PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council’s efforts to speed up the process of funding local gun violence reduction programs have temporarily stalled as the city continues to see a surge in the number of shootings.
An agenda item that was initially brought to the council by Mayor Ted Wheeler to expedite the funding process was pulled from the council’s Nov. 2 consent agenda due to technicalities in the ordinance’s phrasing, the mayor’s office told KOIN 6.
Under current city law, an ordinance must be passed and approved by the mayor every time a grant is awarded to a community-based organization using city funds. This includes funding that is already earmarked for gun violence reduction programs in the city’s annual budget. The current process, the item says, slows down the distribution of emergency funds.
“Due to the increase in gun violence, the City of Portland needs to expedite agreements and amendments to expand resources to provide external support that is desperately needed,” Wheeler’s agenda item states.
These grants support programs like Safer Summer PDX, a violence intervention program that reportedly focuses on short-term and long-term solutions to reducing shootings and gun homicides in local communities.
If approved, the delayed ordinance would give more direct authority to Portland’s Community Safety Division Director Mike Myers. This would allow Myers to authorize and distribute gun violence prevention grants without continuous, formal approval from the mayor, permitting that the funding does not exceed $500,000, and is pre-approved in the city budget.
Wheeler’s office told KOIN 6 that the ordinance is likely to be approved by the city council once it is fixed and returned to the consent agenda in the coming weeks. KOIN 6 reached out to Myers for comment about the gun violence reduction programs funded by the city, but did not receive a response.