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Commissioner Eudaly's Statement on the 2020-2021 Budget

Press Release
A photo by Mathieu Lewis Rolland Photography of dozens of Portlanders protesting for Black lives
Published

Dear Portland,

Yesterday I spoke my mind and voted my conscience. It’s rare for me to take that kind of stand when I know that my vote will displease my colleagues, and not change the outcome. With every vote, I strive to advance the best option we’re given (often between two less than ideal choices) and support my colleagues. But I have been the lone no vote on items such as our security contract with an international company accused of rampant human rights abuses around the globe, on not selling surplus tasers to other jurisdictions, and on the City reinvesting in corporate securities. And yesterday I was the lone no vote on the budget.

I began the session intending to vote yes, despite feeling that we hadn’t gone far enough and not being satisfied with some of the specific details of the amendments. But as the testimony rolled on and I heard the anger, and the grief, and the conviction of our community members, I realized I wanted the 65,000 people who have contacted my office, the tens of thousands more taking to our streets to protest every night, and the several hundred people who testified in support of bolder action to feel heard. That’s why I read my unsupported amendments into the record, and that’s why I voted no. I hear you, you’re right—we must do more—and I’m committed to doing that work with you. I reject any assertion that I should have fallen in line or deferred to any of my colleagues. I am ultimately answerable to my constituents. The reality is that I supported every amendment advanced by my colleagues, and the budget will pass next week. This morning I’m meeting with a group of elected representatives and Black community members to discuss and prioritize next steps at every level of government.

Congratulations to Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Hardesty for the significant progress they have made on reenvisioning our police bureau and our approach to community safety. It was truly an impressive feat in a short period of time. Congratulations to the community who rose up and demanded these changes. This wouldn’t have happened without you. In 30 years of political activism, I have never seen anything like this. And after 3+ years of being ground down by the glacial pace of bureaucratic processes, I genuinely feel inspired by your energy and determination to make swift and transformative change. Please take a moment to celebrate this victory and let it sustain you in the coming months and years as we continue to fight for a truly just society.

Keep loving, keep fighting, and be safe out there!

Photo by Mathieu Lewis Rolland Photography. Used with permission.