Council proposes alternatives to police funding to fight violence
Some members of the City Council have put forth a proposal aimed at combating gun violence in Portland, and it does not include increased funding for police.
The proposal, which KOIN 6 News obtained Thursday, April 1, from the office of Commissioner Carmen Rubio, is in response to a $2 million proposal floated by Mayor Ted Wheeler for the Portland Police Bureau's Enhanced Community Safety Team. It also is supported by commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty, Mingus Mapps and Dan Ryan.
Instead, the proposal released by Rubio seeks to invest $3.5 million in various organizations that work with communities impacted by gun violence, another $600,000 to build up small or emerging contractors like Word Is Bond and Redstone Collective and $1.4 million to expand park ranger patrols.
In the memo, commissioners recommend adding 24 park rangers to patrol 12,000 acres of city park land and surrounding areas 24/7 from May to December. The proposal states these rangers, who are not sworn officers, "use a combination of education and positive engagement to reduce harm to park resources and the visitor experience." They can kick people out of city parks and also issue civil penalties.
While this proposal does not advocate for additional Portland Police Bureau funding, those who support the plan want the bureau to shuffle its resources to create six new assault investigative detectives and one sergeant.
"This Council cannot prioritize any new investments to the Portland Police Bureau or the Office of Violence Prevention until we develop a comprehensive plan and timeline to build a community-centered safety system that is right for Portland and co-led by the community. Once we have that vision, we will evaluate for its cost," the proposal states.
The counteroffer calls for "action on this proposal to occur immediately, with short-term plans to be established by no later than April 30, 2021."
Rubio's office shared the following statement and attributed it to all five city commissioners:
"When the Mayor brought forward his proposal, he also offered space for feedback and collaboration around that proposal. At this point, the question is not what proposal is supported and which is opposed, but rather what elements everyone can support. With those in mind, we're working together to develop a proposal that disrupts cycles of gun violence, and results in real systems change. We look forward to sharing a cohesive proposal once one exists."
The proposal can be found here.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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