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Emergency Ordinance

*Amend Public Order and Police Code to add provisions regulating the consumption of controlled substances on public property (amend Code Sections 14A.50.010 and 14A.20.060)


The City of Portland ordains: 

Section 1. The Council finds: 

  1. The City Code currently prohibits the open consumption of alcohol on streets, sidewalks, and public rights-of-way.
  2. On November 3, 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, which reduces penalties for drug possession, making Oregon the first state to decriminalize the personal possession of controlled substances.
  3. For possession of smaller amounts of controlled substances, Measure 110 reduces the penalty from the criminal misdemeanor level to a new, Class E violation.
  4. The City has a compelling interest to ensure public spaces are free from the open consumption of controlled substances, in the same way the City Code already regulates the open consumption of alcohol in public.
  5. The City also supports alternatives to criminal punishment whenever practical when enforcing the City Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs: 

  1. Portland City Code Sections 14A.50.010 and 14A.20.060 are amended as set forth in Exhibit A.  

Section 2.  The Council declares that an emergency exists to address immediately the impacts to the public health, safety, and welfare caused by the open consumption of controlled substances in the same manner as the open consumption of alcohol; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council. 

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

This ordinance will modify existing City code (14A.50.010) to add certain prohibited acts in public spaces related to the use and consumption of certain controlled substances. The city has seen a sharp rise in the public consumption of fentanyl and methamphetamine to the detriment of the safety and livability of the City.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

The change does not call for hiring above and beyond current programs, nor does it call for the expansion of any program.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

This ordinance will impact the health, safety, and welfare of Portlanders. 

100% Renewable Goal

Not applicable. 

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

This action amends City Code to prohibit or to consume a controlled substance on public property, or any street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way. Violating the provision will result in conviction that is punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or by both. The ordinance also adds language to City code that alternatives to criminal punishment may be imposed whenever practicable. It is difficult to quantify the potential impacts to the City’s budget that would result from the proposed code changes. However, the changes could result in increased costs if enforcement reaches levels that impact city services and programs impacted by the time, place, and manner restrictions. Calls for persons violating the proposed code changes are expected to be treated as low-priority calls, in most instances. The calls are not expected to draw officers away from responding to higher priority calls.  

At this point, it is expected that the Circuit Courts will be addressing the citations. According to the Mayor’s Office, they also have agreed to support the District Attorney’s efforts to identify alternatives to criminal or financial penalties for those cited. Due to timing constraints, CBO was unable to explore the alternative strategies that could be offered to people convicted under the proposed code changes.

Document History

Item 567 Time Certain in June 28, 2023 Council Agenda

City Council

Referred to Commissioner of Finance and Administration

Introduced by


Stephanie Howard

Mayor's Director of Community Safety

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
3:45 pm
Time Requested
1 hour
Confirmed Time Certain
Changes City Code