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The original item was published from 7/17/2020 10:15:45 AM to 6/7/2021 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: June 7, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Mayor and City Councilors Hold Press Conference to Discuss Recent Demonstrations

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Mayor Kate Snyder and members of the Portland City Council held a press conference today at City Hall to discuss the recent demonstrations in Portland.

Mayor Kate Snyder and members of the Portland City Council held a press conference today at City Hall to discuss the recent demonstrations in Portland. They expressed support for the peaceful protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as a commitment to continuing an open and ongoing dialogue that leads to meaningful actions in the best interests of all involved. 

City actions already in the works include:

  • A remote meeting of the City Council’s Health and Human Services & Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, June 9 at 5:30 PM. The agenda includes an update from the Portland Police Department (“PPD”) and review of several current policies and officer trainings regarding the Use of Force, Body Cameras, Crisis Intervention and De-Escalation, Implicit Bias, as well as a discussion of the role of the Police-Citizen Review Subcommittee. The Committee will also review and discuss policy recommendations from President Obama’s Task Force for 21st Century Policing and Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” platform, and how those mesh with current PPD policies and practices; 

  • The Police Citizen Review Subcommittee will then meet remotely on Wednesday, June 10 at 6:00 PM. Public comment will be taken; 

  • The City Council Finance Committee will meet remotely on Thursday, June 18 at 5:30 PM in order to begin the review of the City’s FY21 budget. This review will include an in depth review of each departmental budget including the Portland Police Department; and

  • The Council will hold a remote workshop on Monday, June 22 at 5:30 PM to discuss a Police Department report about the June 1st and 2nd protests. 

In Portland, the nine members of the City Council set the policy direction for the city and the City Manager is charged with implementing and carrying out those policies, as well as managing city operations. The City Manager also has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Portland, and as such has a duty to get guidance and authorization from the Council on how to allocate its budget in order to, among other things, carry out the various Council approved policy decisions. 

Further, the Mayor and Councilors took the opportunity to clarify its position and correct inaccuracies on a number of recent policy decisions that were highlighted during the demonstrations and passed around on a flyer: 

  • Gentrification and Homeless Services:  The Council is committed to improving homeless services in Portland.  Recently, the City Council voted to replace the Oxford Street Shelter and locate a new and more modern homeless services center with wrap-around services provided on site on Riverside Street.  The City Manager and City staff presented the Council with a variety of options to consider throughout the lengthy public process leading to this decision, but the Council ultimately decided to locate and provide the services as described.  

  • Immigrants:  The Portland Community Support Fund was established by the City Council to provide support to new asylum seekers, and has been expended by the City Manager according to the guidelines established by the Council. 

  • Health Services:  The City Council approved proactively transitioning a portion of the services provided by the India Street Health Clinic to Greater Portland Health. GPH is a thriving Federally Qualified Health Center (“FQHC”) in our city. The transition allowed for funding of more comprehensive services for patients. Providing these grant funded services at a FQHC significantly increases the ability of a Portland based entity to  continue receiving the federal grant for these services. As part of the transition of these services, the city assisted patients with transitioning to the new service provider.   

  • Free Speech:  The City unequivocally recognizes and deeply respects the public’s rights and ability to state their opinions, as well as to protest. The City has a strong commitment to always work with organizers to allow various demonstrations in front of City Hall and other locations around the city. Additionally, the City Council has consistently allowed non-agenda item public comment during its meetings, and has always welcomed comments and opinions from the public (in writing or otherwise) on issues pending before them.

  • Emergency Housing:  The City Manager acted swiftly in getting emergency approval in a matter of days from the City Council last summer when the city welcomed an unprecedented number of asylum seeking families, opening up the Expo Center to house families, working with partner organizations and neighboring communities to help permanently house them, helping to raise almost $1 million to provide assistance and ongoing support, and securing federal funds for reimbursement. While there initially was an offer of temporary housing after the Expo Center was already in operation, City staff successfully worked to find more long-term housing solutions in order to minimize the amount of disruptions to these families. 

  • School Funding: The City Council convened an ad hoc committee to review available options to fund the rebuilding of four of the city’s elementary schools. Ultimately, the School Board recommended a bond question that would look to city taxpayers to bond the entire $64 million required to renovate the four elementary schools, and withdraw its applications for state construction funds. The Council placed this question on the ballot along with an alternative question that asked voters to choose whether to bond local dollars for two of the four schools and complete the application process for state construction funding of two of the four schools.


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