Who are Mike and Jean? Mayor mum on further details

Who are Mike and Jean? Mayor mum on further details »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – In the 2008 presidential campaign there was “Joe the Plumber.” Now it appears Portland has its own version: Mike and Jean.

Mayor Sam Adams highlighted the struggles of Mike and Jean during his State of the City speech last Friday. But who are they?

“Like Jean – a mother with a long face and two infants in matching red sweaters – or Mike, a short, stout man wearing a baseball cap who knocked on my front door,” said Adams during the speech.

For Willamette Week reporter Beth Slovic, the person who came to mind when she heard the mayor talk about Mike and Jean was Joe the Plumber during this past presidential campaign.

However, the man who became a metaphor for the average American turned out not to be quite what he seemed. So Willamette Week reporters set out to find out about Mike and Jean.

“The mayor in his speech made a promise to Jean and Mike,” Slovic said.

That promise? “My job is to look the Jeans and Mikes straight in the eye and say, ‘I’ve got your back,'” Adams said in his speech.

“The only way we’re going to be able to find out whether Jean and Mike think the mayor has their back and is working to address the problems in the way they see fit, is to find Jean and Mike,” Slovic said.

The mayor’s communication director, Roy Kaufmann, told Willamette Week reporters that Mike and Jean are “just two of the countless Portlanders” who approach the mayor.

The reporters pressed again to clarify if Mike or Jean were real people or composited characters, and if Adams knew when he met them.

“The suggestion that was e-mailed to us was that this was a case where he did not get their last names,” said Slovic.

KATU News tried to follow up by calling, e-mailing and tweeting the mayor’s office but received no response.

Attempting to speak to the mayor at City Hall between meetings was also unsuccessful. He just ignored a KATU News reporter when she tried to question him about Mike and Jean.

If you think you are the Mike and Jean that Adams mentioned or might know who they are please e-mail us at thedesk@katu.com.