Wheeler confirms intent to ban public drug use
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is set to propose an ordinance banning drug use in public spaces.
According to the Mayor’s Office, the updates to Portland’s Public Order and Policy Code will be introduced at the council meeting next Wednesday. If approved, this would add banning public drug use to the City ordinance already prohibiting public consumption of alcohol.
“This ordinance would amend our public consumption of alcohol ordinance to include controlled substances and outline clear and familiar expectations. This is a common sense approach,” said Mayor Wheeler. “We must make it clear that people cannot use drugs in public spaces. I appreciate that this ordinance has support from the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, and it will take all of us working together to make the kind of systemic change our city needs.”
Sergio Bravo, an individual experiencing homelessness in Portland, does not believe a ban will be affective.
“How are you going to ban that?” said Bravo. “How are they going to know what drugs they are using? They could be drugs bought from the store or pharmacy. What’s the fine line there? Are you going to test everyone who is smoking something? That requires too much man power. It’s not going to work.”
The proposal follows Measure 110, approved in Nov. 2020 to decriminalize the personal possession of controlled substances.
While Measure 110 decriminalizes the possession of controlled substances, the city ordinance would prohibit the consumption of these substances on public property, like streets, sidewalks, and public rights-of-ways.
“Portland’s growing substance abuse problems have exploded to deadly and disastrous proportions,” said Wheeler. “This year alone, the Portland Police Bureau has already initiated over 100 suspected overdose death investigations.”
“Public spaces are created to provide all Portlanders, regardless of who you are, with safe and secure places to gather and enjoy each other and our city,” City Commissioner Carmen Rubio said. “I support the need to restrict public consumption of controlled substances, just like the public consumption of alcohol.”
The city says according to the ordinance, people found in violation may receive a fine of up to $500 or up to six months jail time as determined by the courts.
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