Protests and election loom over today’s police budget vote

Screengrab from video by Sergio Olmos shows officers shoving protestors to the ground last night.
(Source: @MrOlmos on Twitter)

With all the political drama of the past week, our local debate over a proposal to cut $18 million from the Portland Police Bureau seems like it happened ages ago. But it’s only been one week since Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called her council colleagues “cowardly” for not voting on her proposal.

The vote is scheduled to happen when council meets again today (11/5) at 2:00 pm.

While the faces on city council haven’t changed, Tuesday’s election is still likely to influence the vote. Hardesty endorsed her ally on the proposal, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly — who lost her race by a large margin. Following Tuesday’s vote, and after she hung-up on the council meeting in disgust before it was officially adjourned, Hardesty endorsed the challenger to current Mayor Ted Wheeler — but he won his race by a comfortable margin (although he failed to win a majority of votes thanks to a large number of write-in votes).

“This was never just about this one budget… tomorrow is not the end of our hard-fought battles in the movement for justice and accountability.”
— Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland city commissioner

All of this is likely to make it even harder for Hardesty and Eudaly to find the necessary third vote on the five-member council. Newly seated commissioner Dan Ryan was always seen as the most probably swing vote. On Tuesday he said he felt “rushed” by the process and likened it to the US Supreme Court’s handling of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation. It’s not likely the election helped move him any further toward Hardesty’s proposal.

It’s also notable that Mayor Wheeler’s key concern about the proposal — that would lead PPB officer layoffs – has since been backed up by the City Budget Office.

Hardesty herself sounds resigned to major compromise today (which could of been her goal all along). In a statement last night she wrote, “I want to say that no matter the outcome, together we have effectively moved the conversation back to centering people and that is so important. This was never just about this one budget… tomorrow is not the end of our hard-fought battles in the movement for justice and accountability.” Those are not the words of someone who feels they have momentum on their side.

Battles on Portland streets last night once again proved why Hardesty wants to reduce the PPB budget. With Oregon State Police and National Guard Troops by their side thanks to a move by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to “keep the peace” following the election, the Portland Police Bureau once again took part in tactics that appear to be overly brutal and aggressive. Videos and witness accounts from last night show protestors being thrown to the ground for what appears to be nothing more than exercising their rights to assembly.

Hardesty and Eudaly are very likely to bring this up at council today. Whether or not it’s enough to sway Commissioner Ryan remains to be seen.

The council meeting begins at 2:00 pm and will be live on the City’s YouTube channel. Details on what the proposal would cut and what it would fund can be found below.

Hardesty’s budget amendment would reduce the PPB budget by $18,022,101. Here’s how she would get to that number (see her proposal here (PDF)):

  • Convert the portion of the Police Bureau’s one‐time cut related to the Mayor’s directed 5.6% reduction to ongoing. This totals a reduction of $4,665,885.
  • Eliminate 42 positions that were recently vacated by sworn members who retired in August. This totals a reduction of $7,169,753 and 42.0 FTE. Note that there were 48 retirements in August, but we are unable to eliminate Sergeant positions due to staffing requirements for this job class outlined in the Settlement Agreement.
  • End an IGA between the Police Bureau and the County District Attorney’s Office, where the Police Bureau is paying for 3 investigators in that office to issue subpoenas. This totals a reduction of $425,000.
  • Direct the elimination of secondary employment and further reduce overtime. This totals a reduction of $2,500,000.
  • Reduce external and internal materials and services to correspond with a reduction in FTE and reduce funding for military like supplies and munitions. This reduction totals $2,500,000.
  • Eliminate Special Emergency Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $633,989.
  • Eliminate Rapid Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $,633,989.

And here’s where she’d invest the money instead:

  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center food assistance program by $7,450,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center hygiene stations program by $1,075,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center outdoor shelter program by $1,050,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center household essentials program by $300,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Portland Housing Bureau General Fund by $7,547,101 in one-time resources for universal eviction defense.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability General Fund by $500,000 in one-time resources to help address the digital divide for our disabled community members.
  • Increase external materials and services in Portland Fire & Rescue General Fund by $100,000 in one-time resources for increased Crisis Intervention Training.
  • Increase General Fund Contingency Policy Set-Aside by $1,000,000 in ongoing resources for the creation of a Latinx Youth Development fund.
  • Increase General Fund Contingency policy set-aside by $2,500,000 in ongoing resources for Portland Street Response.
  • Increase General Fund unrestricted contingency by $14,522,101 in ongoing resources to provide stability to FY 2021-22’s General Fund budget, or to be available for additional emergent community needs.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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one
1 year ago

I’m so disappointed that JoAnn and Chloe couldn’t get a third council member to side with them on the budget last week. I have no trust in Ted Wheeler. Amanda Fritz is on her way out and could have made an impact here, but didn’t- good riddance. I feel lied to by Dan Ryan who sold himself as a progressive/ a supporter of the people.

