PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler officially introduced a new city ordinance that would give him the power to curb some protests in the city.
“I will not allow continued, planned street violence between rival factions to take place in Portland, Oregon,” he said.
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw testified in favor of the proposed law. She said overtime for police staffing for violent protests has cost taxpayers $444,000 so far in 2018.
“We've been doing the same thing and getting the same results. At what point do we look for new ways to come up with a different solution?” Outlaw asked.
The mayor wants the power to tell dueling protest groups where they can gather in the following circumstances:
- The groups have a history of violence.
- Safety of bystanders or protesters is at risk.
- Substantial likelihood of violence.
One of several speakers on the other side of the issue was city commissioner-elect Jo Ann Hardesty.
“I have been extremely disappointed in watching how the Portland Police Bureau has responded to out of town hate groups who show up and take over our downtown streets,” she said.
She told commissioners to slow down and wait until she's sworn in after the new year before they decide on the proposal.
Dan Saltzman is the only other current city commissioner publicly backing the mayor’s plan.
“I'm concerned about the stridency of the protesters coming to Portland on, you name the issue. But they're gonna hurt one another at some point. And I think this is a reasonable step to keep Portlanders safe,” he said.