The president of the Portland Police Association in Oregon denounced the mayor for his response to the homelessness crisis, calling the public policies in the city a failure.
President Daryl Turner, also a police officer of 27 years, posted a lengthy statement on Facebook in which he said the city currently “has become a cesspool.” Turner listed an array of issues facing the local government and spoke on the declining livability in the city.
“A unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets,” he wrote on July 16. “Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City.”
Turner also made mention of “Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles” that were spread throughout neighborhoods and of “used needles, drug paraphernalia,” now common sights in the area.
“That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve,” he wrote.
His statement comes in the wake of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s recent comments in an interview in which he said he wanted to review arrest data after over half of police arrests last year were found to be of homeless people. Turner said the mayor has thrown Portland officers “under the bus” and that his comments reverted to the rhetoric of profiling by officers.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Gallup poll in February found that liberals outnumbered conservatives in Oregon for the first time. Of the 3,187 respondents, 28 percent said they were conservative and 31 percent identified as liberal. Most respondents, some 36 percent, identified as moderate.
In the final paragraphs of his statement, Turner claimed that the police bureau had “not been given nearly enough resources” for it to address the crisis.
“We are understaffed. Officers are unable to spend the time needed to connect our homeless to necessary services,” Turner said. “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.”