PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — By a 3-1 vote, the Portland City Council voted Wednesday to cut $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau budget in the next fiscal year.
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly was only no vote on the council.
The PPB budget — about $245 million — is part of the whole city budget of $5.6 billion. The PPB cuts include getting rid of more than 80 police officer positions, mostly vacancies and retirements. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty worked to win support for getting rid of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, school resource officers, Transit Police and 8 SERT officers.
Those officers will be reassigned within the bureau
The $15 million in cuts is about 3% of the budget. But activists said they wanted cuts of $50 million, which is why Eudaly said she voted no.
“To the tens of thousands of people who contacted my office, marched in the streets, who testified at City Council, don’t be discouraged,” Eudaly said. “We couldn’t have done this without you and what has happened today is big. Not everything you wanted, but not incremental.”
Hardesty addressed those tens of thousands of emailers in her response.
“It is not appropriate for you to say to me that I have not gone far enough,” she said to Eudaly. “You don’t know the shoes I’ve walked in for 30 years in Portland. I am honored to have a seat on City Council and this time we are making transformational changes.”
The City Council plans to redirect the money toward social programs and investments in the community that help Black and other minority youth, as well as move towards a pilot program of EMTs and mental health workers to respond to 911 calls that don’t require an armed officer.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and the commissioners promise this is just the start of a move toward racial equity and justice in the city.