Wheeler’s protest ordinance fails in city council vote

Civic Affairs

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor Ted Wheeler’s ordinance — meant to regulate protests — failed in a Portland City Council vote.

After a second reading for the city commissioners, Wheeler and Commissioner Dan Saltzman — who is retiring — were the only “yes” votes. Commissioners Fish, Eudaly and Fritz voted against the ordinance that would have allowed the city to regulate the time-place-manner of protests that were expected to turn violent.

However, all agreed that hate, violence and bigotry have no place in Portland.

Wheeler’s stated goal with the “Protest Safety Ordinance” was to protect both the freedom of expression for demonstrators and the safety of the entire community.

After the vote, the mayor was clearly not happy and told KOIN 6 News he will not bring this ordinance up again.

“We can’t just say no to everything,” the mayor said. “My colleagues need to step up and say yes to something.”

Asked if the city would begin enforcing permits, Wheeler said that is one way to go, but the city will need more police officers to do that.

“If we enforce the permits, that is definitely an option. It’s on the table. I want to take a good hard look at it,” Wheeler said. “New York City does that. There’s a cost associated with that. If you are going to enforce every single permit you need more people to do it, and that’s a conversation we are going to have.”

Fish, who was the swing vote, said he was concerned the ordinance could end up in a costly legal battle. He also thought there are other ways to avoid the fighting, such as making arrests.

Both Wheeler and PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw said they hope there will be more discussions over how to avoid protest violence, but this ordinance will not be back.

“If this means now people are talking and we can get people to the table with all perspectives than this was a success,” Outlaw told KOIN 6 News. “Is it going to happen? I’ve seen a lot of people over the last couple of weeks that commited to working with us.”

Protest Safety Ordinance questions and answers 

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