PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – After months of community outcry, Portland city commissioners unanimously approved a nearly $6 million plan to combat the city's dramatic rise in gun violence.

The city says this plan will not add any new funding to the Portland Police Bureau and will instead go to community-based organizations currently working to change the conditions and environments that foster violence.

Here are the main takeaways from the plan:

  • According to the city, Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland Police Bureau will internally realign resources to gain the patrol, analytic and investigative capacities PPB says it needs to combat gun violence.
  • According to the plan, the bureau will immediately add six additional assault investigative detectives and one sergeant to coordinate gun-related investigations working in partnership with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
  • The plan will also direct the city's new community safety transition director to lead the development of the gun violence prevention response plans and the community safety plan.
  • $1.4 million will be dedicated to expanding the Park Ranger Program to increase patrols and be an unarmed presence of goodwill from May through December 2021.

The city will also invest in a pilot program based on a summer ceasefire strategy policy in Oakland, California.

As the Portland City Council began its discussion on this proposal Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had a plea to the city.

Portland Shooting Scene

Portland shooting scene, KPTV file image

"I apologize to Portlanders of color, particularly for black and brown Portland men too often over many decades you have been the victims of an unfair state and local law enforcement system that has mistreated you and even killed you," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said his apology comes with actions.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty echoed that sentiment.

"What we're doing today is starting a pathway towards making sure that we are investing dollars where they will make the most good," Hardesty said. "We're also at the front end of transforming our police department."

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell held a press availability Wednesday afternoon. In it, he said, with short staffing and no new funding, the bureau will have to figure out how to make these internal changes.

"We know this work is important. It's probably some of the most important work we do cause' it really affects people's lives and safety every day. So we have to figure out a way where we can be effective in playing our part and be a good partner," Lovell said. "But I will say it's very difficult to do with limited personnel and limited budget."

FOX 12 also asked Lovell if the realigned resources will add to the current Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST), which is already on call 24-7 to respond to shootings.

"I think the Enhanced Community Safety Team's probably really more investigatively-focused. I think this new group will probably be really tied into some community oversight and some community interaction," Lovell said. "So they'll be separate, but I think it's possible that some of their work could overlap, and maybe there's a need to shift some resources from one to the other."

Interfaith leaders who've been pushing for immediate action, like Pastor Matt Hennessee, embraced the move by the council.

"There is no problem that will come before us, that together we cannot solve," Hennessee said. And today, I see you being willing to move in that same direction."

Multnomah County Board of Commissioners Chair Deborah Kafoury released a statement following the announcement of the agreement:

“I’m encouraged by this emerging leadership and look forward to working with the Portland City Council to bring an end to the cycle of gun violence harming our community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted people’s senses of connection, stability and security, resulting in the increased rates of violence in their homes and on the street. Community members are tired, they’re traumatized, and undoubtedly they need more support to navigate these immensely difficult times without resorting to harming others or themselves.

At Multnomah County, we recognize that in most cases, community violence shows up downstream when social and behavioral health needs aren’t being met upstream. The County has long focused on decreasing the risk of, and hopefully stopping, community violence before it starts. We will continue to invest in programs like our SUN Schools, adolescent health and social services, and food access for families that, together, provide increased stability and support.

When violence does touch the community, the County supports compassionate and effective interventions. Our Juvenile Community Healing Initiative offers a proven model, grounded in partnership with trusted community-based organizations, that supports both individuals and families in working through trauma and breaking cycles of violence.

And we will continue to listen deeply to what the community tells us they need, and invest in community solutions to build strength and resilience, including new community-based and mobile mental health services and outreach, peer support and culturally specific resources.

Our community has worked hard to limit the spread of COVID-19 and I know that working together, we can make a difference for a safer and strong recovery.”

 Portland Public Schools released the following statement:

“PPS is thrilled to continue to partner with The City of Portland, Parks and Recreation and Multnomah County to bring prevention-based solutions to end the cycle of gun violence harming our community.

We are taking a community centered approach in developing plans for summer enrichment programs that engage students in safe, engaging and fun activities. We are partnering with SUN agencies, as well as culturally specific and multiracial organizations who understand the needs of our students and families. We intend to leverage the City and County’s support by investing district resources toward academic and enrichment programs this summer. We look forward to sharing more information and details next week.

Our community has recently demonstrated how effective we can be when we work together—if we can limit the spread of COVID-19 in Portland, we can make a difference in the lives of our young people who are facing unprecedented rates of gun violence in our city right now.”

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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(30) comments

Pdxrefugee

The leaders of Portland are hopeless. They're just wasting the taxpayer’s money. While Portland was crumbling the Mayor was having affairs with his staff. Guess who had to vacant her job when it was over? Another politicain using their power for sex. Great leadership!

