PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The Portland City Council has rejected Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed ordinance that would have placed guidelines and restrictions on protests and demonstrations in the city.
The vote was 3-2 at the City Council meeting on Wednesday.
The Protest Safety Ordinance would have addressed violence that has occurred during protests in Portland over the past year, according to the mayor’s office.
Protesters from different political groups – specifically Patriot Prayer and Antifa – have repeatedly clashed in the streets of Portland.
Wheeler said the ordinance would protect the rights of demonstrators, as well as the safety of the community. If it had passed, Wheeler, who is the police commissioner, would have been able to preemptively set time, place and manner restrictions on certain types of protests.
Critics argued the ordinance would give the mayor too much power and could threaten freedom of speech rights.
After the ordinance failed to pass, various civil rights groups, including the ACLU of Oregon and the Oregon Justice Resource Center, released a statement saying, in part, "Today's council decision to reject the ordinance is a call to action for community leaders and civil rights advocates to work with city leadership to build effective and constitutionally sound solutions to counter bigotry, political violence, and threats to democracy in Portland."
Wheeler released a statement Wednesday saying, "While I am disappointed that City Council did not pass our Protest Safety Ordinance, I am encouraged that this has sparked a necessary and hard look at protest safety in our city. I want to thank our vocal critics, who made us better - through the engagement of rigorous debate. I've been firm because I believe that this ordinance was a step in the right direction."
Wheeler told FOX 12 he doesn't plan to re-write and re-submit the ordinance for further council consideration.
He said one option going forward is for the enforcement of permits at every protest, but Wheeler said to do that would require the Portland Police Bureau to commit a lot more resources.
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