Public Safety Advisor Retires

Resignation follows controversy over sexist comments

10/16/2013, 10:43 a.m.
Baruti Artharee

A long-time African American leader who survived a controversy over sexist comments he made last June, submitted his resignation Monday as a public safety advisor to Mayor Charlie Hales.

Artharee said he was looking forward to his retirement and spoiling his grandchildren.

In a prepared statement released by the mayor’s office, Artharee said, “It has been an honor and privilege to be on Mayor Hales’ team. I take pride in the work that I have accomplished.”

Hales suspended Artharee for one week without pay in July after an investigation over inappropriate comments he made about Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith during a gathering of African American leaders at the Quartet Restaurant in June.

During the meeting he introduced Smith as “our beautiful commissioner” who “mmm, mmm, mmm looks good tonight.” Others said he made suggestive movements with his hips, but that charge was not substantiated by the investigation.

A spokesperson for Hales said Artharee’s sudden departure had nothing do with his controversial comments.

In a statement, Hales said he was sorry to see someone with Artharee’s “skills and passion for justice leave us.

“In his short time here, he has contributed much to my vision of building and improving relationships between the police and the neighborhoods, businesses and citizens,” Hales said. “We wish him well in his retirement, but will not be surprised to see him continue to be an active voice for justice and equity in our city.”