Portland is a community that values civic engagement and is renowned for vigorous expression of opinions in public. The ongoing violence occurring between opposing groups on our streets is not acceptable. In addition to the impacts on downtown residents, visitors, and businesses, violent protests pull Portland Police officers from vital work in neighborhoods throughout the city, endangering vulnerable populations.
I appreciate that Mayor Wheeler has invited the Council to set policy on how to address escalating conflict between demonstrators. Any solution must be developed with community input – this is a community issue, and Portlanders are vital stakeholders whose rights and opinions must be considered. The City is responsible for the safety of all Portlanders. We must end these confrontations without damaging free speech and assembly rights guaranteed in the State and Federal Constitutions.
I received the draft ordinance from Mayor Wheeler yesterday afternoon and met with the City Attorney’s Office immediately before the Mayor’s press conference. I will work collaboratively with the Mayor and the rest of Council to ensure that we pursue a policy solution that is constitutional, enforceable, accountable, and addresses the needs of our community. While I hope we can find a solution that all of Council can support as early as next Wednesday, I believe the process of reaching that outcome will be crucial to the policy’s success.