Portland leaders to discuss more PPB cuts, new city job

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two city commissioners are pushing to cut millions more from the Portland Police Bureau budget.

The City of Portland is in the midst of its fall budget monitoring process. It’s a time when the City Council makes small adjustments to the budget.

But Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly want to make some big cuts at the PPB. Earlier this year, Hardesty joined with Mayor Ted Wheeler to spearhead cuts to the Portland police budget of $27 million. Now Hardesty and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly are pushing for another $18 million in cuts. The proposal is expected to be discussed at the budget meeting on Wednesday.

Hardesty tweeted Tuesday night, “My budget proposals this Wednesday that were developed with Chloe Eudaly will reinvest PPB money to keep people in their homes, keep people fed, and to invest in non-police first response options like the Portland Street Response.”

Another issue up for discussion is a new city position that would be funded by money taken from other emergency services. The community safety director job would work to increase efficiency among public safety bureaus.

“The city is looking at implementing a community safety director position which would oversee the police bureau, the fire bureau, 911 and emergency management system,” said Alan Fershweiler, the president of the Portland Firefighters Association. “They are trying to take $300,000 in money and create one position right now during this current budget.”

The Portland Firefighters Union is against the proposal and believes those funds can be better spent on other resources.

“We see it right now as we need more staff on the line we need more people to respond to emergencies,” Fershweiler said. “Three hundred thousand means a couple more firefighters a year to be able to respond to emergencies for the citizens of Portland.”

Fershweiler said firefighters already gave up $4.7 million in their contract back in May to help with the city budget amid the pandemic and to prevent layoffs within the fire bureau.

“We can’t sit by and watch management grow and watch frontline services shrink for the citizens of Portland,” Fershweiler said.

Fershweiler plans to testify at the city budget meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

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