Protesters camping out at Portland City Hall ahead of police con - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters camping out at Portland City Hall ahead of police contract vote

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Demonstrators gathered outside of Portland City Hall Tuesday night to camp out before a planned vote on a new police contract by the city council Wednesday. (KPTV) Demonstrators gathered outside of Portland City Hall Tuesday night to camp out before a planned vote on a new police contract by the city council Wednesday. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Hundreds of people gathered and camped out at Portland City Hall Tuesday night, protesting the police contract that is set to be voted on Wednesday.

In response to the protest, the doors of City Hall were locked at 1:00 p.m. in an effort to prevent another rally inside the offices like others recently held in there.

Around 300 people are expected to gather Tuesday evening. They began arriving around 3:00 p.m., putting up several signs and getting ready to camp out overnight.

Leaders with Don't Shoot Portland, the group behind the protest, say that it will be a peaceful demonstration.

Organizers told FOX 12 they are frustrated with the Mayor Charlie Hale's office and the city council, saying they were not given enough time to look at the proposed new contract with the Portland Police Association.

They added that their voice has not been heard in the process, citing meetings with the mayor that were moved around and being locked out of City Hall with limited access to council meetings.

One of the big concerns the protesters have with the new police contract is how the Portland Police Bureau will use body cameras, leading to questions about accountability and transparency.

"There is no accountability in terms of us and the people,” organizer Gregory McKelvey said. “I believe in unions, I believe that they increase wages and they are great to secure employment, but the problem is it is us that they protect and serve, and so we should have a say in how this contract is going on."

PPB Chief Michael Marshman said this contracted is needed, citing a growing shortage of police on the force.

An estimated 385 members of the bureau are projected to retire over the next five years.

He told FOX 12 this contract allows him and the Bureau to ease the shortage before many officers are set to retire in the coming years by allowing for more incentives to make Portland an attractive place for law enforcement.

"Right now we are at a staffing low and I can't just sit back and watch it get worse before we try and do something to prevent that," Marshman said.

Right now, there are 65 vacant positions, with at least 21 more to come this month.

As for concerns over body cameras, Marshman said those will be addressed in a policy discussion, not in a contract.

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