PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland is uncharted territory; the state’s most populous city only recently was allowed to enter Phase One as part of Multnomah County’s approval and the downtown area has endured nearly a month of nightly protests calling for social justice.
On Sunday, multiple arrests were made outside of the Justice Center as the city entered its fourth week of demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality.
“Since the protests began in our city, we obviously received tens of thousands of calls, meeting requests [and] emails asking for more accountability,” Wheeler said Monday when asked about his thoughts on the progress the city is making towards police reform. On June 17, the Portland City Council voted to cut $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau budget in the next fiscal year. The move rids the bureau of more than 80 police officer positions, mostly vacancies and retirements.
Wheeler did caution of being too reactionary when carrying out major changes to the city’s police force saying, “Maybe I’m making a case here for pragmatism in the face of a revolution. Yes, we need to root out systematic racism. Yes, we need to modernize our institutions of public safety. But, we don’t want to get rid of them and we don’t want to do things that could be counterproductive and potentially reduce safety to the public.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler joined AM Extra to tackle the difficult subject matter including the future of the city’s police force and attempts by demonstrators to enact an autonomous zone.
Watch previous Mayor Monday segments here.