Portland Police Bureau officer admits traffic enforcement messaging was politically motivated

PPB Sgt. Ty Engstrom telling KGW news in 2021 that he is the “one” traffic enforcement officer in the entire city.

Something the Portland Police Bureau did in 2021 has bothered me ever since. At a press conference yesterday I was able to confirm my concerns about what happened with the officer directly involved.

On November 30th, 2021 a veteran member of the PPB’s Traffic Division, Sergeant Ty Engstrom, told the media that there was just one traffic enforcement officer to cover the entire city. The press conference organized by the PPB was ostensibly about a tragic rise in traffic deaths, but Sgt. Engstrom was also there to cement a narrative: He wanted Portlanders to link “defund police” with “traffic deaths” in order to receive more city funding.

His decision to place political goals of the bureau ahead of public safety led to the widespread perception that Portland had very little, to no traffic enforcement. I mentioned this briefly in my recap of yesterday’s press conference and didn’t plan to write a separate story about it until my tweet about an exchange I had with Sgt. Engstrom yesterday was widely shared. So now I want to share more context to help clarify what happened and why I think it’s important.

In addition to lawlessness and deaths on our streets and protests over policing and race, the context of that November 2021 press conference included a very contentious relationship between the PPB and former City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. Hardesty wanted to “rethink police accountability” and at one point she filed a lawsuit against them.

In June 2020, Hardesty helped pushed through a $15 million PPB budget cut, and sought to cut even more later that year. The PPB (and the union that represents officers) responded by first warning, and then following-through (in December 2020), on a reorganization plan that pulled all but one officer — Sgt. Engstrom — out of the Traffic Division. Chief Chuck Lovell said he made the move because he was under-staffed and needed officers on general patrol.

While the PPB and others framed the move as a response to the “defund police” movement, Hardesty countered that it was solely Chief Lovell’s decision and that all officers could still enforce traffic laws if they wanted to.

That next summer, the PPB began to willingly tell the media that the Traffic Division had been “dismantled” and that Sgt. Engstrom was Portland’s sole traffic enforcement officer. In July 2021, Sgt. Engstrom told KGW that, “We’re down to one motorcycle, full-time.” That was down from 19 motorcycles on the Traffic Division, “before they dismantled everything,” he said.

The PPB doubled-down on that messaging a few months later and called a press conference on November 30th to lay it out clearly.

The bureau tapped Sgt. Engstrom to lead the event. After describing the terrible number of traffic deaths that year, Engstrom said, “It’s hard to ignore the fact that we have a record-setting number of fatalities and we have very, very low numbers of police officers patrolling our streets.”

“Beginning in 2021, staffing levels were so low they had to dismantle almost the entire Traffic Division,” he continued. “So I am the only full-time unit in the entire Portland Police Bureau… They do not have enough people to help them out to patrol your streets safely.”

When I first heard that I was shocked. Why on earth would someone sworn to public safety willingly broadcast that there’s no one enforcing traffic laws? Amid a spate of deaths and rampant speeding and dangerous driving, why would the PPB want drivers to know they can do whatever they want and likely not face any consequences? It seemed incredibly irresponsible.

“Portland is down to one full-time traffic officer as speeding tickets plummet,” said one local headline after the press conference.

As dangerous driving and deaths continued, I didn’t forget that press conference. In a December 2022 op-ed (written after yet another spike in traffic deaths), I called it “part of an ongoing campaign to set a narrative that results in PPB getting more funding and more officers,” and I warned the community that, “true or not, it is based on a political goal, not a safety goal.”

Ultimately the PPB received more funding, and in May 2023, they re-launched the Traffic Division. At the press conference where they made that announcement, I asked Sgt. Engstrom if he thought his press conference in 2021 had an impact on driving behaviors. “Some of it is, people just think they’re not going to get caught,” he acknowledged. “So yeah, absolutely, I think that all played a role.”

I didn’t plan to ask him about it again at Monday morning’s press conference. But when I asked him to name one concrete thing the PPB will do differently in the short-term to make streets safer and he said, “what we’re doing right now… is trying to be as visible as possible… to just try and make ourselves look bigger than perhaps we really are,” it struck me as the exact opposite tactic they deployed in 2021.

“So you’re puffing out a little bit, saying ‘Hey there’s a lot of us’ in order to make people afraid?” I said to Sgt. Engstrom, “Which is, you know, the opposite of what you did at that press conference when you said ‘There’s no traffic officers out there.’ That’s a very different thing.”

Then Engstrom interjected:

“We needed to create a stir to get some change, to get them [city council] to fund us back up. And I mean, that’s the honest truth. I know, that could make things more dangerous. I don’t know. But at the same time, we needed some change.”

The audio clip of our exchange is below:

The PPB made a decision to tell Portlanders and the media that no one was enforcing traffic laws (also during that time they would routinely tell people who called with concerns about speeding and other issues that they couldn’t address them because the Traffic Division had been “entirely defunded”). They also seemed to know that there was a risk it could lead to more dangerous driving. And they did it anyways. More than once.

Sgt. Engstrom’s comments spread through our community like wildfire. It was one of the rare government communications campaigns that actually worked. Unfortunately, what is good for PPB politics is not necessarily good for Portland.

Last month 13 people died in traffic crashes. 16 of the last 20 deaths involved someone committing a crime (either DUI and/or speeding).

If the PPB feels that fewer officers lead to more crashes and deaths, why would make that fact the main part of their traffic safety messaging? Now we know.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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blumdrew
9 months ago

Thanks for this Jonathan. It’s extremely frustrating to see the PPB make the streets obviously less safe to score political points. The state of total disregard that motorists in Portland have for basic safety stems in part from this, and people have died because of it. Just horrible stuff

Gary
Gary
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Hell I don’t blame them! Everyone out here talking about defunding the police, well guess what. It happened and now people are shocked at the results? GTFO! How bout we blame the people that thought they can drive however they feel and take advantage of a situation instead of the police department that can’t afford to do it’s job?! This is typical though! It’s always someone else fault. I don’t blame them at all!

socially engineered
socially engineered
9 months ago
Reply to  Gary

Yeah, they were defunded by a whopping 3% (as a share of the total city budget), plummeting from 33% all the way down to 30% of Portland’s entire general fund! Who can blame them for simply throwing their hands in the air and telling everyone that crime is now legal? As you say, it’s always someone else’s fault.

https://www.streetroots.org/news/2022/08/03/ppb-budget-2022

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago

A coup of corrections:

Even as a percentage of general fund 33 to 30 is not a 3% drop. It’s a drop of just over 9%.

More accurately though, the drop was about 1/15th or 1/16 of their requested budget (call it 6%).

And, yes they get 30% of *general fund* monies – that is not the “total city budget”

A lot of money that PDX brings in is earmarked for specific purposes/bureaus.

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Thanks for the details Trike Guy. You sound like you’re familiar with the budget, but links to this stuff are always helpful, particularly for those of us who like to see the primary source.

Jessie
Jessie
9 months ago

Tf is your cop budget bigger than your social welfare budget? AND all I ever hear about in MICHIGAN is how insanely dangerous and lawless Portland is??

Joemamma
Joemamma
9 months ago
Reply to  Jessie

Well, the reason for that is because the bigger the social welfare budget becomes, the more that crime increases, directly.

Caleb
Caleb
9 months ago
Reply to  Joemamma

That’s a bold claim. Got a source?

Joemamma
Joemamma
9 months ago

If you worked at taco bell, and they cut your paycheck by 3%, and then made everything on the menu “Buy 1 get 3 free”, and kept the same number of employees working, what do you think would happen?

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  Gary

A. Not “everyone” – most people were calling for (obviously needed) reforms.
B. They weren’t defunded – they lost $15 million in 2021 when the entire city had a $75million budget shortfall. Since a bureau that gets 30% of the general fund only absorbe 20% of the shortfall – I’d say they made out better than the other bureaus.
C. That shortfall caused them to cut 45 sworn officer positions. Those positions were vacant, as were “dozens” of others (the quotes because that comes directly from their 22-23 budget request).
D. With that shortfall they still had the 3rd highest budget in their history.

