After more than a year of negotiations, the city of Portland and the Portland Police Association have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement, according to a statement put out Friday by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Details of the contract are expected to be announced next week, according to the statement.
After pausing negotiations in February 2020 due to the pandemic, the two sides returned to the virtual bargaining table in January 2021. Over the course of five months and 11 sessions they hammered out agreements on details like removing references to outdated computer systems from the contract, rewriting sections to include the bureau’s new unarmed “Public Safety Support Specialists,” and making tweaks to how officers are paid when they work in a position typically reserved for a higher ranking officer.
After 150 days of partially public bargaining, the union elected to take the negotiations to closed door mediation, and that’s where they have remained since. Away from the public eye, the city officials and the union dug in on some of the more contentious issues, such as limits the city wanted to place on officers’ outside employment, revisions to the discipline guide, and the policies that will regulate a yet-to-be-implemented body worn camera system.
The discipline guide was an important step to ensuring police bureau officials and city leaders can effectively hold officers accountable. The current guide is not included in the union contract, which effectively nullified a 2020 state law limiting an arbitrator’s leeway to change how officers have been disciplined. That law requires arbitrators reviewing decisions to rely on department discipline guides — but only so long as those guides were agreed to in bargaining.
On at least one of the issues central to negotiations — body camera policies — Portland and police union negotiators elected to punt on an agreement, saying talks would continue.
The police union has been pushing for a policy known as prereview, which would allow officers to review body cam footage before writing use of force reports. Police accountability watchdogs and the U.S. Department of Justice have pushed for policies requiring officers to write their reports first and, if necessary, provide supplemental statements after viewing the footage.
City Council will hear public testimony on the agreement Feb. 17 and is scheduled to vote on it Feb. 24.