On November 5th, during the Fall Supplemental Budget Hearing, I voted no on Commissioner Hardesty’s Budget Amendments concerning the Portland Police Bureau. Voting against the proposed $18 million in cuts was a difficult choice, made after careful consideration of the amendment itself, the situation in our city, and our path forward in building a community safety system that serves everyone.
As I prepared to cast my vote, I spent a considerable amount of time thinking back to what I said on the campaign trail. In the first week of July, I made a statement about police reform, and why I supported Commissioner Hardesty’s $15 million cut to the PPB—but not the proposed $50 million cut:
“We have to find ways to follow up on the $15 million cuts to the Portland Police Budget with even more substantial cuts. While I support the spirit of the call for $50 million in reductions to the police budget, the community deserves, and city leaders must provide—a plan—how specifically we will divest from the PPB budget, and just as importantly, how we will use those funds to reimagine the concept of community safety. I will work with the Council and our community to build that plan and help execute it.”
I stand by this statement. I used it to help guide my decision to vote “no” on November 5th. Just as there were no specifics to the proposed $50 million in cuts last summer, Commissioner Hardesty’s recent amendment was not originally vetted by the City’s Budget Office for unfiltered, objective information and analysis. There were no details as to where the cuts would come from and no public safety support system in place to effectively receive the proposed $18 million divestment. We do not yet have a three-legged stool. We have the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue, but we have been told Portland Street Response will not be ready, city-wide, until 2022 or 2023. Meanwhile, most of our city’s direct service providers—the organizations who provide food assistance, emergency shelter, etc.—are all stretched beyond their capacity in a way that money alone will not solve.
I am sincere about police reform, and I will work with unrelenting determination to help dismantle systems of oppression.
Commissioner Dan Ryan