Finally, these guys are *sworn* officers. They literally took an oath and are forsworn and as a result people *DIED*.

Damn straight I blame them. As an agnostic I can tell you I fervently hope there is a hell, because people who let innocents die for financial or political gain belong there.

5JC
5JC
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

They need to go ahead and defund them completely. Portland does not need a police department of jack booted thugs to trample on civil liberties. Y’all be just fine without them. Hire community counselors to go out and address all the other problems of poverty ,homelessness and drug addiction. Make firearms completely illegal in the city and that will be the end of gun crime.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  5JC

Y’all be just fine without them. 

We can implement a city-wide version of the CHAZ. How long did their “community counselors” hold off the first shooting?

Jessie
Jessie
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I’ve noticed Americans are a very all or nothing kind of people. Police is a catch-all term. You’ve got military grade gear on every single heavily armed officer out there, and like veterans, they live in an US vs THEM world, tons of blue pride. That doesn’t do much to deescalate situations. Social issues and laws that are for public safety issues you can’t shoot to solve probably don’t need a military response. And you’d be right if you said police aren’t the military. They don’t have near the discipline or accountability. Just all the toys.

JeffS
JeffS
9 months ago
Reply to  5JC

LMAO.
Just pass more laws that will not be enforced and everything will be fine.

Jim Morris
Jim Morris
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

There is blame on both sides of this issue.
It is obscene and ludicrous to even think that defunding law enforcement and decreasing their numbers will accomplish anything other than to exponentially increase crime, accidents, murders, and fatalities.
The physical size of the city and surrounding areas requiring law enforcement presence has not decreased.
Nor has the population decreased.
Nor have the number of criminals decreased.
Nor has the number of calls and requests from the public for law enforcement support decreased.
It’s simple logic:
Fund law enforcement or suffer the consequences.

alex
alex
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Morris

> It is obscene and ludicrous to even think that defunding law enforcement and decreasing their numbers will accomplish anything other than to exponentially increase crime, accidents, murders, and fatalities.

Really? I don’t think there has been a positive correlation between funding and violent crime rates. Would love to see your sources where there is an exponential growth.

> The physical size of the city and surrounding areas requiring law enforcement presence has not decreased.
>Nor has the population decreased.

The physical size of the city hasn’t increased and Portland metro population has declined – https://www.wweek.com/news/city/2022/03/24/portland-metro-population-declines-amid-american-flight-from-major-cities/.

> Nor have the number of criminals decreased.

Wut?

> Fund law enforcement or suffer the consequences.

It seems kind of like damned if we do, damned if we don’t scenario. The cops get their funding cut a little bit and they artificially drive the stats up by not enforcing the laws. We increase law enforcement and they enforce laws unfairly and unjustly to an even greater degree. They have lost a lot of public trust and with moves like this, they continue to lose more. It would be great if our city leaders could actually get them under control, but they sure don’t seem capable of much.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Morris

I love how you ignore the fact that the only (temporary) funding cuts they’ve suffered were a result of a massive city wide budget shortfall and go on to rail against “defunding” as though it actually happened.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

They weren’t defunded

I accept the facts that you presented, and your characterization that the budget cuts were not crippling. But was it “defunding”?

Defunding means a lot of things to a lot of people, so it helps to consider the political/rhetorical environment in which the police budget was reduced. In that light, it was clear to everyone that the budget cuts were an act of defunding. They may have also been fiscal necessity that would have happened in a different political environment, but they can be more than one thing at once.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Gary

I’m perfectly capable of blaming more than one party for a social problem, thank you very much.

It’s always someone else fault.

I mean am I supposed to take personal responsibility for the plethora of feckless drivers who flaunt traffic laws like it’s going out of style? I drive like once a month, and do so as responsibly as I can.

Jessie
Jessie
9 months ago
Reply to  Gary

Yeah, but you could throw a few traffic cams up for $15m. I used to build standalone remote access ones for high crime areas here, they’re not all that pricey and rarely fatally shoot people. They also have a setting so you can set dead zones where they can’t see it record. *** Moderator: deleted last phrase, inflammatory. ***

ADuncan
ADuncan
9 months ago

I read this and couldn’t help thinking what the families of victims of traffic violence must feel about this. Knowing that their loved ones may have died or been injured due to politics.

Nathan K
Nathan K
9 months ago

Sweet propaganda piece!

Matt
Matt
9 months ago
Reply to  Nathan K

Sweet boot licking!

Caleb
Caleb
9 months ago
Reply to  Nathan K

Every bit of media from any source can be propaganda. I prefer my propaganda includes citing sources and not smearing reality. Jonathan did a fine job with this piece, and if you disagree, I request you put forth substantive argument.

Carrie
Carrie
9 months ago

I’ve been thinking about this a lot too, particularly in reading the details of some of the more recent crashes in the area. Several of them involved folks crashing into PPB and/or doing some “in your face” maneuvers when PPB were on the scene responding to something else. There’s a feeling of lawlessness and disrespect for the common good out there and this discussion highlights that some of it is directly traceable to the police actions themselves.

Peter S
Peter S
9 months ago

Well at least they used all those extra resources to solve Portland’s other crime-related issues during that period!

Oh wait…

Matt
Matt
9 months ago

The PPB is officially on par with the Mafia: “Nice city you have here; it would be a shame if something were to happen to it…”

Jolly Dodger
Jolly Dodger
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Pay for protection racket. Naturally.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
9 months ago

Thank you, Jonathan! Great scoop. I hope you win a Pulitzer for this. Seriously. And even more I hope the city takes such an important thing as street safety out of the whims of cops with hurt feelings.

Mike
Mike
9 months ago
Reply to  Chezz

Why don’t all of BPP just quit and let the people figure out out! Along with fire, paramedic, and social services. I’m sure the people of Portland deserve better so let the people of Portland figure it out themselves!!! You have all the answers!!

Liira
Liira
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike

I have never seen the presence of police result in increased safety or peace in any situation.

I have seen it result in decreased safety, intimidation, and/or violence dozens of times.

Police don’t protect us from anything, and if they quit tomorrow the area as a whole would be safer.

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago

I agree with Engstrom. We needed change and we still do.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

But wait, if you agree with Engstrom, what sort of change was he proposing that you (presumably) agree with? I must have missed it.

M
M
9 months ago

I guess I would be a bit more outraged at this if it didn’t seem to be literally what 75% of Portland was demanding at the time.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  M

Not true, at all.

Mike
Mike
9 months ago
Reply to  SD

Explain cause that’s exactly what Portland called for. Defund the police.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike

No you explain, because as far as I can tell all you have is “I saw it on Fox News”, you’re just pulling stuff out of the air. Yeah there were protests. That isn’t “75% of Portland was demanding it at the time”, whatever “it” is exactly. A protest is putting forth a general idea of discontent. It is not a vote, it is not a plan, it is not a policy proposal. So unless any of that other stuff happened, this is just rogue cops unilaterally deciding to put people’s lives at risk for political gain. It was deliberate punishment for the fact that a lot of people are fed up with unaccountable cops.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
9 months ago
Reply to  M

Yeah a few thousand of people definitely spoke for all 640k of us!

/s

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
9 months ago
Reply to  M

Yep.

https://www.portland.gov/wheeler/news/2021/6/22/mayor-and-police-chief-announce-ppb-will-change-traffic-enforcement-consent

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell today announced two significant procedural changes within the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) focused on increasing equity and improving safety.

First, officers will no longer prioritize making traffic stops for the enforcement of low-level traffic infractions, like expired tags or minor equipment issues, that aren’t immediate public safety threats

It seems like BikePortland and its allies are very, very worried that voters are not happy with the outcome and may vote differently next time around.

Let’s make that a reality!

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

“Low-level” did not include moving violations or breaking traffic laws that created immediate danger. The disbanding of the traffic division came later and was not being demanded by “Portland.” Actually, many portlanders, including BP were very concerned about this, which is evident from the story above and the reason the PPB used this for leverage. Even a very superficial memory or reading of what happened during that time makes this clear.

