti Artharee Investigated for Comments

Suggestive Behavior Uproar

| 6/11/2013, 5:21 p.m.
Mayor Charlie Hales gets some unwanted attention after one of his top aides is accused of making suggestive remarks and ...
Mayor aide Baruti Artharee (left) is investigated for making suggestive sexual comments directed toward Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith (right).

Mayor Charlie Hales’ office is receiving some very unwanted attention right now after one of his top aides was accused of making suggestive remarks and gestures toward Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.

The controversy was sparked at a Thursday night event organized by The Skanner publisher, Bernie Foster to introduce Dante James, director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights to various minority communities.

The city’s public safety adviser Baruti Artharee was at the gathering representing Mayor Hales. While making remarks on the microphone it is being reported that Artharee commented on finding Smith, who was in the back of the room, physically attractive and making a suggestive motion with his hips.

Smith said the comments were not funny and made her feel uncomfortable.

Artharee, 60, is not commenting on the events that transpired, but apologized to Smith the next day, officials said.

After three days of controversy, Hales also apologized to the commissioner. He also asked the city’s Human Resources Department to begin an investigation into the incident.

“We are treating it as a complaint regarding actions in violation of the city’s anti-harassment policy,” said a statement from the mayor issued on Tuesday.