PORTLAND -- Tax money should be taken away from the war on drugs and put into emergency preparations for a destructive earthquake, if Portland commissioner Steve Novick gets his way.
It's budget season at Portland's City Hall and Novick wants $2-million that goes to drugs and vice cops diverted to build a re-fueling station on the city's west side.
The city is taking over the former National Guard Armory in Multnomah Village and turning it into an emergency response center for the west side. Novick said that would be an ideal location to install gas and diesel pumps so crews could get fuel during a crisis.
“A lot of studies have indicated over the last 40 years that interrupting the supply of drugs is kind of a losing battle. Not just kind of, it is a losing battle,” Novick said.
However, the leader of the police bureau's drugs and vice division countered that his unit's work is vital to the city.
“We'd have higher levels of property crimes and property crimes are principally what supports people's drug habits,” said Capt. Mark Kruger. “We’d have higher levels of violence between drug trafficking organizations who are competing in the same areas and we'd have cases of public health issues from people over-dosing.”
The city has $6 million more in tax money than last year and commissioners have $30-million worth of proposals for spending that money.