Politics

Re-Fund Police: Portland Mayor Seeks $2 Million to Curb Rampant Gun Violence

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The mayor of Portland, Oregon, announced Thursday he would seek $2 million in one-time funding for police and other agencies to try to stem rampant gun violence in the city.

The move by Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler is an about-face after city leaders in June voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police budget, reductions that included the elimination of a gun violence unit.

The cuts came amid anti-police protests and riots following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Oregon’s largest city has seen a spike in violence.

So far this year, there have been 20 homicides, most the result of shootings. During the same period of 2020 — the deadliest year in the city in more than a quarter century — there was one.

A group of community members and leaders sent a letter to the City Council on Thursday with a list of actions they believe will reduce gun violence, including expanding the ranks of street-level “outreach workers,” increasing gun crime investigations and re-establishing a uniformed patrol team to engage in violence prevention and response.

“We believe very strongly that it is important to intercede at this point, and appeal to the city to work with us and to hear us, as it relates to the need for the tide to be stemmed with the number of shootings on the street,” J.W. Matt Hennessee, chair of Inter-Faith Peace & Action Collaborative, said.

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