PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Peace Team is hard at work to keep tensions from boiling over at protests, marches and rallies.
The organization — which was founded by Tom Hastings, a conflict resolution professor at Portland State University — is training a new round of peace-keepers now that protest season is returning to Portland. Volunteers will learn de-escalation tactics like staying calm and listening to people who are riled up. They wear blue vests at local events to identify themselves.
The Peace Team says helping the community remember the power of non-violent protest is critical.
“The Portland Peace Team offers unarmed public safety assistance to any nonviolent organization or event and has done so since 2012,” Hastings said. “The Portland Peace Team wants to join with all Portlanders to restore our culture of nonviolence, no hatred, and activism for justice.”
The City of Portland has partnered with the Peace Team to hold two-hour small-group training sessions. Those interested can choose to attend one of seven trainings which will run through July.
“We appreciate that the Portland Peace Team is working with the City of Portland to offer de-escalation trainings to the public,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “Portlanders are passionate about peacefully practicing their First Amendment rights, and many want to do their part to keep events safe. This is an opportunity for community members to learn proven de-escalation techniques that help achieve that goal.”