PORTLAND, Ore — Protests continued Wednesday night in Portland calling for defunding the police and reform to address systemic racism.
A large group led by Rose City Justice marched from Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland across the Hawthorne Bridge to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
At 11 p.m., there was a growing crowd outside the believed residence of Mayor Ted Wheeler on Northwest 10th and Glisan. KGW has not confirmed this is where the Mayor lives. Protesters chanted "Black Lives Matter" and shined lights and lasers on the building.
Earlier in the day, Portland City Council passed a budget that took away $15 million from the police bureau and eliminated 84 positions. Activists were demanding that $50 million be cut from the bureau.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said the $50 million cut was not based on any rational analysis, and if it had been, she'd have investigated and considered it.
Hardesty, a longtime activist, has tried for decades to change the Portland Police Bureau from the outside. In 2019 she became the first black woman to serve on Portland’s city council and immediately started working on police reform.
Last year she attempted to defund the Gun Violence Reduction Team, because she believes it is racist, but her proposal was overwhelmingly voted down. This year, that's part of the budget.
In addition to dissolving the GVRT, Hardesty's amendments included cutting eight new positions from the city’s Special Emergency Response Team, cutting funding for school resource officers and transit police, and giving nearly $5 million to Portland Street Response, which would deal with homeless people before police get involved.