Thursday in Portland: Mayor Wheeler pledges support for PPB amid increase in crime and more

Emily Scarvie
(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Sept. 1 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Mayor Wheeler pledges support for Portland police amid spike in crime

During a Portland City Council meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city cannot choose between strengthening its police bureau and holding officers accountable. His remarks came after Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell presented PPB’s 2021 report.

The annual report touched on the highest volume of car thefts in city history, a record number of homicides and more. He also mentioned that since July 2020, 229 sworn officers have retired or resigned from the bureau. Lovell said the city has hired 37 officers and seven Public Safety Support Specialists, but the backlog at the state academy means it could be awhile before those officers are on the streets.

“First responders need the tools, the resources, the training [and] the personnel to do their jobs effectively and safely,” Wheeler said. “The reason that so many of our firefighters and police officers are so burned out is we’re asking them to do too much with the number of people we have on the streets. We’re asking way too much of them.”

The remarks by Wheeler are a departure from the summer of 2020, when the city council voted to approve cutting $15 million in funding from the police bureau, eliminating 84 positions. Portland Police Association president Sgt. Aaron Schmautz said he appreciates the mayor’s current approach.

2. Multnomah County asking Portland Freedom Fund for $18K after group bailed out accused murderer

Just a week after Portland Freedom Fund bailed out a man accused of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend, he’s now accused of her murder. Mohamed Adan, 33, is accused of killing 36-year-old Rachael Angel Abraham. Officials ruled her cause of death as homicide by strangulation.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is now asking the Portland Freedom Fund, which bailed Adan out of jail twice, for the remaining $18,000 in bail.

Portland Freedom Fund told KOIN, “the court had deemed [Adan] eligible for bail release and he was referred to us as a financial provider for two small children with a letter of community support. Along with support he was receiving from the community, we were in contact with Mr. Adan throughout the time between his release and re-arrest and did not receive any indications for concern.”

Adan has been charged with second-degree murder. He was charged with domestic violence in May, and strangulation a month later.

3. Portland homelessness tax houses over 1,600 people in first year

Thanks to a new Portland area homelessness tax, more than 1,600 people have been moved from homelessness into housing since July 2021, and another 9,200 have received support to avoid homelessness. These were people in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

The Metro Supportive Housing Fund, approved by voters and passed in May 2020, comes from incremental taxes on high-income earners and large businesses.

So far, 1,129 people have been housed in Multnomah County, 340 in Washington County and 170 in Clackamas County, They’ve also opened 514 new year-round shelter beds.

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