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2 Arrested At Portland City Hall During Protests Over Police Contract


Protesters who oppose a labor deal with the Portland police union shut down a City Council meeting Wednesday.
 
Mayor Charlie Hales ended the meeting after people repeatedly interrupted and ignored his calls for order. A dozen or so police officers arrived shortly after.
 
Two people who refused to leave the council chamber were arrested for trespassing, but most of the protesters, with the group Don’t Shoot PDX, were left alone by the police.

The council is scheduled to vote on the police union contract, which raises officer pay, next week. Protesters say the mayor didn’t drive a hard enough bargain with the police union on accountability issues, and are calling on the council not to ratify the deal.

“We will definitely be here next week,” said Micah Rhodes, a Don’t Shoot PDX organizer. “We are still firmly against the collective bargaining agreement. We are still maintaining the fact that if they do vote and sign on the collective bargaining agreement, it is a misrepresentation of what the people want”

Hales said he has rescheduled the council’s conversation about the police union contract for 1 p.m. Thursday. He intends to limit access to the meeting: Only credentialed members of the press and people who formerly signed up to testify will be allowed in council chambers.

“By order of Mayor Hales, the presiding officer of the Portland City Council, due to continued disruption of the council meeting, the meeting of October 5, 2016 will be reconvened tomorrow at 1:00 pm in a room where public access will be limited,” read an order handed out by the mayor’s staff.

The council hearing will be live streamed and available to watch on the city’s website.

Tracy Reeve, the city attorney, said she believes the procedures comply with Oregon’s public meeting law.

“Obviously this isn’t a permanent change in how the city will is going to be able to conduct public meetings. It’s some limited changes to practices, in order to address some particular circumstances council’s been facing,” she said.

The protests also disrupted the first reading of a tax proposal introduced by Commissioner Steve Novick, who’s facing challenger Chloe Eudaly in the November election.

Novick has proposed creating a tax penalty for companies that pay their top executives more than 100 times what their median workers earn.

The mayor’s staff said that proposal would also be rescheduled, and that the public would be allowed to testify on it.
 
“That will be opened up for normal city business, assuming we’re able to conduct normal city business in a public way,” said Tara Pierce, Hales’ chief of staff.


UPDATES

7:20 p.m. This article has been updated with quotes from Don’t Shoot PDX, details about the protest and information about when the council will reconvene.

This article was originally published at 12:12 p.m.

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