This comment and others like it greatly oversimplify a complex topic and people in Portland’s thoughts about this. This might be a good Nextdoor post, but it’s pretty clear to most BP readers that this, like a lot of similar comments, are thinly-veiled, counterproductive political jingoism. Similarly, relying on blanket slogans like “defund the police” to describe how Portlanders want to have a police force that is not racist, corrupt or excessively violent is disingenuous.

I have read most of these posts thinking that they are proxy arguments meant to consolidate low information people behind shallow “tough on crime” politicians. However, now I am wondering if this one-dimensional view of the world is sincere.

Mark Riggan
Mark Riggan
9 months ago

So….dont tell the facts? Tell a lie to keep the public under control? Its telling of the public when told the cats away the mice indeed play. So the conclusion being we need more traffic cops to prevent traffic deaths. Not lie about how many cops are on patrol to scare the public into compliance.

PS
PS
9 months ago

Still trying to understand the indignation with the 2021 presser. Should they have said nothing? It sounds like that’s what you’re advocating for. Or should they have just said, “we’re making organizational changes” and hoped nobody asked what those were?

Also, was the $15MM cut from Hardesty’s efforts not political with no obvious negative outcomes possible as well, or that doesn’t count?

OGB
OGB
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

It seems spelled out clearly in this article, but the main issue is that the police engaged in an intentional reduction in enforcement (when they need not have done that) to hold the city hostage basically for more funding. A common belief in Portland is that the police have not been engaging in an intentional work slowdown so that crime increases, to motivate the city to give them even more money when obviously this is what they were doing. The $15m reduction was minor in proportion to their whole budget, and the money was intended to go to services that better handle certain types of situations such as conflicts with mentally ill people when they aren’t threatening lives.

BTW, crime rates don’t correlate strongly with level of police funding, there are factors which are much more important. It’s been discussed plenty of times in BP posts.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  OGB

They had plenty of money to outfit their officers with plenty of riot gear & tear gas. They had no problem brutally responding to protesters.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

and engaging in conduct that required payouts in the millions to settle lawsuits against the PPB (different pot of money paying those claims, obviously/unfortunately).

Calling out socialists
Calling out socialists
9 months ago
Reply to  OGB

The PD is triaging the problems there. It’s like a mass casualty incident. Not enough recourses to save everyone. So the least injured and the most likely to die don’t get help. It’s simple math and logic. The most serious crimes and life threatening incidents get serviced and traffic enforcement becomes an extremely low priority issue. Great example of what happens when you don’t support your PD.

Jim Morris
Jim Morris
9 months ago
Reply to  OGB

You couldn’t get any further from the truth.
Every category of crime has exploded in every city that has defunded and decreased law enforcement.
Where have you been?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Morris

Hi Jim, It must be nice to live such a reality-challenged life.

Oklahoma City: In 2019, there were 47 fentanyl overdose deaths. In 2022, the number of deaths skyrocketed to 300

In 2019, the CDC showed 23 fentanyl-related deaths, while in 2021, there were 88 deaths related to the opioid in [Idaho]

And similar trends were seen in just about every thuggish proto-fascist red state.

FTP

OGB
OGB
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Morris

I’m going to say “citation needed” on your claim, and Portland hasn’t decreased funding in fact it is more than pre-pandemic levels. The detailed and data-sourced info has been brought up plenty of times in BP comments.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

Still trying to understand the indignation with the 2021 presser. Should they have said nothing?

Yup, that’s what pretty much anyone with common sense would do. Can you articulate what the “upside” of that press conference is? PPB, in 2021, had 100+ open and funded positions. A lack officers wasn’t, and still isn’t, a result of funding. So Engstrom, even as he admitting to engaging in politics while acting as a city of Portland employee, doesn’t ring true. The funding for traffic division was there.

So what was Engstrom actually wanting to have happen here? I wonder what outcome he actually wanted. Lots of commenters in conservative media blamed Hardesty for the traffic division being dissolved, so I’m guessing he got what he actually wanted.

Also, was the $15MM cut from Hardesty’s efforts not political with no obvious negative outcomes possible as well, or that doesn’t count?

Hardesty is a politician engaging in politics. Sgt. Engstrom and PPB are paid public servants using their role to advocate for a political position.

I understand that you need to justify the police with whatever they do, but this one is so ugly, I don’t see how you can continue to do it.

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Sorry for derailing the ACAB express train to doom town. It’s easy to justify, Hardesty politicized the police and wanted to play games. Most people in the real world would argue that the last group of public servants you should do the whole “the beatings will continue until morale improves” shtick with, is the police. As this experiment in naive leadership has proven, we need more police, not less and as most rational participants would agree, it might cost more to have the police force we want lest we barely end up with the one we desperately need. Unfortunately, the other inmates running the asylum have created other issues that make getting the necessary funding or just political will together is all but impossible. So, yes, by all means keep telling them they aren’t doing their job, they’re all bastards and their funding should be arbitrarily cut and I am sure the open positions will be filled by eager cops who just love this city.

Calling out socialists
Calling out socialists
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

And no one their right mind would want to be an officer there. Even in cities with half the problems here don’t want to be cops. It’s a national problem that eventually be a national crisis.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

Most people in the real world would argue that the last group of public servants you should do the whole “the beatings will continue until morale improves” shtick with, is the police.

The Portland Police are incredibly privileged group that receives next to no oversight from the city and the officers are highly paid. There are no “beatings” here. Stop being dramatic

s this experiment in naive leadership has proven, we need more police, not less and as most rational participants would agree, it might cost more to have the police force we want lest we barely end up with the one we desperately need.

The PPB has and had 100+ open and funded positions. Nothing Hardesty did effects that. If the PPB think they can be effective members of the community, they should recruit more cops. The ball is firmly in their court. I do wonder if being a police department with a federal probation officer due to systemic officer behavior might make recruiting a little hard for them.

So, yes, by all means keep telling them they aren’t doing their job, they’re all bastards and their funding should be arbitrarily cut and I am sure the open positions will be filled by eager cops who just love this city.

I’d love for them to prove me wrong. They unfortunately continue to act like bastards. It’s a steady stream of bad news coming from PPB. Ranging from hiding their white supremacist memes from their probation officer to having the Chief of Police, Chokehold Chuck, send a memo begging them to stop telling people the DA wont prosecute crimes as a way to get them to drop charges.

Perhaps they could do basic parts of their job correctly, that would be a good start

“A memo earlier this year prepared by Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs showed that police were forwarding approximately 35% as many misdemeanor cases as they did between 2016 and 2019. And one in five alleged impaired driving cases referred to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office by Portland police last year fell apart because of a failure by officers to “perform any of the routine investigation expected” in such cases, Gibbs’ memo stated.”

https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2023/08/portland-police-chief-to-city-cops-stop-telling-residents-da-mike-schmidt-wont-prosecute-crimes.html

socially engineered
socially engineered
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

The self-victimization of police and their apologists knows no bounds. I love the idea of equating asking cops to, you know, not murder unarmed suspects to a “beating”. If you think Hardesty “politicized the police”, just wait till you find out what the right has been up to:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lives_Matter

Fluck13
Fluck13
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

The police literally framed her for a crime she didn’t commit. An officer had to resign his position in the union over it. Then they paraded a years old unpaid bill all over the media and shamed her for being “fiscally irresponsible”.

*** Moderator: deleted last sentence ***

Guy white
Guy white
9 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Because traffic tickets can be done by mail. Thru cameras. They should invest in a more robust camera system to dole out traffic fines. The problem with traffic stops and why a lot of swine are moving away from those stops is because that’s how you get killed. Most cops get killed pulling over the wrong driver. It just saves lives to do it by mail. Maybe having a six pack of motorcycle Guys to respond to Hazardous drivers as they happen should be available for the city on Friday and Saturday nights . But by and large who wants to pay out for a cop widow. I know the cop would rather not pull over folks blind and get shot in the face over a tail light. It happens every single day. Seattle stoped the predatory traffic cop thing last year for that reason. Tabs won’t even get ya pulled over in Seattle you have to really scofflaw blatantly to get pulled over here and only really drunk , or really rich people scofflaw when behind the wheel.