DefundTheMedia

Is that why his wife divorced him?

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

Hey Ted..you just apologized to the wrong people. You need to apologize to every citizen of Portland, and to every business in Portland that have been victimized because you have the mind of a child, and you have no clue how to correctly govern this city. YOU and Joann are 100% to blame for the problems in this city. It's not the police. The police here are fine. At least they were until two people named George and Breonna died in cities far away from here. And somehow that was the fault of PPB, so you decided to knee-jerk liberal 15 million in funding because of what happened in other cities. That is how you think. It's always virtue signal and identity politics with fools like you. If you weren't such an idiot, we wouldn't be in this mess right now.

DefundTheMedia

Well said!

Pursuit

Many nearby departments have, and will, continue to welcome the officers of PPD.

Remember, if the citizens of Portland had not elected the leaders they did, this would not be happening.

Very sad, but very predictable.

retired40

Be sure to go after the people creating the gun violence, not the legal gun owners. Remember, a gun does not pull it's own trigger. The idiot council and mayor might try backing the men in blue instead of backing the BLM and ANTIFA.

DefundTheMedia

Notice, the same idiots that have "Defund The Police" signs on their lawns, also have "We believe in peace and love" signs? Can't have one without the other. Straight up idiots.

Procyon

So, after Portland flushes $6 million down the toilet via various “community activist groups”, will Ted Wheeler apologize to the taxpayers when the murder rate keeps going up?

As long as they refuse to see the actual problem, they won’t be able to do anything about it.

Erik Erlow Eeckhart

and in the same breath Wheeler apologizes to 'people of color' for the harsh actions of the police. Wake up Wheeler, who do you think are the suspects, and victims of all the gun violence?

webjak

A community director, unarmed "park rangers" and a few additional detectives? That is a joke on the community and will have no effect on the Africans killing each other in Portland. Some feel good liberal double talk.

catfishink

How about arresting, prosecuting, and jailing violent criminals? Oh, and if you voted for Ted Wheeler and/or JoAnn Hardesty, you need to sit down and be quiet. You voted for this.

commentor

[thumbup][thumbup]

nativepdx

How will this help when a citizen calls the police for help and there is no one to answer the call?

commentor

You will have the unarmed "park rangers" showing up for what little good they would do.

evilkitty76

If we all had a gun the violence would stop

Clackakitty

If this doesn't work, do all the politicians promise to resign?

Ironbar66

[beam]Lolol! Anything to kowtow to liberal lunacy! Well Portlanders, there's 6 million of your tax dollars down the drain!

Toothache

It's Portland, so who cares? The sooner it destroys itself the better.

Clackakitty

Portland deserves everything they get. They keep electing these know-nothings.

Merlin

[thumbup]

10.20.15.

They continue to show how disconnected from the truth and reality they really are. The gun violence went up when the broke up the GVRT that's no surprise to anyone with any common sense. How is it they are so focused on holding Police accountable which yes that needs to be done, but not holding criminals accountable and expecting things to get better or even not get worse is 100% insanity.

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

I used to be a volunteer Park Ranger out on the westside, and I guarantee you I was never unarmed. Only a fool would patrol a Portland Park without being armed.

Lexx Luthor

Unicorns cost about a million dollars. Now Portland 'leaders" can purchase 6 brand new unicorns and beging bragging about how well they grok that which they have the ongoing BLM problem in Portland. 1 Unicorn per preacher please !

UgoJoe

If the media made headline news of every time an obese person died of a heart attack, do you think we'd have have a fast food task force to combat unhealth food?

Don Kebals

No additional funding for police..... also, According to the plan, the bureau will immediately add six additional assault investigative assault investigative detectives and one sergeant to coordinate gun-related investigations working in partnership with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. Huh?

PDX2MtHood

Park rangers will stop the gun violence lol this city is hopeless. When you're looking to implement ideas from a cesspool like Oakland, California you are truly beyond hope for fixing your city.

commentor

Wasn't there a park ranger just last week that was threatened in the Portland area?

Clackakitty

That was an ax. Doesn't count.

commentor

'Portland city commissioners approve nearly $6 million plan to combat gun violence' ... Spineless Ted and him minion Jo Ann Hardesty should just man up and admit that the increase in gun violence was their fault because they were the ones who broke up the GVRT, defunded and hamstrung PPB so that they could not do their jobs. The Multhnomah County D.A. should take some responsibility as well because of his 'open door' policy on crime, as in when the police arrest the perps, he dismisses the charges and turns them loose to go right back out and do the same exact thing they got arrested for in the first place.

6 million dollars is not going to fix anything, Portland is to far into the sewer and no amount of money is going to bring it back.

retired40

Pull the handle, flush it, and start over.

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