Rose Fest organizers hopeful to get half-marathon even with PPB - KPTV - FOX 12

Rose Fest organizers hopeful to get half-marathon even with PPB event moratorium

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Portland Police Bureau is dealing with a staffing shortage, and now the city has put a moratorium on any new events where a heavy police presence is needed.

This plan is putting some activities, including a high-profile Rose Festival event, in jeopardy.

For the last five years thousands of people have participated in the Rock ‘N Roll half-marathon in Portland in conjunction with the Rose Festival.

During the race officers would help shut down streets, control traffic and provide security.

The main organization behind the event canceled the race this year, but the Rose Festival Foundation still wants to hold a half-marathon.

The city has officially denied a permit for a new half-marathon planned during the festival, but organizers are hopeful they still can work something out.

A PPB spokesman said it is a challenge to fill overtime shifts to cover events like races while the bureau faces staffing shortfalls, and said the department will not staff any new events this year.

The Rose Festival Foundation has appealed the permit denial and officials are optimistic.

Rich Jarvis with the foundation said his organization has experience reducing the need for police at events like the Grand Floral Parade and City Fair, and is hopeful they can work something out.

“We understand their resources are particularly stretched this year. So I get where it’s coming from,” Jarvis explained. “However we’re not a new event, we’re a continuation of an event. We simply change the names and the dates a little bit, but again the idea is to be able to work with them successfully to make it all happen and keep it safe and keep it fun for Portland.”

A spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation said organizers for five other new events decided not to apply for permits when they learned about this staffing situation.

The city is working with organizers of existing events like the Portland Marathon to provide the necessary police presence.

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