Now it looks like MAYBE Dan Ryan might end up aligning with those who were supported by the Oregonian/ Portland Business Alliance/ Portland Police Union team, of Teargas Ted Wheeler and Mingus Mapps. And Portland takes another shift to the right. Fukc!

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  one

Has anyone floated a specific plan that they want us to be working towards? Or is this just cutting for the sake of cutting to send the police a message, public safety be damned?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago

None of those are bad things to spend money on necessarily, but it’s not clear (to me at least) that we have too many police for our size, or that they don’t have enough to do, or how we’re going to provide sufficient security with fewer resources, especially at a time when it feels that we don’t have nearly enough.

To be fair, my immediate neighborhood hasn’t seen a big uptick in shootings lately, so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it?

PS Cutting the police now to make investments to reduce policing years or decades hence is putting the cart before the horse. Let’s make the investments, evaluate the results, then adjust the police budget accordingly.

== Note: substantially edited the PS to make the point clearer

cmh89
cmh89
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

PS Cutting the police now to make investments to reduce policing years or decades hence is putting the cart before the horse. Let’s make the investments, evaluate the results, then adjust the police budget accordingly.

The police are like a sponge that soaks up resources. We aren’t going to be able to make the investments we need to if we continue to waste a huge portion of our budget on tear gas the worlds most expensive administrative assistants.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

There are really two independent threads to your argument, each of which can stand alone: First, we need fewer police now. Second, that by making investments in other things, we can reduce the need for police in the future.

I disagree with the first thread (there is no evidence this is true), and agree with the second (despite having no evidence for it either, but I’m a leftie, so I generally believe things like this).

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It’s shifting the cost burden of armed police from local control to county, state, and National Guard. Why reform your own police when you can defund them and focus your reforms on police forces you have even less control over?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Shifting cost, responsibility, and control.

cmh89
cmh89
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I’m not saying we ‘need fewer police’. I’m saying that funding the police doesn’t provide enough ROI to justify their cost. I don’t think we should build anymore interstates but I certainly think we should de-prioritize them in our budgets in favor of building something will get us to where we want to be.

If Police cost less they wouldn’t be on the chopping block, but they do, so they are.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

It still sounds like you’re saying you want fewer police, though you’re presenting it as if public safety is an expensive luxury we could learn to do without.

cmh89
cmh89
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If PPA wants to have their officers take a pay cut to stick around, I’m all for it.

I’m not sure what public safety has to do with anything. I guess you might live in the west hills or something. I rarely see cops and they sure as hell don’t provide my community with any level of community safety.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

When the police completely withdrew from the CHOP in Seattle, it only took a couple of days before it became Lord of the Flies.

The fact that your community is not like that means the police are providing you with quite a bit of safety, even if you don’t recognize it.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

That could be said of just about every public sector employee, no?

FWIW, I am not saying they shouldn’t be paid well, just saying that your logic can certainly apply to the whole sector instead of just one group of people.

Rain Waters
Rain Waters
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

So its ok to let the shootings begin, then what ?

Javier Sodo
Javier Sodo
1 year ago

I think that is a nice thought but overly utopian in my opinion. We already have a low number of officers per citizen as compared to other cities of comparable size. The concept that we can make Portland so “strong and healthy” that we need even less police is unproven and would be a high stakes experiment.
Good article on the topic
https://www.thetrace.org/2020/09/portland-police-racism-gun-violence-shootings-data-hardesty/

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  Javier Sodo

It would be a lot less high-stakes if we made Portland “strong and healthy” before cutting the police.

Javier Sodo
Javier Sodo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Agreed!

one
1 year ago

Find ways to help who flex their progressive muscles? Teargas Ted? Shoot. He doesn’t care. He is a puppet of the police. He’s a spineless backstabbing weasel. He was even a republican until recently. What progressive muscles? Maybe he should donate $150,000 to some progressive causes- that would be a good start.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago

A new concept: Right-wing Fascist Democrats. Only in Oregon?

one
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Ted is a lifetime Republican. He only changed parties when he made a donation from his inherited wealth and became state treasurer.

one
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Democrat? Ted is a life time republican. He switched parties when he made a donation from his inherited wealth, and became state treasurer. Ted throws in progressive talking points from time to time, but takes no action on them. He 100% of the time is an advocate for the police who mock him and ignore anything he says.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

It might sell! Portland does seem to attract extremists.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago

Ted’s WHOLE issue is that he doesn’t flex – anything. He’s afraid to make decisions that might offend people. People want leaders who act, and Mayor Milquetoast doesn’t.

