PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — To be clear, the Portland City Council does not expect the park rangers to respond to shootings or to be the police of the parks. Instead, their role is to de-escalate.
But City Council approved a plan to invest more than $1 million for two dozen more park rangers as part of the city’s gun violence reduction plan.
Portland Parks & Recreation said the rangers are there to provide a positive, unarmed community safety presence in the parks and surrounding neighborhoods. Their job is to help solve problems and help protect natural resources.
Their training includes de-escalation and crisis interaction training, mental health first aid training, verbal de-escalation and conflict resolution and other areas.
Their job is to de-escalate conflict. But if a situation becomes unmanageable or a weapon is involved, police are called.
When necessary, their team works closely with city partners and bureaus to solve complex problems like homelessness, connecting people with social services.
Park rangers say they will be out in the field catching situations before they escalate, establishing trust and safety within the green spaces.
The Portland City Council believes they are a crucial piece of the puzzle, along with community groups and the police, to reduce gun violence.