Portland is getting out of corporate investing altogether. The Portland City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to end the practice following pressure from activists to withdraw from companies that are problematic for the environment, human rights or government.BDSers were among the groups that were trying to get Portland to divest from various companies.
The city has $539 million invested in corporations this year, City Treasurer Jennifer Cooperman said.
Activists for months have urged the Portland City Council to divest from controversial companies. They pleaded with them in December to withdraw from Wells Fargo due to its investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline and from Caterpillar, a company that makes trucks and bulldozers, some of which they say are used to harm Palestinians in the Israel Palestine conflict.
Instead, commissioners decided not to invest it in any corporations period, in part to avoid the trouble of having to perpetually decide which corporations the city considers bad actors.
Cooperman estimated divesting could cost the city a minimum $4.5 million or more this year and even more the following year. The mayor estimated that amounts to more than 200 affordable housing units or more than 600 new shelter beds based on current costs.
"I think the hit is too hard," Wheeler said. "I'm erring on the side of doing what I was elected to do."
Commissioner Dan Saltzman told the activists that he based his decision on having limited time that he'd rather spend addressing the city's housing crisis and potholes than regularly evaluating which companies belong on the do-not-buy list.
"I fully respect and appreciate what you're saying, but I think it's the wiser course to get out of the business altogether because I don't want to do this every year," Saltzman said.
The city had the choice of losing millions of dollars from all corporate investments or losing hundreds of hours of time listening to activists whining about their pet causes.
They chose to lose the millions of dollars.
The subtext is that BDSers and other "social justice warriors" are really disliked even in the most liberal cities in the US.