Man doused with pepper spray by Portland mayor is identified as lawyer, dairy heir

Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Ore., at a news conference in August
Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Ore., at a news conference in August.
(Sean Meagher / [Portland] Oregonian)

Police on Tuesday identified a man who was pepper sprayed by Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Ore., as a partner at a law firm who also tried to obtain surveillance footage of the mayor in a restaurant and get a copy of his meal receipt.

An additional police report identified Cary Cadonau as the man who was pepper sprayed by Wheeler after he confronted Wheeler as the mayor was leaving a restaurant Sunday evening and accused Wheeler of not wearing a mask. No charges have been filed in the incident. Cadonau did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Wheeler and Sam Adams, who served one term as Portland mayor from 2009 to 2013, had been dining in a tented area and were walking to their cars when Cadonau approached, unmasked, and got close to the mayor’s face while filming with his phone, according to police reports.


According to a statement the mayor gave police, Wheeler told the man of current coronavirus regulations, which allow people to take off their masks to eat or drink.

“He then accused me of other things to which I indicated he did not understand the rules and should probably have a better understanding if he was going to confront people about them,” Wheeler said in his statement.

Wheeler said that the man stood within one or two feet of him, which made him concerned about his safety and the potential of coronavirus infection. Wheeler told the man to “back off” and that he was carrying pepper spray, which he would use if necessary. When the man did not listen, the mayor said he sprayed him in the eyes.

About 150 demonstrators march in Portland and smash windows; police report multiple arrests.

Jan. 20, 2021

“He seemed surprised and backed off,” Wheeler told police. “He made a comment like, ‘I can’t believe you just pepper sprayed me.’”

Wheeler said he threw a bottle of water toward the man so that he could wash his eyes, he told police.

Cadonau told police when contacted Monday that he didn’t want to discuss the matter because he was an attorney. He said the mayor should be held “accountable” but declined to elaborate, according to the police report.


Cadonau was asked why he attempted to get surveillance footage from the restaurant in Portland’s Hillsdale neighborhood as well as Wheeler’s food and drink receipt from the pub, according to the report.

“Mr. Cadonau said he wanted the receipt because it would show how much alcohol the mayor consumed that evening. I asked him multiple times if he wanted to talk about the incident, share his video footage, or provide his side of the story but he respectfully declined to say anything more,” Officer Matt Miller wrote.

Stories from 2019 in the Oregonian newspaper and its online component OregonLive identify an attorney named Cary Cadonau arguing in court over the sale of his family’s business, Alpenrose Dairy, to a Seattle-based company.

Wheeler, who was reelected in November, has been targeted by left-wing demonstrators, including some who smashed windows and set a small fire inside his condominium building.