City of Portland to pay more than $660,000 for 3 armed security agents

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:40 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland’s City Hall security budget just got a lot bigger. Wednesday, city commissioners unanimously approved an increase to their contract, which brings their total security contract to more than $15 million.

The number approved in Wednesday’s city council meeting was $661,173 to add a three-person, armed security team to City Hall. This is in addition to their already-existing, multi-million-dollar security contract.

Commissioner Rene Gonzalez said this investment in extra security at City Hall has become necessary.

“We’ve unfortunately seen an increase, in recent years, in confrontations and vandalism directed at elected officials, and to a certain extent, some of our city employees so it was just an unfortunate outcome of that trend,” he said.

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According to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, these “executive protection” agents will work 40-hour weeks, or more if needed, providing transportation, protection and logistics support for the mayor, commissioners and other City Hall staff.

“We have some tough conversations at times about our challenges of crime and homelessness and it’s imperative that elected officials are free to speak openly on those topics,” Gonzalez said. “So, for them to do so, if it’s necessary for the city to make investments to protecting them and their families, I’m all for it. Just like I’m going to support investment in public safety for all Portlanders.”

Wheeler’s office said the more than $660,000 price tag doesn’t just go towards agent salaries, but other facets of their services like training, equipment and on-call services.