Dudley: Burning Down the House
in Willamette Week, Nigel “Pulitzerman” Jaquiss reports that Chris Dudley took a tax exemption on a house he let the Lake Oswego Fire Dept burn for a training exercise. The thought was nice — the Fire Dept needs the chance to practice skills under relatively controlled but realistic conditions — but the exemption was probably not legal. However, at the time, his accountant believed it was, so even if Duds is forced to repay the money, and he claimed over $140,000 for the $350,000 house, the issue isn’t whether he broke the law.
The issue is how much Chris Dudley puts his own wealth at the forefront of all he does. From moving to Camas to save a few bucks on taxes to working in the wealth industry to destroying an entire house for the tax savings, Dudley is about his vast and growing wealth. And as his comments on the minimum wage revealed so starkly, he not only has no idea what working- and middle-class Oregonians lives are like, he has no desire to gain that understanding. Remember: He did not speak up for minimum wage workers. He said it made no sense to earn a “high” minimum wage and get tips.
$17,000 a year, plus tips, makes no sense to Chris Dudley. Burning down a house to enhance his own wealth does.
Having lived in the Portland metropolitan area for most of my life, and having attended Marylhurst University, I came to appreciate the beauty of many of the old homes and grounds in Lake Oswego. It's become a common practice for home buyers to swoop into Lake O, snap up old property and promptly tear it down to erect a McMansion. Nothing, mind you, wrong with the old house. The house Dudley "generously" allowed the fire department to torch was simply not his cup of tea. That sort of perspective is so out of the realm of most struggling Oregonians today that the idea that a person who embraces it -- who cannot have the slightest idea of what it is like to make ends meet from day to day -- may be our governor, makes my blood run cold.