Portland would not be hurt much by Trump's 'sanctuary cities' budget cuts
President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an order cutting federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities on Wednesday. Mayor Ted Wheeler has vowed to defy it.
So how much could that cost Portland, which has formally said it will not cooperate with federal authorities in cases where immigration status is the only issue?
The short answer: not much.
According to figures from the city's Office of Management and Finance, only 1.3 percent of Portland's budget came from federal or state sources. The office included state sources because some of that funding could have come from the federal government.
Despite the low percent of federal and state funds in the city's budget, some programs would be hurt more than others. A review of specific grants shows much of the funding goes to the housing, police, transportation and emergency management bureaus.
The office says the city's 2015-16 budget was $3.7 billion. During that year, the city received just $48,923,517.28 in federal and state grants. And the figure was a little higher than usual because it includes more than $9 million in FEMA funds due to the declared "state of emergency" storm in 2015.
The city's fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.
Here's the statement Wheeler issued just before noon:
"For more than 150 years, Portland has been a destination for those wanting to apply their hard work to the purpose of creating a better life for themselves and their families. My own family made the trek on the Oregon Trail. We are a city built on immigration.
"We are not going to run from that history. We will not be complicit in the deportation of our neighbors. Under my leadership as mayor, the city of Portland will remain a welcoming, safe place for all people regardless of immigration status.
"This approach is consistent with the Oregon state law and the Fourth and 10th Amendments of the United States Constitution. We will not compromise our values as a city or as Americans and will resist these policies."
Oregon's two U.S. senators blasted the decision, saying it was a "big mistake" that could "threaten public safety."
"It's clear that effective policing requires trust between law enforcement and community members, and any action to remove essential funding from cities and counties choosing to not enforce certain federal immigration laws seriously threatens public safety," said Sen. Ron Wyden. "With that clear premise in mind, I will keep working to protect the priorities of Oregonians, including the choice by cities like Portland and counties in our state to welcome immigrants and refugees as neighbors."
Sen. Jeff Merkley added that the plan could also damage police crime-fighting efforts. "Trump's plan to turn local police into immigration agents promotes crime by destroying the community policing strategies essential for effective law enforcement. It's a big mistake, and I stand with our cities determined not to make this mistake."
You can see the full FY 2015-2016 budget at www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/537361