Not that there weren't some mild dramatics. Some were justified. After Commissioner Amanda Fritz—Portland's wellness commissioner!—explained why employees who suffer from asthma and chemical allergies would welcome the instant relief brought by common, basic courtesy, Commissioner Nick Fish very matter-of-factly revealed a personal secret that shed light on why a fragrance-free policy makes sense.
Certain kinds of makeup and perfumes cause him to break out, and it's always been difficult for him to say something when guests or others who are particularly redolent come to his office: "It always felt to me somewhat presumptuous."
But the height of circus came along when Jasun Wurster, the activist who first tried to recall Mayor Sam Adams, testified about the proposed policy.
First, when Adams, as form dictates, asked him to state his full name, Wurster replied: "As if you don't know." Then he tried to blame any city employees' breathing problems on shoddy cleaning in city buildings, on his way to making a fart joke: "Then there's the quagmire of the SBD, but I won't go there."
Wurster, seemingly out to grandstand, also tried to claim that the policy would result in punishment for workers, and that city commissioners would be exempt. Turns out neither is true. Kanwit acknowledged under council questioning that the policy has no real disciplinary stick—unless an employee with a doctor's note comes forward and complains. And, yes, commissioners aren't allowed cologne and perfume baths, either.
He wouldn't go quietly: "Who's your supervisor?" he shouted at the mayor from the back of the city council chambers. Told it was the voters, he then shouted: "Two years from now, we get to get rid of that stench."
Adams had played ball until that point, but finally got a little angry: "That'll be enough of that rudeness." Ssssnap!
Afterward, another city worker testified about how gracious her colleagues in the Portland Building have been when it comes to respecting her own chemical sensitivities, going so far as to changing the kinds of personal products they use.
"You may think it's a frivolous type of ordinance," Fritz said, "but it isn't."
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