Portland has walked back a proposed boycott of Texas goods and services and travel ban for city employees over that state’s new abortion law.
Instead, the mayor and City Council will vote Wednesday whether to give $200,000 to reproductive health care groups, according to a draft resolution published Tuesday night.
The resolution, which would set aside money from the city’s taxpayer general fund, does not specify if these groups would be based in Oregon or out of state.
The pivot comes a week after city officials tabled a highly-publicize plan to boycott purchases from or travel to Texas, which drew national headlines as well as the ire of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who pilloried “dumpster fire” Portland and its “depraved” leaders on social media.
“We decided to postpone this item so City Council can work together to best understand the impact of this important decision,” Mayor Ted Wheeler wrote Sept. 8, several days after he announced the proposal on the eve of Labor Day weekend.
City officials last week said Portland has inked nearly $35 million in contracts with Texas-based businesses over the last five years.
Texas’ restrictive new law, which went into effect last month, bans abortions after about six weeks — before most people know they’re pregnant.
The law also allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs an abortion or assists a person more than about six weeks pregnant to get one. Plaintiffs can recover up to $10,000 in statutory damages for every abortion-assisting effort they successfully report.
Portland’s new proposed resolution was added to Wednesday’s city council meeting agenda using a procedure that allows members to add last-minute items with the support of at least four of the five members of the council.
Commissioner Mingus Mapps has indicated he may not vote to support it.
“He has concerns about the process and outcomes of the proposal,” Mapps spokesman Adam Lyons said Tuesday evening. “There are pressing issues here that Portlanders are screaming for us to solve. This resolution is out of step with what Portlanders are asking us to do.”
— Shane Dixon Kavanaugh; 503-294-7632
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