Calling out socialists
Calling out socialists
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy white

Criminals will just not get registrations of their vehicle done. You also fail to address stolen vehicles and vehicles used in crimes. You are blaming the officers instead of the law breakers.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy white

Because traffic tickets can be done by mail. 

I do not understand why PBOT is dragging its feet installing those drunk driving cameras.

eawriste
eawriste
9 months ago

That’s really bizarre Jonathan. I’m willing to take Mapps at his word, but I haven’t heard this from DOTs in other cities including DC and NYC. Did you ask for more details?

I feel like this issue here is really toxic and I don’t want to defend anyone’s behavior/opinion. But speed cameras are just plain effective across the developed world. My hope is that it would reduce the unrealistic cultural expectations we have on manned enforcement and have an immediate impact on speeding/crashes (as we see in other countries). It sounds silly that he just can’t find them.

Sturge McMackenmorph
Sturge McMackenmorph
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

The indignation with the 2021 presser is the notion of restorative justice for PPB, punitive justice for anyone else.

The $15M wasn’t a $15M cut. It was, iirc, a $7M cut and denial of the $8M they asked for in an increase of their budget. This cut was because of the bureau’s misallocation of funds. Need more staff? Stop buying tanks.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark Riggan

If the lock on your front door was broken, would you put up a big sign advertising that fact?

Watts
Watts
9 months ago

Both the Mayor and City Council accepted or supported this decision and did nothing to change it. They are the ones who should answer for it.

This was all done very much out in the open, and everyone (except those in the “cops don’t prevent crime” camp) realized what the implications would be. So while I think the decision proved catastrophic, everyone knew what was happening and why.

A lot of people who are decrying this decision now supported it then.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure, our elected officials should answer for not responsibly monitoring the police force, but surely the police should also answer for not doing their jobs. We can hold both of them responsible!

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

What is the metric you use to determine so confidently that they are “not doing their jobs”?

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

I read this article about how the PPB purposefully disbanded their own traffic division to pursue a political end. I think that qualifies as “not doing their job” of being a public servant – it’s at least nakedly corrupt.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I think that qualifies as “not doing their job” of being a public servant – it’s at least nakedly corrupt.

It is obvious that you have no experience working for a government agency. What kind of jobs have you had where your boss says “you don’t need to do this any more” but you keep doing it anyway?

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I used to work as a lifeguard. If the pool manager told me to announce to the pool patrons that we only had enough budget after being “defunded” for one lifeguard to be on duty (when I knew full well that maybe budget constraints meant maybe having 8 guards on a shift rather than 10) I would have told them to kick rocks.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Someone, in your scenario, is funding 8 lifeguards, but letting the pool manager deploy only 1. Seems like that person is ultimately responsible for allowing the situation to persist.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

We needed to create a stir to get some change, to get them [city council] to fund us back up. And I mean, that’s the honest truth. I know, that could make things more dangerous. I don’t know. But at the same time, we needed some change.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

Key police officers publicly admitted that they intentionally did not do their jobs for political reasons but this does not conform to PS’ solipsistic reality so they demand unspecified “metrics” (sealioning is a sign of extreme cognitive dissonance).

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Key police officers publicly admitted that they intentionally did not do their jobs for political reasons

That’s not at all what happened. PPB leadership told their political bosses that if they didn’t get more money they’d have to disband one of their teams, and the bosses said “disband away” and the whole thing was widely publicized at the time and no one spoke up.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

First of all, plenty of people spoke up and PPB leadership even attempted to mollify criticism with claims that traffic enforcement would be carried out by other beat cops. The fact that the head of the traffic division publicly admitted that the lack of traffic enforcement was an intentional tactic to score sociopathic political points is an entirely new low for this thoroughly discredited bureau.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

the lack of traffic enforcement was an intentional tactic

Of course it was. That ploy is as old as bureaucracy, and it was all out in the open. Our elected officials, who knew exactly what the deal was, either explicitly or tacitly approved it.

The mayor or city council could have directed the police to reinstate the traffic division at any time, but chose not to.

I’m sure some people did speak up (I didn’t mean literally no person), but very few were among those who now claim to be so surprised at what was happening.

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Apologies, didn’t know the critical thinking part needed to be spoonfed.

So, PPB has a budget that is super detailed into where the money they are given goes. They also have a dashboard that is updated monthly that explains exactly what they are doing with those resources.

Between both of these sources, someone can think critically about how over different time series the number of police has changed relative to population, or the number of cops relative to the number and severity of dispatched calls has changed, or the geography of dispatched calls has changed, or the severity of crimes has increased or decreased (lol), or how much money is spent on the parts of policing certain people find too aggressive, or really a lot of the questions posed here in this comment section.

It’s really interesting and by no means creates the impression the PPB aren’t doing their job, so I asked if our esteemed rider of busses had any alternative metrics they used to determine this confidently displayed conclusion about what the PPB doesn’t do. This blog was their reference, so do with that what you will. But yeah, just trolling away here asking if anyone actually looks at the data we all pay to have published.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

surely the police should also answer for not doing their jobs. 

Should they? PPB said if you don’t give us more money we’re not going to be able to do traffic enforcement any more, and the elected officials said “sounds good”. Traffic enforcement (at least via dedicated officers) got written out of the job at that point.

At any time, the mayor or city council could have said “traffic enforcement is important, make it a higher priority than burglary investigations” or whatever, but they didn’t. The PPB were very open about the situation and the consequences were obvious.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I would like someone to explain what it was that was more important that the PPB did spend their time (and our tax $$) on these past few years?

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Look for yourself…https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/76454

223,000 calls last year, 262,000 in 2018. 800 cops last year, 1000 in 2018. 25% of calls in 5 neighborhoods. Answering more calls per officer is a really weird way to “not do your job”. If you’re indignant about the police in this town, be mad that 5 neighborhoods use 25% of their capacity and everyone suffers for it.

Carrie
Carrie
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

A lot of people who are decrying this decision now supported it then.

I am pretty firmly in the camp that we can fund our police force at a lower level and NOT disband the traffic division. If (big if) PPB were to do a cost-benefit analysis of the $’s they allocate to various divisions vs the number of Portlander’s hurt or killed by various actions, I think we’d all see that a lot of our police budgets currently go into property damage protection (I lump the whole riot response squad into this, including the military style trucks and equipment), rather than into the areas of policing that are public serving and people protecting.

Unfortunately this important but sometimes subtle distinction gets lost in the slogans and sound bites. It feels like the PBOT budget survey that went out — I was asked how to rank things regarding street sweeping and parking rules. I think we should UP the street sweeping OF BIKE LANES and SIDEWALKS but general street sweeping we could drop. Same with parking — don’t spend a dime on more parking, but if you’re figuring out how to charge more, then yes I’m all in. Instead I was arbitrarily forced to choose between street maintenance and bike/ped infrastructure, as if they were different.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Carrie

I am pretty firmly in the camp that we can fund our police force at a lower level and NOT disband the traffic division. 

You could be right — I know little about how the police spend their money. Deciding budget and priorities is the job of senior PPB leadership, the mayor, and city council. We know what they decided, and there wasn’t a lot of pushback from anyone at the time. Would they have got more pushback if they proposed stopped enforcing property crime like catalytic converter theft?

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Carrie

Comment of the week.

It’s like, “if we lose $1 we’re going to start entirely disbanding various groups” as if that’s the only option. This isn’t how budgets are handled in any other situation. If what they’re doing is important, they can do it at a lower staffing level or whatever. Triage. Have a smaller traffic division and don’t waste time harassing people with broken tail lights. That is, if reducing the traffic division is even necessary (and I would say it probably wasn’t).

It was all just so clearly bad faith and a deliberate political move.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago

Don’t forget that the PPA and PPB opposed automated traffic enforcement, the most cost efficient way to reduce speeds on our streets.

