Portland does not have a credible system to manage the police bureau.
For the nearly estimated 50 percent of registered voters who have not yet cast their votes at a local ballot drop-off site:
Measure 26-217 will establish better police accountability, including an independent civilian oversight board with the power to investigate misconduct and terminate officers based on the evidence. It can offer more diverse and credible oversight that should also lift up and support the work of many great, hard-working police officers, as often I have seen firsthand.
I’m grateful for Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and her team, who advocated to put Measure 26-217 on the ballot.
We need this. I tried to reform the current system from within. Like when an officer kills someone who should be alive today, we should be able to fire that officer, as I tried to do when as mayor and police commissioner.
Backed by systemically racist and outdated state labor laws, Portland’s police union stopped me—often sandbagging police accountability practices for decades. They opposed even modest changes like random drug testing, which at the time, were in place at police departments elsewhere.
The police union says they are just advocating for their members allowed for within the current system. But decade-by-decade and bit-by-bit, current federal, state, and local civil oversight systems have too often been co-opted by police unions.
That's why we need Measure 26-217 AND statewide police reforms being advocated by Oregon Senator Lew Fredricks, and federal reforms offered by former Mayor colleague and now US Senator Cory Booker and others.
We all deserve a policing system that reflects our local values and treats everyone fairly, regardless of who they are, and root out prejudice and incompetence. We should reward effective approaches to community safety.
Now it is up to the rest of us to make sure it wins by a large margin so that there is a strong mandate for this change. So, our City Council pushes back on the Portland Police Union's inevitable lawsuits.
Please join me in voting YES on Measure 26-217.
Join me in voting for Ted Wheeler as Portland's Mayor.
Ted complements the smart and fresh outlook of what will be many first-time city commissioners along with the great work of Commissioner Hardesty. He provides the city council a leader with a significant public service background, and hands-on experience with one of Oregon's best and toughest jobs: Portland Mayor. I should know!
Highlights of a few other measures and candidates I support:
Measure 110: Instead of arresting and punishing people for drug addiction, disproportionately harming marginalized communities, we should shift to a health-based approach to addiction, where people have better access to treatment and recovery services. Measure 110 would reduce racial disparities in drug arrests by 95%.
Ballots are due in 5 days! Whether you agree with me or not, your voice matters. Please remember to vote. You can find your nearest ballot drop off at https://multco.us/dropsites.