Portland’s Full-Page Ad in the New York Times: A Truth-in-Advertising Issue or Just Candor?

Portland, Oregon has had its share of newsworthy events over the past year. There were 56 homicides in Portland in 2020, the highest number in 26 years. Through April 6 of this year, there were 25 homicides, so Portland is on track to break another record. Total burglaries in 2019 were 4,190. For 2020, Portland finished the year with burglaries at 5,436. After nearly a year of protests, the Portland police took down the fencing around the Hatfield Federal Court Building. Anarchy reared its ugly head once again.

The police, businesspeople, and protestors are still arguing over the amount of property damage — somewhere between $2.3 million and $23 million. It depends on the actual number of Louis Vuitton bags the looters took from the downtown mall.

Contrast this data with some of the phrases in Portland’s ad, aimed at getting tourists back to Portland:

“Some of what you’ve heard about Portland is true. Some is not. What matters most is that we’re true to ourselves.” [That ought to get the tourists rolling in.]

“Anything can happen. We like it this way.” [It’s just that visitors are unclear on the meaning of “anything,” and whether it includes robbery and such.]

“We have some of the loudest voices on the West Coast. And, yes, passion pushes the volume all the way up. We’ve always been like this. We wouldn’t have it any other way.” [Note to Portland: Tourists are not into volume. They also prefer a tear-gas free downtown area.]

Some recruiting tips for The Portland Chamber of Commerce: Not everyone enjoys seeing a riot on vacation, no matter how much Portlandians do. They also prefer returning home alive.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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