Stewed
Stewed
9 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

You understand that a lot of people simply ignore the automatic tickets. It hasn’t worked on people who don’t respect the law.

cc_rider
cc_rider
9 months ago
Reply to  Stewed

Man, if only there is was some part of our city government that was responsible for enforcing the law!

Really, the legislature should just start garnishing wages of plate owners who have unpaid speeding camera tickets. But of course, PPA and PPB opposed automated enforcement for other reason.

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago
Reply to  Stewed

And speed cameras don’t work for those without license plates which is WAY too common in Portland.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Stewed

Wouldn’t the same people ignore manual tickets?

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

If you get a certain number of ignored tickets, you get arrested the next time you get pulled over. I don’t think the cameras can do that yet.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Sounds like a straw man. Once they’ve ignored enough camera tickets, they would be able to be arrested next time they’re pulled over just like if a copy gave out the tickets.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  John

Yes, this would work if they were still doing a sufficient level of in-person enforcement.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  Stewed

You understand that in a functional system the automated resources complement the human officers?

Rather than try and fight it they should welcome the ubiquitous presence they provide, then do their part by taking on the ones it can’t handle (obscured plates, non-payment, erratic/dangerous driving)

Sporadic enforcement of laws doesn’t do much to modify behavior. It’s been well demonstrated, however, that most people will change their behavior if bad behavior is consistently punished.

The very best system would combine 3 things:

  1. Infrastructure that didn’t encourage dangerous behavior
  2. Automated speed/red light enforcement
  3. Police who did their job.
John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Exactly.

As an example, it has been repeatedly said on here as if the commenter thinks this is clever, that cameras won’t stop drunk driving.

It’s true a camera won’t give you a breathalyzer test. But most people who drink and drive do so repeatedly, many times before they cause a catastrophe (if they ever do). And you know what they’re also doing? Speeding. They absolutely would start racking up tickets, and as you said, consistent enforcement has been shown to change behavior.

Let police deal with the people who haven’t paid multiple tickets, drive with obscured / missing plates, no registration, etc. The cameras will go a LONG way to improving behavior and taking load off the police.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  John

They absolutely would start racking up tickets, and as you said, consistent enforcement has been shown to change behavior.

Citation needed. Without evidence, I absolutely reject the notion that it’s ok to let drunk drivers drive drunk, so long as we have a reasonable number of speed cameras.

Bertie Wooster
Bertie Wooster
9 months ago

Is now the time to invest in body cams for Portland Police? The millions of dollars saved in legal settlements due police malpractice and the potential to improve the public’s opinion of PPB astoundingly poor performance should convonc the police union leaders to accept whatever s common practice in so many US cities!

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
9 months ago
Reply to  Bertie Wooster

We’d already have them if Hardesty hadn’t repeatedly torpedoed the proposals.

https://www.opb.org/article/2022/01/26/portland-oregon-police-body-cameras-policies-purchase/

socially engineered
socially engineered
9 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Hardesty was one vote out of five. How exactly did she “torpedo” anything?

Jolly Dodger
Jolly Dodger
9 months ago

They need to be sued **** for this. I’ve felt vulnerable and afraid every ride since – during this time. And drivers used this shared knowledge in their power over us. It’s been unfreaking tenable. I can’t even describe how intentionally targeted I’ve felt just by riding. Thanks for making him admit it. Dang it. I wish I could use an obscenely or two right about now.

Noel B-D
Noel B-D
9 months ago
Reply to  Jolly Dodger

I totally agree with the lawsuit idea. I wish every family that lost a loved one to traffic violence since their political announcement ban together and file a class action suit against ppb!

SD
SD
9 months ago

This was such an obvious political move at the time, I took it for granted. It’s interesting that now we have some distance from it, it seems pretty horrible. I see Sgt. Engstrom’s willingness to speak openly about this as a reflection of how, at the time, everyone at the city and PPB knew this was a play to shift public opinion and get more funding. It was out in the open and anyone pretending otherwise, wasn’t paying attention. Quite the bad look for everyone with fatalities, street racing and dangerous driving at record levels.

Jordan Lund
Jordan Lund
9 months ago

The Portland police budget, consistently, has been around 1/4 of a billion dollars a year. Even Hardesty’s “cut” wasn’t a reduction in the budget, it was a reduction in the increase for the NEXT budget.

So the question we ALL need to ask is if they aren’t doing traffic enforcement, they aren’t doing gang or gun enforcement, they definitely aren’t doing drug enforcement, the bike theft taskforce is disbanded, and they aren’t responding to 911 calls, what exactly ARE they doing with 1/4 billion a year?

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
9 months ago
Reply to  Jordan Lund

 Hardesty’s “cut” wasn’t a reduction in the budget, it was a reduction in the increase for the NEXT budget

Mental gymnastics. That’s literally how government works, they budget for the NEXT year.

aquaticko
aquaticko
9 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

No, it’s pretty straight-forward. There should be an explicit justification for any annual budget increase beyond inflation adjustment. Pouring ever more money into something without specifying what you’re going to accomplish with it–not just what you’re going to do, but what the goal of what you’re going to do is–is basic accountability. It’s a part of the U.S.’ problem of governance’s focus on process over results.

Nathan Wind
9 months ago

Lmao. He (the Sergeant) is speaking the truth. The entire PacNW politicizes everything, to include public safety.

You are trying for an ah-ha moment and really you just sound like someone that needs a job.

Matt
Matt
9 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Wind

He has a job. This is his job. Maybe you need a job? Is that how this works?

Charley
Charley
9 months ago

This was complete bull.

I’ve never been in the ACAB crowd, because I think they have an important job to do. But it’s $#!+ like this that makes me so sad we couldn’t all just agree to reform the absolute crap out of our police force.

RJ Patton
RJ Patton
9 months ago

If, as you claim, the reason for the increased traffic fatalities in Portland is due to the PPB policies, then what is the explanation for the increased traffic fatalities in Salem? Eight so far this year. I’m certain that SPD didn’t reduce their traffic division due to budget constraints like Portland.

Boyrd
Boyrd
9 months ago
Reply to  RJ Patton

I think Jonathan has consistently stated in this blog that he thinks that infrastructure is a more effective way to deter reckless behavior by people in cars than increased police enforcement. I don’t think that he is arguing that police actions are the primary driver of the alarming spike in fatalities caused by people driving cars. But he is arguing, I think, that the Portland Police have done things in recent years that have exacerbated the problem.

EC
EC
9 months ago

To those suggesting that the Traffic cuts were political. . . where would you have cut enforcement in the Police Bureau? The Bureau was shedding police and couldn’t respond to many misdemeanor and felony calls. We now have 1.2 officers per thousand population. To be at the average for a city of our side, we’d need to more than double the number of police. If you don’t have enough cops, you have to cut somewhere.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago

Thank you, Jonathan. Yes, that is deeply disturbing to me, too.

Jason
Jason
9 months ago

This is Portland we are talking about.. a spike in fatal crashes doesn’t touch the deaths from fentanyl and other drugs that have been decriminalized. What do you want? A whole lot of officers writing speeding tickets, or maybe have more officers dealing with the increase in crime city wide after decriminalizing drug use? Cut funding, the funding they have will go to the worst issue.. telling people about it is certainly questionable, but sometimes you have to make tough choices.

Anon
Anon
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason

PPB’s budget was cut by three and half percent in 2020-2021, which was also the height of the pandemic when most public agencies also made cuts. Their budget stayed flat for year but is now higher than it’s ever been.

There is no meaningful sense in which PPB was defunded. Their actual budget doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re seeing. It’s all political.

Source: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/portland.city.budget.office/viz/FY2022-23AdoptedBudgetDashboard/AdoptedDashboard

Joe Sixthpack
Joe Sixthpack
9 months ago

Did you Portlandia types ever contemplate the backlash to your defund and eliminate the police movement?
You insulted and demoralised and judged guilty every single officer because of George Floyd. And you expect them to put their life on the line while you lasciviously film each and every encounter going to send another cop to jail to feed your revenge greed?

