The president of the Portland Police Association posted a lengthy statement on Facebook on Monday in which he slammed the city’s mayor for his response to the homelessness crisis, saying Oregon’s largest city has “become a cesspool.”
Officer Daryl Turner — who has been a police officer for 27 years — wrote, “Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City. Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles are strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Used needles, drug paraphernalia, and trash are common sights lining the streets and sidewalks of the downtown core area, under our bridges, and freeway overpasses. That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve.”
Turner said further that Mayor Ted Wheeler uses “rhetoric to smokescreen his own failed policies,” referring to Wheeler’s comment that, when told of the high number of arrests of homeless people, the police have “some sort of implicit bias.”
“The Portland Police Bureau has not been given nearly enough resources to fulfill its small piece in addressing the homelessness crisis,” Turner wrote. “We are understaffed. Officers are unable to spend the time needed to connect our homeless to necessary services, whether it be housing, mental health services, drug rehabilitation, or other resources. It’s a recipe for failure to put the burden of the homelessness solution on the Police Bureau’s shoulders and then give us insufficient resources to do the work.”
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