By Daryl Turner, President Portland Police Association
To the Citizens of Portland:
The 900 members of the Portland Police Association are members of a union that advocates for jobs, fair wages, benefits, work conditions, and pensions.Â We are truly, as are you, members of the 99% of Americans that work every day for a living.Â We believe in, and support, the rights of citizens to free speech, including the right to protest and march, as long as it is within the confines of the City, County, and State laws.Â We have sworn an oath to protect the Constitutional rights of all citizens, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or economic background.Â What we cannot do is condone what the Occupy Portland protest has become.Â This protest has become a seemingly open checkbook of taxpayer dollars to pay for an already over-extended Police Bureau.Â Staffing hours and resources have been pushed past the limits of reality.Â Crime, drugs, and health issues plague the two park blocks that the new residents have taken.Â It has already cost the taxpaying citizens of Portland over $200,000 dollars just for Police resources and it will undoubtedly cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up the garbage, damage, and illegal structures that the new residents of the parks will leave behind.
In the past few weeks, Portland Police officers have worked long hours, shown great resolve, and out-performed their duties under seemingly unimaginable circumstances.Â We have responded to the mixed messages of our leaders and have held our heads up through the adversity that we have neither caused nor can control.Â Now, Portland Police officers are being assaulted and threatened by protesters which also puts our citizens at risk.Â We need to be able to do our jobs, and protect the rights and safety of every citizen. Â The Police Commissioner has the ability and the duty to see that this is done.
I am personally calling on you, the other 99% of the citizens of Portland, to have your voices heard.Â The 99% who cannot sit on a park bench and read a book, or have your lunch, or just enjoy a nice autumn day.Â The 99% who has had to avoid what the parks have become while walking to lunch, work, or taking a coffee break.Â The 99% whose children are in area day-care centers who have had to take extra security measures.Â And the 99% who are business owners whose businesses are surviving from month to month in this volatile economy.
You need to contact your City leaders and let them hear from you.Â The 99% who are not violating the trespass laws and camping laws.Â The 99% who are not in violation of park rules and City Codes on structures, food handling, and garbage dumping.Â The 99% who are not costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Police Bureau resources and potentially tensÂ of thousands of dollars in damages to the parks and clean-up cost whenever this is over.Â If the Occupy Portland movement has a message, let it be heard, but not at the cost of taxpayerâ€™s dollars, Police resources, and the damage it has done to the citizens and business owners who are a large majority of the 99%.