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1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204
The following statement was made today around 12:15 p.m. by Dana Haynes, communications director for Mayor Charlie Hales, regarding the FBI arrest of Reaz Qadir Khan:
I have been briefed by the City Attorney’s Office and by the Human Resources Office, regarding what information I can release to you.
Some of your questions: We will not be able to answer at this time.
I also am not releasing Human Resources documents. Most of you are familiar with the procedures for filing a Public Records Request with the city of Portland.
Mr. Reaz Qadir Khan was employed by the city of Portland. He worked in the Bureau of Environmental Services. He was hired in November 2005 as a Wastewater Operator II. That is the only position he has held with the city. He has worked in several work groups but most recently on C-Shift (graveyard) and B-Shift (swing shift) at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.
His duties have included in Sludge Processing, serving as Primary Treatment Operator, a Console Operator and the Lead Operator.
Mr. Khan was a full-time employee. He was “covered,” which means he was eligible for overtime. His annual salary is $60,091, but that does not take into account overtime.
A Wastewater Operator II operates the equipment that makes-up the sewage treatment plant, such as pumps, debris screens, boilers, blowers, and chlorinators. An operator monitors equipment controls and takes corrective action to ensure effective equipment operation. An operator makes operational decisions including pumping rates and dosage adjustments, and whether to bring equipment on-line or take it off-line. And an operator trouble-shoots equipment failures and identifies maintenance needs.
If the Allegations are True, was Mr. Khan in a position to do harm?
First, the allegations are just allegations. Mr. Khan is considered innocent until proven guilty.
However, if the allegations should prove to be true, I have spoken to officials at the Bureau of Environmental Services. Here’s what they told me:
The Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant is highly automated and highly visible to all staff on site. Any attempts to counter act the normal operation of the treatment systems would be immediately met with several alarms and would be easily seen by other staff who could take the appropriate remedial action. It is very unlikely that such an act could be successfully carried out.
What does the City Do Next?
Typically, if an employee is arrested, he or she can be put on paid administrative leave.
“Paid Administrative Leave” gives the city the ability to have a person “not at work” while we consider the next steps to be taken. And that’s where we are at right now, in regards to Mr. Khan.
Mr. Kahn had two court hearings today regarding his release from custody and he is likely to be released after a third hearing Thursday afternoon.
If he is released, the city will place him on paid administrative leave from work while the city assesses the status of workplace operations and gathers information relative to Mr. Kahn.
Criminal Records Check:
It is city policy to encourage every bureau to conduct criminal records checks for all new employees. That is the policy today and it was in 2005. However, I have not seen the paper trail on Mr. Khan’s hiring yet, and I don’t know for sure that the policy was followed. A criminal records check would not uncover international actions as outlined in the allegations.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force:
The agreement with federal authorities and the city of Portland was not invoked in this case. No Portland Police officers were involved in the FBI investigation. One patrol car was in the area of the search warrant for traffic control only.