We’re all still dealing with a terrible social hangover from the events of 2020 but no place more so than Portland. Portland defunded the police and tolerated months of street violence by Antifa. Meanwhile, the state of Oregon passed Ballot Measure 110 which decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. The results haven’t been pretty with a rise in violence and drug abuse. There was testimony about the city’s struggles at a City Council meeting today:Jeff Miller, CEO of Travel Portland, says in 2019 hotel occupancy was 85-90% in the summer. Now four years later, occupancy is at 63%. Miller says he believes the decrease in hospitality is linked to drug dealing and usage.After two hours of testimony like that, the progressives who make up the Portland City Council voted unanimously to ban the open use of drugs on the street.
“Most cities rebook 70% of those conventions in Portland. We’ve rebooked 30%. They said we’re not coming back. Portland is too dangerous,” says Miller…
David Friedericks of Portland Fire & Rescue Station 1 says his station alone responded to a total of 76 overdose calls over Labor Day weekend and calls the high volume of calls is disheartening.While there’s already an ordinance to ban drinking alcohol in public, the new ordinance would add controlled substances. Those who violate the ordinance could face a fine up to $500 or spend six months in jail.
So, drinking in street was illegal but shooting up or smoking crack or heroin wasn't.
Even Mayor Ted Wheeler spoke in favor of the ban saying, “Just by virtue of illustrating how important this issue is, the last time I saw somebody consuming what what I believe to be fentanyl publicly on our streets was less than five minutes ago, three blocks from city hall.” But Wheeler is also aware that the new ban may not be legal thanks to Ballot Measure 110:…the new version of the ordinance does not go into effect immediately. Instead it includes a “trigger” amendment, meaning the regulations would go into effect immediately after the Oregon Legislature or the courts change or suspend that statute…The Atlantic published a story in July making the case that Oregon’s experiment with the legalization of hard drugs has been an abject failure.
Paired with the public drug use ordinance before city council on Wednesday was a resolution directing Portland’s Office of Government Relations to lobby for the necessary change to state statute.
They still vote poorly.