Nah, now you broke law enforcement and you need to own it. Good luck defending yourselves from the wolves

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe Sixthpack

you broke law enforcement and you need to own it.”

you realize that our own PPB have been operating under a settlement agreement (I thought it was called a consent decree, but could be wrong about that) since 2012 (eight years before George Floyd was murdered)?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._City_of_Portland

The idea that everything wrong with the PPB can be laid at the feet of 2020 protestors here in Portland is nothing short of crazy a-historic Fox News BS.

Caleb
Caleb
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe Sixthpack

Broke law enforcement? Most police departments across the country have received more funding since 2020. The defund movement didn’t break much of anything, probably because of reactionaries like yourself. Have you actually tried to understand what people were advocating for behind that unsuccessful branding?

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe Sixthpack
Anon
Anon
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe Sixthpack

You’d think these officers would be mature enough to do their sworn duty regardless, if they really believe in the mission to “protect and serve,” but you talk about them like they’re toddlers having a tantrum and then go on to rationalize this behavior.

For those cops that don’t truly believe in the mission and are so susceptible to having their feelings hurt, to the point where they’re willing to let people die, I’d say it’s better for them and us if they find a more suitable occupation.

Champs
Champs
9 months ago

Policing Portland is still a Rorschach Test. We can go back and forth about this or that but I don’t think any of the punches land as hard as people think that they should.

Just my two cents, but the DMVs closed while the roads and throttles opened in March 2020. At the same time, we made it clear that the honor system was in effect for relatively minor infractions as a reality and to limit the spread of disease. Things were spiraling at least three months ahead of the attrition at PPB.

Jonathan gravning
Jonathan gravning
9 months ago

With all that said Mr engstrom is guilty just as much so. As the drunk driver that hit someone. Involuntary manslaughter is what I think somebody needs to charge him. For lying to the people and for the deaths on the roads that he caused directly. This is not acceptable. The police lying to us over and over just to get our money. There is so much money in this government right now. But yet they’re screaming for more and more. Just add up all the properties in Portland Oregon. And all the tax money that is collected off of them every single year. Not to mention gas tax road tax. Taxes on goods. It is my opinion that the whole government needs to be audited. And the wasting of taxpayer money at the end of the year. Needs to stop. They should not be wasting our money because their budget won’t be the same the next year if they don’t need the money don’t waste it. It is my opinion that Portland and the United States government is the reason for all the homeless in the street. And he just admitted the chaos on the road. Hold these people accountable for these crimes.

T.hutto
T.hutto
9 months ago

Jon, you are asking the wrong questions. Also, why do you insist on trying to make the Police officer look bad when he is telling you why things are the way they are. The answer to the question, ” so you’re trying to look bigger to scare people?” YES!!! Scared people think twice before doing stupid stuff. In fact, scare them so much that people think twice before breaking the law. For you to suggest anything less, well, that says that you really don’t care about anything but your own ego. Criminals should be afraid! How bout this, next time you decide to write about something, stick to what you know. Bicycles. ***portion of comment deleted by moderator***

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago

Oh please Jonathan. If PPB had tried to “look bigger” right after Floyd you and the police haters in Portland would have screamed how we need less cops and say maybe if there were no cops we would have some sort of racial nirvana and we would all live in peace forever. Instead we have record traffic deaths, record homicides and significant increases in vandalism and crime.

Jimmy Tweez
Jimmy Tweez
9 months ago
Reply to  T.hutto

Jonathan’s politics are extreme-left and he has made this clear repeatedy.

Weird how I used to come here to learn about fun bicycling events

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Tweez

“Jonathan’s politics are extreme-left”

…only in the fever dreams of the paranoid MAGA acolytes.
I don’t think you (or they) know what the extreme left even is, or would like to see come to pass.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Yeah PPB patrol officers can and I’m sure often do enforce traffic violations they observe. That said if you have 50+ calls pending (a very real scenario) and you are stopping cars for unsignaled lane changes or speeding, you are going to hear about it from your co-workers and your supervisors. This lack of proactive traffic enforcement can and most often will embolden people to drive in an unsafe manner resulting in more crashes…..that is just reality.

Matt
Matt
9 months ago

Typical Portland.
I want to understand this. Y’all are frustrated the cops aren’t doing enough, but back 2 years ago, they were the most vilified entity in Portland. Police brutality and so forth ( not here but this other place). So we slashed their budget and took some of their tools away, like pepper spray. For years we fantasized about “reimagining “ our police force, eliminating positions and getting ourselves from under this police oppression and abuse. A few years pass . Then we get online and start wondering how many less death there would’ve been if the cops would just do their jobs, and where are they? Have you ever wondered how many less deaths there would be if we didn’t decriminalize narcotics? I would guess a few souls a day at least. We made it so that if a cop came to a college it was a safety issue for the students, if a cop was present in a minority setting, no one felt “comfortable” why would they keep showing up for all you haters? You think they don’t have an opinion? Being spat and called names all day gives you them the goodwill to carry on? Downtown was burning for months. I never saw any articles decrying the thugs and vandals destroying our beautiful city or the result of decriminalizing drugs!!! but just to be sure we started prosecuting our response teams and calling them the problem.. Your city is trash, yet you vote for the same time and time again. You my friend are the problem . Your afraid of the solution but know all the problems. You leave Portland because your voting has destroyed it, only to move to Vancouver and try the same policies again to no avail. Biggest exodus in America has been Liberals moving to more conservative cities because they’re not pleased with their own ideas in actuality. The grass is only greener on the other side until a liberal crosses the bridge bringing his fentanyl and homeless friends with him.

blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Have you ever wondered how many less deaths there would be if we didn’t decriminalize narcotics? I would guess a few souls a day at least

Do you have any compelling evidence to provide for this? Fentanyl overdoes are a national crisis – regardless of how criminalized the drug is in local jurisdictions.

I never saw any articles decrying the thugs and vandals destroying our beautiful city

What on earth are you talking about? There are so many news articles about this. Too many to count. Here’s one from the Oregonian. And a piece from AP. The list is endless.

Your city is trash

Hey man, if you don’t like Portland I’d kindly ask why you are spending your time in the BikePortland comments section.

Biggest exodus in America has been Liberals moving to more conservative cities because they’re not pleased with their own ideas in actuality

Citation needed. Let’s take a look at the fastest growing metro regions in the US ands see how they voted in the most recent presidential election. Austin, where the primary county (Travis) was +71 for Biden. Houston (Harris) was +13. Nasvhille (Davidson) was +32. Raleigh-Durham were +27 and +62 respectively. Dallas Fort Worth were +32 and +0.2 respectively. Orlando (Orange) was +27. Salt Lake City was +11. Charlotte (Mecklenburg) was +35. Jacksonville (Duval) was +3.5. And Seattle-Tacoma (King, Pierce) were +53 and +11 respectively. Of these counties, I would say only Fort Worth and Jacksonville are really in conservative counties, with Salt Lake, Houston, and Tacoma being fringe at best. At a metro level, some of these regions might lean conservative – though I think maybe only Jacksonville, Orlando, Houston, and Salt Lake City would even sniff leaning conservative.

The grass is only greener on the other side until a liberal crosses the bridge bringing his fentanyl and homeless friends with him

This is just patently false. Communities across the political spectrum are all facing an acute opioid crisis. Rural communities are being particularily hard hit, and exceedingly few of them have the resources of a city – often leading to worse outcomes in the long run. Just look at Appalachia

Biden 2024
Biden 2024
9 months ago

I love how the city wanted to defund the police and then everyone got mad when they did and now they’re blaming the police…buyers remorse?

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
9 months ago

All I can say is as a native Oregonian born & raised in Portland that this city & state have long been anti law enforcement. This isn’t something new because of George Floyd or COVID or Defund The Police. The State of OR & City of Portland have been near the bottom of law enforcement per capita nationally for decades. Don’t believe me? Go research USDOJ statistics for yourself. Portland is simply reaping what we sow & the rest of the nation is laughing at us including other progressive cities like Boston, NYC & yes even Minneapolis where it all started.

blumdrew
9 months ago

So Portland’s reputation pre-2020 as an exceptionally safe city (because it really was) happened at a time where it was anti law enforcement. And the recent rise in violent crime comes at a time where it is still anti law enforcement. So you agree that law enforcement isn’t really a strong indicator of how safe or dangerous a place is? Glad we are on the same page.

