Portland, Ore. – The Portland City Council is hearing testimony on proposed budget amendments. Getting the most attention is one that would cut the police budget to pay for pandemic relief. KXL’s Mike Turner has the latest.
Commissioners JoAnn Hardesty and Chloe Eudaley came up with the plan to cut over 18 million from the Portland police budget. After COVID and sometime in 2021, the commissioner would like to see the dollars invested in permanent community support. That would include keeping people in their homes, keeping people fed, and investing in non-police first response options.
Hundreds of people are weighing in on Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s proposal to cut nearly $20 million from the Portland Police Bureau. The $18 million cut would at first go to coronavirus relief. Commissioner Hardesty says next year she wants to decide on how to permanently invest those dollars in community support and non police first response.
After today’s Portland City Council meeting, it’s lobby time. KXL’s Brett Reckamp reports on what’s ahead:
Chiefs of Police across Oregon have come out against any further cuts to the Portland Police Bureau.
Our team coverage continues with KXL’s Rosemary Reynolds:
Read more from The Oregon Association Chiefs of Police Association (OACP):
The Oregon Association Chiefs of Police Association is dedicated to creating and maintaining Oregon communities as safe and thriving places to raise a family, grow a business and engage in recreational opportunities. Unfortunately, the safety and economic livelihood of all Oregonians is at risk due to proposals being considered by Portland’s elected leaders to drastically reduce an already anemic Portland Police Bureau budget.
OACP is gravely concerned about reductions to policing services in the City of Portland, and we need Oregonians to join us in raising voices of concern. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has already suffered a budget reduction of $27 million dollars in June and was forced to eliminate vital programs such as the Gun Violence Reduction Team and the Transit Police Division. Meanwhile, Portlanders are experiencing a significant escalation in violent crime. Shootings, assaults and homicides are at record numbers. Encounters with armed individuals occur daily and property crimes like auto theft, burglary, fraud and identity theft continue to plague Portland.
Now Portland’s City Council is considering further cuts to the police bureau, including:
Because of current police staffing shortages, Portland 911 emergency calls for service are often left unanswered for hours. Further cuts will cause more delay in 911 emergency call response. Portland is the economic, arts, and travel hub of our great State. All Oregon cities benefit when the City of Portland is healthy and thriving.
Like most large urban areas, Portland has its challenges, including neighborhood livability, access to housing and public safety. The Oregon Association Chiefs of Police wants Portland to remain one of America’s most desirable places to live. We do not want it to become just another city, given to decay, real and figurative. Cuts to public safety—especially more cuts—make no sense and the damage to the safety and wellbeing of Portland will take decades to repair.