City had undisclosed contract with ousted businessman
In December 2017, prominent businessman Jerry Jones Jr. resigned under fire from his elected position at Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District, and his volunteer leadership position at the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, following accusations by more than one woman of sexual harassment.
At the time, Jones also had a previously undisclosed contract with the City of Beaverton, worth almost $60,000, to serve as an ombudsman between the city and major developers.
The contract was set to expire — and did — on Dec. 31, 2017.
Randy Ealy, chief administrative officer fo the City of Beaverton, had been asked in December if Jones' relationship with the city was as a volunteer, a contractor or an employee. Ealy said Jones had been a volunteer, sitting on Beaverton's Visioning Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2013, and the city's Urban Renewal Agency from 2010 to 2017.
When asked why he didn't reveal the contract — which was in play at the time of the question — Ealy said he had misunderstood the question.
"I just missed that," he said Jan. 11, while speaking to The Valley Times.
One of the accusers — The Valley Times has agreed to keep their names out of stories — worked for Jones. Another was a former City of Beaverton employee who said she was harassed by Jones in 2012.
At that time, Ealy said, Jones was a volunteer only. His first and only contract with the city was signed in 2017.
Jones, owner of Columbia Construction Management, had received the contract in May 2017 to serve as the city's liaison with three major development partners: South Cooper Mountain, Nike and Kaiser Permanente. The original contract was for $25,000. In October, it was extended until the end of 2017 for an additional $34,998.
All three developments were considered complicated, Ealy said; especially South Cooper Mountain, a subdivision near Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and 175th Avenue that could see an additional 10,000 residents in the city. The project had been delayed a year, he said.
Developers there had said they were confused by the city's processes and "left meetings scratching their heads," Ealy added.
Jones, a developer, was hired to smooth the process of major projects for all three groups.
Ealy said Jones had aided all three projects and participating groups had spoken highly of his contributions.
When asked if the contract lapsed because it was due to lapse, or because of the allegations, Ealy said "both."
"We would have reconsidered — absent the allegations — in January. And in my opinion, likely continued the contract," he said.
Ealy added that the city was, "grateful for the work Jerry did for us in the second half of the year 2017."
Ealy declined to say if Jones would be considered for any future contractual work with the city. "As of today, there is no contract," he said. "I think it's reasonable to say we won't contract with Columbia Construction Management in the near future."
Last week, Mayor Denny Doyle and all five Beaverton City Councilors were asked — via the city's email system — the following question: Would you support or oppose the city engaging in any new contracts with Mr. Jones?"
As of Wednesday, none of the five councilors — Lacey Beaty, Betty Bode, Mark Fagin, Cate Arnold and Marc San Soucie — had responded to the question. Holly Thompson, a spokeswoman for the mayor, confirmed that they had received the question.
Thompson said day-to-day administration of the city — including administration of contracts — is the responsibility of the mayor.
"Going forward, the Mayor does not foresee a need to re-engage Mr. Jones' services as a construction project manager," Thompson wrote.
Ealy said members of the city's Community Development Department have been assigned to serve as liaison to the major projects.
In December, both Doyle and Ealy said they never received any report of any city employee being harassed by Jones. A search of public record documents also turned up no information on Jones and harassment.
"We would have taken swift measures if that had been the case," Ealy said in January.
He said Doyle and the city's Human Resources Department, "go to great lengths to protect (employees) from bad actors, both internally and externally."