Not even a pandemic can prevent Portland, Oregon, from remaining weird. Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed a guy Sunday night who reportedly confronted him about not wearing a mask at a restaurant. Wheeler had dined at the McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public House with former Mayor Sam Adams, who is under consideration for a role in Wheeler's administration. It is epically Portland that they'd meet up at McMenamins.

The men left the restaurant at around 8 p.m. because mayors know how to party. That's when the man they both described as a middle-aged white man with glasses (so like half the city) confronted them. He followed Wheeler to his car, recording the mayor on his cellphone. The man claimed he'd also photographed Wheeler as he ate inside a tented area of the restaurant. That's peculiar. Wheeler explained to the man that he'd adhered to current coronavirus regulations. The mayor also politely requested that he keep his distance.

From the Oregonian:

"He had no face mask on and got within a foot or two of my face while he was videoing me," Wheeler said, according to the [Portland Police Bureau] report. "I became imminently concerned for my personal safety."

The mayor continued: "I clearly informed him that he needed to back off. He did not do so. I informed him that I was carrying pepper spray and that I would use it if he did not back off. He remained at close distance, I pulled out my pepper spray and I sprayed him in the eyes."

Considering the guy wasn't wearing a mask himself and didn't keep six feet away from Wheeler, he probably wasn't worried about public health but wanted to call out an elected official for apparent hypocrisy. Wheeler was rightly freaked out and concerned that he might catch the virus himself. That's when he whipped out the pepper spray.

According to Wheeler, the man exclaimed, “I can't believe you just pepper sprayed me!" Wheeler tossed him a bottle of water so he could wash out his eyes, which was a generous parting gift. I'm glad I don't live in a city where the mayor carries a gun and would've shot even this asshole.

Portland Police have identified the man as 48-year-old attorney Cary R. Cadonau, a local real estate lawyer and an Alpenrose Dairy heir. He sounds less like an actual person and more like a character in a murder mystery game.

Portland police officer Matt Miller said he spoke with Cadonau Monday afternoon, and from Miller's report, it seems like Cadonau specializes in weird conversations.

"Mr. Cadonau told me he was an 'attorney' and was hesitant to discuss the matter with me," writes Miller. "He did say that he believed the Mayor should be held 'accountable' and that he'd captured the entire incident on video. When asked about what the mayor should be held accountable for Mr. Cadonau declined to expound further."

Miller throws some fierce shade on Cadonau when he puts “attorney" in quotes. You can Google the guy. My wife's probably not thrilled about it, but he's a fellow member of the Oregon State Bar. According to his firm bio, Cadonau "enjoys working to achieve creative resolutions to disputes while providing exceptional services."

Cadonau allegedly tried to get his hands on Wheeler's receipt from his McMenamins dinner. I guess you can tell a lot about a person by whether they eat the cajun or regular tater tots. Cadonau, however, wanted to know how much alcohol Wheeler had consumed, which was none of his business.

Portland Mercury news editor Alex Zielinski broke this story when she asked Wheeler at a press conference Monday to confirm reports he'd pepper-sprayed someone the other night. Wheeler said he'd filed a police report but wouldn't go into more detail at the time. Wheeler has had his share of scary encounters with the public lately. Some creeps accosted Wheeler when he was dining out in Northwest Portland earlier this month. They reportedly pushed past restaurant employees and "one member of the group started swatting at the Mayor and made physical contact with him," according to his spokesman Jim Middaugh. People protested outside his house last summer, which was quickly declared a riot.

Regardless of what people think of Wheeler's performance as mayor, this asshole activism is all very dumb and destructive. Everyone just needs to chill.

[Oregonian / Willamette Week / Portland Mercury]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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