Portland Police: ‘Our City Has Become a Cesspool’

The Portland Police Association issued a critique Monday of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s approach to handling the city’s homelessness crisis.

The letter, penned by association president Daryl Turner, is in response to a recent article by The Oregonian where Mayor Wheeler “acknowledged it’s a problem” that half of the people arrested in Portland last year were homeless. In the article, Wheeler is cited as asking “Is there some sort of profiling or implicit bias by the cops?”

In the letter (below) Turner said he feels Wheeler has “thrown Portland Police officers under the bus” to divert from his own failed policies.

“The Portland Police Bureau have not been given nearly enough resources to fulfill its small piece in addressing the homelessness crisis. We are understaffed. Officers are unable to spend the time needed to connect our homeless to necessary services, whether it be housing, mental health services, drug rehabilitation, or other resources. It’s a recipe for failure,” Turner said.

 

The Portland Police Association is echoing that call on city leaders to put forward new policy solutions to the homelessness crisis.

Letter from Daryl Turner, President of the Portland Police Association:

More Failed Policies

Our City has become a cesspool. Livability that once made Portland a unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets. Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City. Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles are strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Used needles, drug paraphernalia, and trash are common sights lining the streets and sidewalks of the downtown core area, under our bridges, and freeway overpasses. That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve.

Mayor Wheeler’s public policies have failed. Record tax revenues are being brought into the City; yet what do we have to show for it? I am incensed that once again the Mayor has thrown Portland Police Officers under the bus instead of saying what we all know to be true: that his proposed solutions to our homelessness crisis have failed. What we need is for our City and County leaders to take responsibility for this crisis getting out of hand. They need to put forth actual solutions with actual results and stop throwing hard-earned taxpayer dollars down a black hole.

True to form, instead of standing up and leading, Mayor Wheeler has reverted to the, “Is there some sort of profiling or implicit bias by the cops” rhetoric to smokescreen his own failed policies. Will investigating our officers result in more housing for the homeless? Will it provide more mental health or addiction resources for those in need? Will it resolve the livability issues that Portland residents and business owners face daily? Of course not! It’s more of the same from the Mayor; failed policies and blaming others for his failures.

The Portland Police Bureau have not been given nearly enough resources to fulfill its small piece in addressing the homelessness crisis. We are understaffed. Officers are unable to spend the time needed to connect our homeless to necessary services, whether it be housing, mental health services, drug rehabilitation, or other resources. It’s a recipe for failure to put the burden of the homelessness solution on the Police Bureau’s shoulders and then give us insufficient resources to do the work.

The rank and file of the Portland Police Bureau are working tirelessly to improve livability in our City, preserve public safety, and connect our vulnerable communities to social services. We are the first line resource on the streets serving the public—including the homeless—every day with care and professionalism. The fact that our officers have become the scapegoats for Mayor Wheeler’s failed public policies aimed at solving our homelessness crisis is insulting.

Portland Police Officers deserve better. Our families and communities deserve better. Our businesses deserve better. Our City deserves better!

Daryl Turner, President
Portland Police Association

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