The Oregon city’s mayor Ted Wheeler announced Wednesday that he is seeking an extra $5million this fall, after Portland recorded more murders than during any previous year in its history, with two months of 2021 still to go.
He joins fellow progressive Lori Lightfoot – the Mayor of Chicago – who earlier this year announced a funding spree for the Windy City’s law enforcement having previously backed defunding measures, with a crime spiral ensuing.
The violent city has reported 73 murders so far in 2021 alone – more than its previous record of 66, which was recorded across the whole of 1987 – which the FBI has attributed to the pandemic, economic hardships, hang-related crime and a mental health crisis.
But Portland is also famed for its regular, far-left Antifa protests, with many of its denizens strongly supporting plans to defund or even abolish its police department.
Those calls reached a fever pitch in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in May 2020, with the city council defunding its police budget by $15 million just three weeks later.
As a result ‘many Portlanders no longer feel safe in their city,’ the mayor said during a news conference earlier this week and in response he’s asking for money to hire more officers and invest in more body cameras.
Hyper-woke Portland’s mayor Ted Wheeler (pictured at Wednesday’s news conference) announced that he is seeking an extra $5million this fall to refund the police after the murder-ravaged city broke its all-time homicide record
The announcement came as FBI data revealed that homicides have increased nearly 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. And from the start of 2020 to now, that figure has increased a whopping 83 percent.
Portland, which has a population of about 645,000, has seen twice as many slayings as neighboring Seattle despite the fact that the city has a larger population of about 725,000.
The latest homicide victim was 35-year-old Paul David Larson. According to Oregon Live his body was found by Portland cops responding to a welfare call around 11.30am on October 26.
The investigation is ongoing and police reported ‘suspicious circumstances’.
The city’s police department has been struggling to put an end to the deadly violence after Portland’s police department underwent significant budget cuts in 2020 after demands to defund the police.
City leaders cut the police budget by a total of $27million last year and $11million of it was due to the pandemic-induced financial emergency.
Officials then demobilized a specialized unit focused on squashing gun violence, which had long faced criticism for targeting people of color.
Wheeler also announced in June that cops will no longer be ordered to stop drivers for low-level traffic violations, which he said was in response to to a disproportionate impact on black drivers and because the city is short-staffed on officers.
The 73rd homicide victim in Portland was 35-year-old Paul David Larson (pictured). Cops found his body when responding to a welfare call around 11.30am on October 26
According to Fox since August of last year about 200 officers have left the department and in their exit interviews many cited low morals, lack of support from local government and burnout from months of protests.
Wheeler even cited that ‘business owners have closed up shop, for fear of doing business in high risk areas’.
‘Commuters fear for their safety, whether taking public transport or going by foot. Parents are scared to let their children play outside,’ he said.
The executive director of Portland’s police union Daryl Turner said: ‘We are running on fumes. There’s no way we can investigate thoroughly, and correctly, all these shootings.’
Turner told Fox that the massive slash to the budget could cost lives and the city will need to hire 840 officers over the next five years to be able to properly police Portland and keep its residents safe.
Portland’s police department is currently made up of 130 officers but Wheeler said that he wants to increase the force by 300 officers – 200 sworn officers and 100 unarmed public safety specialists – by the start of 2023’s fiscal year.
According to the Tribune, to attract officers to the force the mayor is offering a $25,000 signing bonus to the first 50 sworn officers or public safety specialists and has said that he supports hiring back 25 retired police officers.
‘Our police bureau staffing levels are at record lows and based on projected retirements, staffing levels will continue (to decrease) unless we take decisive action now,’ Wheeler said.
Portland’s police department is currently made up of 130 officers but Wheeler said at Wednesday’s conference that he wants to increase the force by 300 officers – 200 sworn officers and 100 unarmed public safety specialists – by the start of 2023’s fiscal year
Wheeler’s flip-flop decision to refund the police comes days after mayoral candidates in other woke cities rejected calls to defund the police. Former NYPD captain Eric Adams (left) did not reallocate money from law enforcement to other programs while Seattle’s moderate Bruce Harrell (right) slammed his opponent for her support in 2020 to cut the police bureau’s budget by 50 percent
In Portland there’s funds available for public safety in the form of a $60million general fund excess balance – which came from 2020 business taxes and was much larger than anticipated, according to Fox.
Despite its crime and antifa problem, the city is home to many successful businesses and has a reputation for innovation, with taxes from those corporations helping boost its coffers.
The news station reported that the City Council can use half that money however it wants but it has yet to be determined if a chunk of it will go to the police bureau.
Wheeler’s asking for the unexpected surplus to be used on new equipment and improved, extended education and training for police, as reported by the Tribune.
‘Without these investments, the outlook for violence in our city is grim,’ the mayor noted.
He said at a community town hall meeting on Tuesday night that he believes he has ‘sufficient support from city council to hire more officers’.
‘It’s not just me talking anymore,’ he added.
Wheeler’s flip-flop decision to refund the police comes days after mayoral candidates in woke cities like Seattle and New York rejected calls to defund the police.
Former NYPD captain Eric Adams, who swept to victory on Tuesday, did not reallocate money from law enforcement to other programs.
Seattle winner moderate Bruce Harrell told KUOW that he’s going to seek to ‘change the culture of the police department’ and slammed his opponent and City Council President M Lorena González for her support in 2020 to cut the police bureau’s budget by 50 percent.
‘I would say to the abolitionists and the defunders that we need to drive outcomes and invest in outcomes that we want. We want culturally competent, deescalating officers who take their oath of office in such a way that they will protect all communities,’ Harrel said.