Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Trail Blazers fire GM Neil Olshey, PPB concerned about increase in private security downtown

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, Dec. 3 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland Trail Blazers fire GM Neil Olshey following investigation

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Friday that General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has been fired effective immediately “due to violations of the Portland Trail Blazers’ Code of Conduct.” Olshey had been under investigation based on complaints regarding workplace environment at the team’s practice facility.

“Out of respect for those who candidly participated in that privileged investigation, we will not release or discuss it,” the team wrote in a statement. “We are confident that these changes will help build a more positive and respectful working environment.”

While the team looks for a permanent replacement for Olshey, Joe Cronin, the team’s director of player personnel, has been promoted to interim general manager.

2. Public safety concerns arise as more downtown businesses hire private security

Amid a staffing shortage in the Portland Police Bureau, many businesses downtown have hired private security companies to protect their storefronts, raising concerns among law enforcement that this is hurting public safety more than helping.

“With anything that isn’t law enforcement, if the problem gets to a place where law enforcement is needed then law enforcement is needed,” Aaron Schmautz, the president of the Portland Police Association, told FOX 12. “If they’re called to a situation that has become escalated, their options are limited.”

According to Schmautz, officers are trained to de-escalate situations but it’s often too late when they’re responding to an incident where a private guard is already present. Additionally, private guards are held to different standards of accountability.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said private security needs to be held to a rigorous standard, writing in a statement, “While I believe that the use of private security firms can fill an important role in maintaining the safety of our businesses, this belief is conditioned on those firms demonstrating their true commitment to the safety and dignity of everyone with whom they interact.”

3. TriMet reducing service next year due to staffing shortages

Due to staffing shortages, TriMet will reduce bus service levels by about 9% starting on Jan. 9, bringing service back to levels adopted in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said it’s “the most significant operator shortfall in agency history.”

“We apologize to our riders as we would much rather be expanding service, but by taking this step we increase the schedule reliability so riders experience less canceled or late buses,” TriMet officials said in a statement.

Riders can learn more about the changes here.

4. Oregon Judicial Department warning of missed jury duty scam

Oregonians are being warned of a new scam threatening fines, prosecution or jail time due to missed jury duty. The Oregon Judicial Department says the scam typically appears in the form of a phone call, text or email and those on the receiving end are being pressured to provide personal information like credit card numbers, bank account information or social security numbers. The scam was most recently reported in the Willamette Valley but OJD expects it’s occurring across the state.

According to OJD, if you receive a call, text or email asking for confidential information, do not provide any. Try to get the caller’s name and number and then reach out to local law enforcement with the information.

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