PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Four months after the Portland City Council approved reallocating $15 million from the Police Bureau budget to other city programs and initiatives, the council could OK diverting additional millions from the law enforcement agency.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly have called for redirecting another $18 million from the current Portland Police budget. They propose spending the money on food assistance, continued funding for city sanctioned outdoor tent camps and other non-police services.
But, any change to the budget will require three votes and Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Commissioner Dan Ryan have not publicly said yet if they agree entirely with either proposal, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Mayor Ted Wheeler has said he opposes diverting any more money from the police agency, which he oversees.
Ryan spoke Tuesday evening with protesters outside his home urging more cuts to police spending.
The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Wednesday afternoon as it works to finalize the city’s fall budget monitoring process, which allows city elected leaders to review and approve what are normally slight changes to the budget.
Redirecting police funding to address racial, social and institutional problems that often lead people to call police has been a rallying cry across the nation amid months-long protests. In Portland, demands from the public since late spring have ranged from reducing the police budget by $50 million to eliminating the agency’s funding entirely.
Wheeler has said he wants the Police Bureau budget, which members in June set at $229.3 million, to remain at that level. It was $241.5 million the previous year.
Wheeler is instead proposing more than $9 million in new one-time spending to go toward initiatives that include continued operation of the city-created outdoor camps, a fund for Black-led community groups and to support the Metro regional government’s Portland′5 Centers for the Arts.
Separately, some of the $15 million diverted from the Police Bureau budget in June is slated to fund new city positions within the Office of Equity & Human Rights, Office of Violence Prevention and Office of Government Relations to help address racial and inclusion equity as well as gun violence.