Portland City Council mulls ordinance to halt disruptions

City ordinance allows ejection from city council session

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland City Council discussed an ordinance on Mar. 8 that focuses on how the city should handle the disruption of city meetings, but commissioners did not vote on the matter that day.

“Over the course of the last few years, disruptions at city council meetings have become the undesirable norm which allowed a few individuals to halt council meetings,” the ordinance explains.

It says some disruptions by protesters interfered with the council’s ability to carry out city business, and that city boards and commission meetings have also encountered the same disruptive behaviors.

Council meeting disrupted, Protesters take over

Posted by Tim Gordon (KGW-TV) on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The ordinance says the city must establish rules of conduct, clearly state the expectations for acceptable behavior and tell people the consequences for unacceptable behavior. 

“Disruptive, threatening and dangerous behaviors at city council will no longer be tolerated” it reads.

The ordinance says a person in charge will ask people who misbehave at city properties to leave or “face property exclusion or criminal trespass.”

The ordinance says ejection is one way to deal with the bad behavior, and also says arrests for criminal trespass should be the ultimate and most severe tool available for managing disorder and misbehavior for public meetings. 

A Rules of Conduct framework states that people who disrupt council meetings on a constant basis, and have previously been ejected, could face exclusion from other council meetings. 

If a person has previously been ejected for dangerous or threatening behavior
before the Council within 1 year before the date of the present ejection, or for
disruptive behavior on three or more separate occasions within 1 year before the
date of the present ejection, the person shall be excluded from Council meetings
for 30 days. 

 If a person has been excluded from the Council on one or more occasions within 1
year before the date of the present exclusion, the person shall be excluded from
Council meetings for 60 days. 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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