In a way, Iannarone had more direction than Wheeler – it’s just that her direction led over a cliff in search of Utopia and most people thankfully saw through that.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago

The protesters have completely lost the hearts/minds of the majority of Portland voters, which was clear from the election.

They pushed for a write-in candidate during a runoff election, which caused to Wheeler getting re-elected, then rioted when Wheeler was re-elected.

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

I think most protesters voted for Sarah Iannarone. I think almost 147 thousand of the protestors voted for Sarah.

Mike
Mike
1 year ago

Serious question here, what should be done with the vandalism that is coinciding with the protests? Is it just part of the protest or are the police allowed to arrest the vandals?

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike

Is this a red herring or a straw man argument? I get them confused.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  one

Red herrings and straw men can lose you elections. The vandalism is a huge issue, whether you think so or not.

Mike
Mike
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

People, not living in Portland, don’t think too highly of what’s gone on here. You can think you are right all day long but if it helps elect a guy like trump, what’s the point?

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Police brutality and violence against Black people is a huge issue, whether you think so or not. All of the spray painting that happens combined is nothing compared to the violence against one Black body. Where are your priorities? We need police reform NOW.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  one

As much as I love a good straw man…that’s a straw man argument.

We need police reform and we need people to stop breaking stuff. How does vandalism make people want to side with your cause?

I have no problem with Black folks breaking things – they’ve earned it because they’ve been on the receiving end of racism for years.

Young white guys? Sorry – you’ve not earned the right. Be supportive and keep your hands in your pockets.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago

No one has “earned” the right to vandalize the property of others, no matter how wronged they may have been. That’s just not how it works.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Some of those folks think vandalism isn’t a form of violence. Tell that to the person inside the house when it is happening….

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

All of the vandalism combined doesn’t compare to the life of one Black body. Where TF are your priorities? We need police reform now.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  one

I agree completely — I still can’t understand why people would risk arrest or worse just to set a union office on fire.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  one

But why are those things frequently linked?

Mike
Mike
1 year ago
Reply to  one

Your point is?

Granpa
Granpa
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike

This issue is EXACTLY why the majority shifted toward the center. People are sick of idealogs, looters and anarchists trashing the city. Notice how last night legitimate BLM protesters wanted nothing to do with the mob.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Granpa

Good write up in the New Yorker on that…

Alan 1.0
1 year ago
Reply to  Granpa

Vandals and looters, yes. The only ideology they can honestly claim is nihilism. For comparison, here’s an example of an antifa communist anarchist: https://youtu.be/_U75pSZx5hQ

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Granpa

There is no shifting to the center. It is either shifting from left to right or right to left. Most people think they are in the center whether they are or are not. Portland is shifting (Sadly) towards the right.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  one

I doubt that Portland is shifting much at all in either direction. It’s just your perception/understanding that’s changing. Most people take a lifetime to shift their political orientation. I only one who made big changes in a short time, a staunch libertarian who got “deprogrammed” by a new girlfriend (and even that took a couple of years). People who aren’t on the untenable extremes tend to drift slowly as they accumulate experience and get a better understanding of how the world works.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  one

It might look that way when one shifts further to the Left.

Javier Sodo
Javier Sodo
1 year ago

How is redirecting massive amounts of public safety money to fund hot dog give aways and clean underwear handouts considered police reform? What a joke. I mean if this was a serious reform proposal such as designing and implementing a CAHOOTS style program (a community based public safety system) such as is being used in Eugene that would be interesting. Hardesty’s plan is a misguided waste of taxpayer money to fund a bunch of “feel good” activities in an attempt to “punish” the police bureau.

https://whitebirdclinic.org/what-is-cahoots/

one
1 year ago
Reply to  Javier Sodo

I accidentally liked your comment before I read it all of the way through. The conversation here is not “I don’t like parts of JoAnne’s plan.” I do agree that the Eugene CAHOOTS has loads of positives. But the conversation still is: “JoAnn and Chloe are fighting for police reform, and Ted, Amanda, and Dan Ryan are digging their heels in for the status quo.” Where is Ted, Amanda, and Dan Ryan’s police reform plan you ask? Their plan is to fully fund this corrupt bureau.

Citylover
Citylover
1 year ago
Reply to  one

It will be good to see what happens with the Police Oversight Committee which passed pretty overwhelmingly.

MaddHatter
MaddHatter
1 year ago
Reply to  one

There’s a lot to be said for not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, but this (Hardesty’s plan, as described above) is not even the “the good”. It’s wishful thinking that digs a hole in one place to fill another. I’m not convinced PPB needs to hire back the 42 FTE that are unfilled now, but $7.5M in eviction defense (to pick just one) is a lot of money toward something that police aren’t doing now and isn’t going to reduce the demand for police services commensurate with 42 less FTE.