Portland officials need an attitude adjustment when it comes to violent crimes

By Rachel Dawson

Just over a year ago the Portland City Council cut millions from the police bureau, eliminating 84 positions. Prior to April 2021, 115 police officers left the bureau to either retire early or work in a different city, leaving 129 vacancies. Those absences are being felt across the Metro area.

Portland police responded to 14 shootings over the weekend with one fatality, increasing the number of homicides this year to 69. This is just one less than the number of homicides in 1987, Portland’s most violent year on record.

One of these calls was held up for more than 20 minutes due to a lack of available officers. A single lieutenant eventually responded to the scene, but required help from nearby community members to begin the investigation.

According to Patrol Sergeant Julian Carroll this was done out of “sheer desperation” and “one citizen stopped traffic for the lieutenant and another citizen actually assisted in dropping placards on the brass casings while the sergeant took measurements.” Not only do we need additional officers to fill vacancies, but Portland needs to stop current officers from leaving. Common reasons cited in exit interviews are morale issues and the lack of support from City Hall. It’s clear we have an attitude problem that starts with Mayor Wheeler and the rest of the City Commissioners. They need to set the tone that protecting lives and property rights is important to our city.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Comments 4

  1. Avatar for Gary Baucom

    Gary Baucom

    5:44 pm - October 15, 2021

    I was born at Portland Sanitarium & Hospital 62nd. and SE Belmont in 1952 and grew up lived in Portland until I retired to medford 10 years ago. Now I think twice before going up to Portland to visit Never imagined this crap would happen, I’m not afraid of them, I worry my reaction to some out of state liberal telling me how to act in my hometown. I feel we have lost our true Oregon spirit we long time residents embraced when we were growing up. My heart is saddened for the lost of our unity we the people of Oregon have lost. Regards Gary Medford

  2. Avatar for Glenn Gailis

    Glenn Gailis

    7:58 pm - October 15, 2021

    I have said this time and time again that the City of Portland is a disaster. It continues to deteriorate. No one we know wants to go through or stay in downtown Portland. You need a new mayor snd city council. Portland needs someone who is sane and level headed. Law and order needs to be re-established, but good luck in finding people who want to move and work in Portland. Glenn Gailis

  3. Avatar for Bill Davis

    Bill Davis

    10:18 pm - October 15, 2021

    Agreed, Mayor Wheeler and City Council need to sit down with the police and hash out their differences asap. The last 1.5 years has been a sh_t show in PDX and that needs to get resolved asap.

  4. Avatar for Marina


    7:59 pm - October 22, 2021

    What about having officers let go for no vaccination? How many do we have left now?

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