Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced at a news conference Tuesday at Kell’s Irish Restaurant and Pub in downtown Portland that the police department is reconfiguring entertainment details. Wheeler’s Safer Summer As part of the PDX Gun Violence Reduction Initiative, Wheeler also said some downtown streets will be closed to vehicular traffic on weekend nights.
“Once we came out of the pandemic, the old town crowds returned in the tens of thousands,” Wheeler said. “What we’re really trying to do is close down lanes and streets to give people the elbow space they need to move around more freely.”
The team, made up of six officers and one sergeant, focused on downtown nightlife, disbanded during the pandemic.
Wheeler was joined by Lieutenant Jim Crooker of the Portland Police Department, Chief of Community Safety, Mike Myers, and local business owners.
Concern about crime and non-residents was the reason downtown business owners hired Echelon Private Security in 2021, sparking controversy over the group’s invasive tactics and lack of oversight.
“Empty sidewalks and empty storefronts provoke bad behavior,” says Society Hotel owner Jesse Burke. “It tells others that we’re not paying attention.”
New details start Thursday.