But, that was apparently a mistake, even though the mayor wasn’t home.
Police have “systematically” started the removal of these anarchists from the streets.
The cuts to the police’s $245 million overall budget were passed by a 3-1 vote, although some protesters had been urging city officials to reduce the department’s spending package for the 2020-2021 fiscal year by up to $50 million.
The money saved by eliminating a gun violence reduction team, school resource officers and transit division will now be redirected to social service programs.
“Never in my life would I have imagined that we or any government would be able to cut that much significant resources out of a police budget,” Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty – one of the yes votes – was quoted by Oregon Live as saying. Wheeler, who is also the city’s police commissioner, also voted yes, the newspaper added.
Hardesty also said the demand for $50 million in cuts was “based on nothing” and that the public should “celebrate this incredible moment that we’re in.”
Chloe Eudaly, the lone commissioner to vote no on the cuts, said they weren’t deep enough.
Dozens of people pushing for the more expansive cuts had protested outside of Wheeler’s apartment ahead of the vote, with organizers telling KATU that they wanted to make sure the mayor knew how the public felt.
Yet Oregon Live reports that nobody was home at the time, as Wheeler was already at City Hall. The push for $50 million in cuts ultimately appeared to fall short with city officials.
And despite the cuts that have been approved, the budget for the Portland Police Bureau has been on the rise in recent years.
The department’s budget was $215 million in 2017, before rising to $232 million and $242 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, according to Oregon Live.
This new budget for the police will now be just under $230 million.
Yet, last night, video of police rounding up and herding ‘protestors’ off the streets popped up on social media.
— roberto pedone (@zerosum24) June 18, 2020
The Portland People’s Autonomous Region was also established, and the autonomous region was built outside the mayor’s house. pic.twitter.com/mdZmbda4Iu
— NWCorps 西北野战军 (@NWCorps) June 18, 2020
Antifa in Portland has occupied the neighborhood where Mayor Ted Wheeler lives and have declared it an autonomous zone. They've set up barricades and police are choosing not to respond. You hate to see it. pic.twitter.com/5XJsaAgr6g
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 18, 2020
Unlike Seattle, Portland is still trying to create an autonomous zone, but with police still working here, it’s hasn’t happened yet! ANTIFA sure is good at vulgar tirades directed at cops though! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/BxdAcSWJPI
— Shawnasaurus Rex (@ShawnG927) June 18, 2020
It seems that Portland, at least, wants to straddle the fence… giving in to anarchists demands—sort of—while also taking back control of the city.