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Reputation? (Citation please rather than your opinion). I referred in my comment above to actual USDOJ statistics. You can correlate law enforcement per capita to crime or traffic deaths in numerous research reports that have been written on the topic over the years. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is a good place to start. It’s almost as if all of the anti law enforcement commenters that frequent BP want to prove their utopia of a safe city without the presence of evil law enforcement is right around the corner in Portland if we just get a city council with a backbone to blow up the entire system.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

Guy asked for a citation. Is that too much to ask? I’d be curious for a citation too. S’il vous plait?

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago

Comment of the week!

blumdrew
9 months ago

I can’t find the specific report I was thinking of (it was a PPB report that compared crime rates between Portland a few similar US cities – someone linked it to me in the BP comments section a few weeks ago I think), but here is what US Real Estate News thinks (below average violent crime in the pre-2020 regime).

I just don’t follow how Portland (and Oregon in general) having long been anti law enforcement (how long?) means that we are “reaping what we sow” right now. Low levels of policing correlating to low levels of crime (pre 2020) and low levels of policing correlating to high levels of crime (now) means that low levels of policing probably isn’t a good predictive indicator of crime.

Will
Will
9 months ago

Oregon, like all of the Western States, is reflexively suspicious and dismissive of goverbment authority. It’s a deep-seated cultural bias that cuts across otherwise disparate political ideologies. Anarchists, libertarians, Bundy types, Christo-Fascists, run-of-the-mill Republicans and Democrats have phenomenally low trust in the government and its institutions.

William Satterler
William Satterler
9 months ago

Of course Mayor Wheller would do this after he destroyed downtown Portland. It is election year but just remember the job he didn’t do.

Levels2this
Levels2this
9 months ago

Do you all really think this is about community safety and traffic enforcement? It’s about money. Traffic enforcement generates big money. Budget got cut, plenty of calls to defund. . . So they stopped generating money for the city through traffic enforcement. Magically, they got more funding and stood the traffic enforcement division back up.

It is comical and sad. Money & Politics.

mc
mc
9 months ago
Reply to  Levels2this

So they stopped generating money for the city through traffic enforcement. Magically, they got more funding and stood the traffic enforcement division back up.”

It’s not this simple. This is from 2011, “PBOT, shares revenue from parking tickets w. the state via Multnomah County Circuit Court, struggles to deal with a budget problem caused by lower-than-projected revenue and increased spending on long-term projects such as the Sellwood Bridge replacement, the eastside streetcar and MAX to Milwaukie.

*** Notice the “struggles to deal w. a budget problem cause by lower than projected revenue and increased spending.

A decade later, same problem.

“Portland collects 40 percent of all parking ticket revenue, while the court passes the rest to the state.”

Reference:
https://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandcityhall/2011/12/the_cost_of_portland_parking_t.html

Also, in 2022 Gov. Brown issues order forgiving uncollected traffic fines and fees,

“Approximately $1.8 million was remitted from circuit court cases in Oregon. The total amount of unpaid fines and fees that was remitted from cases in Oregon municipal and justice courts is unknown because neither the DMV nor the Oregon Judicial Department has access to this information.”

Reference – https://ktvz.com/news/government-politics/2022/12/21/gov-brown-issues-order-forgiving-uncollected-traffic-fines-fees-that-led-to-nearly-7000-oregon-license-suspensions/

I’ve no idea what the impact of this was to PBOT, but considering it’s the largest city in Oregon, I’m sure PBOT felt it.

Zac
Zac
9 months ago

About fucking time someone said something that was-to me-blaringly obvious at the time.

Aaleron
Aaleron
9 months ago

This confirmed what I’ve been saying for three years now. Portland cut the fat out of the police budget. PPB got upset about it, and they’ve been holding us hostage ever since. Now that they’re getting the finding back, they’re starting to do their jobs again. It’s sick how corrupt that is, but there you go.

Thanks for the story. I’m glad someone is getting it out there.

mc
mc
9 months ago

“I asked him again about his press conference two years ago when he broadcast to everyone that the PPB wasn’t able to enforce traffic laws. And he finally admitted that it wasn’t a good idea. And that it was a political move. “We needed to create a stir to get some change to get them [city council] to fund us back up,” he said. “I mean that’s the honest truth. I know that could make things more dangerous. I don’t know. But at the same time, we needed some change.”

The “traffic is my passion” guy w. 10 yrs in the traffic division said “it COULD make our streets more dangerous.

*** Moderator: deleted sentence, inflammatory ***

The cops played political Russian Roulette with people’s lives.

The real story here is who made the decision to dismantle the traffic division? It wasn’t Sgt. Engstrom and the people who made the decision have blood on their hands and they need to be held accountable. Either they’re fired or they resign.
Cops serving & protecting cops.

Bradd
Bradd
9 months ago

Again, the cops can’t win.
Two three public the truth, not enough chips to do the job of protecting their citizens…. And they get blasted.

Tell the citizens now we have more cops and are going to be looking for violations… They get blasted.

Let’s be honest, the liberals, including this media outlet , are basically anti police.

Let’s find anyway we can to make the cops look bad.

Less traffic cops mean more accidents, more injuries and more deaths.

More traffic cops, and those numbers go down.

It’s not rocket science.

Let’s stop the game playing and make three streets safer for everyone.

The social experiment, de-fund the police, was a dumb ideas and it did not work. Not in Portland, Seattle, L.A., New York or any other city in America.

Arturo P
Arturo P
9 months ago
Reply to  Bradd

Comment of the month!!!

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
9 months ago

Note: traffic deaths were already rising BEFORE any of the cuts Engstrom was talking about, at least according to the actual data studied and made public by Multnomah County on the same day Engstrom spoke: https://www.opb.org/article/2023/08/07/portland-traffic-deaths-multnomah-county/ I realize that county and city data are not the same, but Engstrom’s comments align with the general approach by PPB of blaming people concerned with police abuse for the failure of the police to do their jobs. It is disingenuous and distracting to use police union talking points rather than public health data when discussing public health issues.

It is also worth noting that PPB overall has repeatedly violated the federal consent decree that has been in place since 2014 (https://www.opb.org/article/2022/07/27/us-justice-department-portland-police-use-of-force-settlement/) If after nearly a decade a police department refuses to abide by law as directed by the federal government, they should not be surprised that members of the public do not trust their force and do not wish to continue ever-increasing funding for it. Engstrom and his colleagues might be a bit more reasonable in understanding about this reality and stop blaming everyone but the Portland police for the distrust the Portland police continue to foster.

Jose Alveraz
Jose Alveraz
9 months ago

I haven’t been to Portland in 7 years until this last 2 weeks. I’m absolutely shocked at the filth and condition of this once proud city. Everything can’t be legal folks. As an outsider I can’t possibly imagine this can be turned around. Funding the police will not help if the current “revolving door” policy remains. Go back to the policies that once made you great. Doing the same thing you’re doing now is obviously not the answer. My sister is now in Hospice, I’ll fly back for the funeral, then back to Boulder, to never return. Good luck.

Larry
Larry
9 months ago

What like the media reporting during the pandemic that due to safety reasons drivers will not be pulled over for minor infractions?
Only that a high majority of people that have wants and warrants 3/4 of them are picked up from ” minor” traffic infractions. Or that a certain public official wont be seeking indictments from low level property crimes and low level violent offenses against law enforcement officers to “make up for racial inequalities of the past”or that a certain PBOT official stated that plowing some roads ( during a certain snow/ice storm) and not others would be unequitable. Does anyone else see a pattern of “unencumbered by the thought process” leaders that has permeated. Yeah blame the person that actually puts his life on the line, because that is what most people in the city (toilet) of portland thinks. Well to all of you forward progressive open minded thinkers, sleep in the bed you made!

Larry
Larry
9 months ago

Oh and by the way a certain mayor that is also the police comissioner (wtfo) is the one that disbanded the mounted patrol. If city officials cannot or will not protect a statue of an elk that is/was 80? Years old how can you expect them to protect ppl? Yeah its a bit confabulation but what happened to the city I was born in grew up in and bragged about,. The decriminalization of drugs, camping on sidewalks open drug use multnomah county harm reduction office using tax dollars for drug paraphernalia. How has that needle exchange program been working?

Jessie
Jessie
9 months ago

I agree, we all could’ve predicted the outcome of that statement, but is it criminal, a plot, or them warning people the rise was coming when people stopped getting pulled over? But where is the accountability? It’s your city. What if y’all could act right without an army of armed hall monitors with buzz cuts? Don’t get me wrong, Police have valid valuable functions. But we should be able to act like f*ing grownups and not need an entire police force for turn signals and speeding. Every encounter with a cop is potentially life threatening, and no body is trying to die over a turn signal bulb, be it the officer or driver. *** Moderator: deleted last phrase, inflammatory ***

Will C
Will C
9 months ago

Unfortunately there is a warped culture in Portland who believe if you let people do whatever they darn well please they will always choose the right path and there’s no longer a need for authoritative oversight. If you give people an inch they will eventually try to grab the ruler out of your hand. Limiting police budgets in any way shape or form never produces a positive outcome and the residents are the ones who will suffer the consequences. Better policing over limiting police is the way to go. Overlooking the fact that major cities who have ostracized their police and elected DA’s who have adopted a soft stance on crime are in the midst of record crime and violence never seen before. Unfortunately some people won’t wake up until a violent or devastating crime knocks at their own door.

Brian K
Brian K
9 months ago

I took my 82 year old mother to Mississippi Pizza the other day. A guy who looked like he was on drugs/alcohol was blatantly stealing from their coolers, returning several times to steal more.
On his third attempt he started throwing punches at staff and he was removed from the restaurant.
Some people had heard him threaten to return with a gun.
He came back in and, assisted by a friend, started throwing cans, bottles, and drink glass at staff, patrons, and people on the street.
They shattered the front door glass pane of the restaurant, possibly the main shop window as well.
My mom and I had been moved with other patrons into the back bar by the staff, in an attempt to keep us safe.
I guess several people called 911.
We could hear another bout of shooting and glass breaking.
Staff came back and informed us that they had called 911 again and that dispatch has told them to stop calling and that police were not going to respond.

I’m beyond upset over the PPD.

Terry Lee
Terry Lee
9 months ago

So you are evidently agitated because this man chose to try to do something about the problem of traffic deaths by pointing out the cause it’s not about scoring political points! It is about correcting the problem. When a problem is confronted the first thing to do is to understand what the cause of the problem is and then to change it. What is your solution?? So he was supposed to lie about the root causes of the problem?? Or obfuscate in some other fashion? I think it is mostly about egg on the face from all of the people who cheered the defend the police movement being told what would happen and then that’s coming true. A golden retriever, not yet fully housebroken, has the sense to know that if you defund the police that crime and traffic deaths are going to go up. But crime and traffic deaths don’t matter! What matters is being politically correct, regardless of how many deaths results. It is them playing politics, and forsaking many lives.

Joemamma
Joemamma
9 months ago

Except they actually don’t have enough people to police the streets. Maybe you didn’t get the memo, but regardles of how many there are, there aren’t enough to deal with the nightly street races, and all the other stuff that goes on. Whether there’s 1 or 10, they’re massively underfunded, and trying to spin it as though it’s his fault they’re underfunded, or that he did a bad thing by trying to get funding is disingenuous and you should be ashamed of yourself.

JeffS
JeffS
9 months ago

I would have thought that you were in favor of traffic enforcement.
When it goes away, virtually entirely, most people want to know about it. They deserve to know that this is what they (or their neighbors) have voted for.

I guess I’m not clear on how stating facts is political — and the line between who can be trusted to know these facts, and who cannot.

A. Davey
A. Davey
9 months ago

From The Oregonian, June 21, 2021:

“Portland police will no longer pursue minor traffic infractions and will limit car searches”

Portland’s police chief and mayor are set to announce Tuesday that city police will no longer be directed to stop motorists for low-level infractions, such as equipment failures or expired plates to reduce disproportionate stops of people of color.

https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2021/06/portland-police-will-no-longer-pursue-minor-traffic-infractions-and-will-limit-car-searches.html

Tampa
Tampa
9 months ago

So what you’re saying is you believe PPB should be less transparent and withhold information from us in the public? If there are no traffic officers, they should be open and transparent with that information just like with everything else.

You can’t have it both ways. You either want them to be transparent or not. You seem to be very selective on what you want us in the public to know. Great reporting

Keith
Keith
8 months ago

Portlander here. It seemed pretty obvious that PPB were making a calculated political move to get back $15M in their $300+M budget, and were willing to 1) ignore their oath, 2) and let people get hurt to do it. And now a Sgt. in a PR capacity said the quiet part out loud. I am pretty sure the if I admitted that I’d tanked it for more than a year I’d get fired, but…

Three things must happen. 1) Somebody has to get fired. Somebody. And it probably shouldn’t be the lone traffic cop. 2) City Council and Mayor (and mayor hopefuls like Mapps?) need to say something. Crickets on this? Because that means they are also not doing THEIR jobs, (or potential jobs). 3) Anyone who has been hurt in a wild, nonsense traffic scenario in the last year or so (and my guess is there are a lot of you) needs to go talk to a lawyer–maybe someone at the city will fire someone or do SOMETHING once a floodgate of lawsuits opens. If a doctor tanked it would they get sued when someone was injured? How about a manufacturer? Well…

I love this town. And I know a PPB officer or two, and I wish them the best and thank them…when they are doing their jobs. I support BLM and the BLM protests (though some of what happened at them here in town I thought was counter productive, but hey this is America–we’re gonna disagree). This is all to say I know it is complicated, but after this admission (in a really fine bit of local journalism), somebody’s gotta pay the piper…

Keith
Keith
8 months ago
Reply to  Keith

More info.

I listened to Mingus Mapps (City Council/running for mayor) speak at a neighborhood association meeting last week. He said there are currently (Sept 2023) roughly 800 police officers on the force. And, in the process of answering my question to him in which I referenced this article, he said there was “somewhat less” officers a couple years ago when these decisions were made. (So, I guessed, “something like maybe 600, a little more?”, and he seemed to nod…). I pressed him on this article. He said that despite the article that the decision to NOT do traffic enforcement came from the mayor’s office. And that he (sort of?) supported this decision at the time, in the interest of supporting the mayor, but would make a different decision himself now with the additional facts.

So, I don’t know what to say. It feels like with even 600 officers they could have had 30 doing traffic enforcement, but I admittedly don’t know all the things that the police need to do to do their job for the city. I do know that PPD also felt absent in that period in other areas of enforcement (and perhaps even in ALL areas of enforcement?). In my line of work 911 is called often to assist with occurrences in a large area adjacent to downtown and it has FELT a lot closer to 0 PPD in town than 800 (or even 600). I have felt often demoralized and had the thought “we are on our own” more than once. I’m not saying I believe that, but that has been the feeling, and not without some unfortunate experiences to back it up.

It would be nice to know whose decision it actually was–but with Wheeler no longer running for re-election as mayor (as of last week), I don’t know how useful that information actually is. I suppose asking tough questions to those running for mayor may be the best we can do. For my part I suspect that the reality was “all of the above.” I think the mayor made some really bad decisions (vision? things happen to Portland on his watch, and he sort of reacts, way too late), but I also think that PPD took their ball and went home after not feeling supporting by the mayor during BLM protests, and leveraged (as the article suggests) the situation to press their advantage, at the expense of the safety and (sometimes) the lives of the people of the city.

My impression: there are no heroes in this one, and certainly no particularly good leaders. Portland really needs a great mayor in the next go-round, PPD leadership that is committed to the city and can take criticism and turn it into positive action (there will be criticism), and sometime soon after, a quality city manager.

I still think someone should get fired. But I guess now we get to quiet-fire the mayor?