With an unprecedented rise in gun violence in Portland, Oregon in 2021, Democrat mayor Ted Wheeler was under pressure to hire more police to stem the rapidly escalating crime rate, after the city cut $27 million from the police budget last year.
Many of Portland’s black leaders were calling for the city council to increase police spending as most of the violence involved the black community.
Instead, Mayor Wheeler decided to hire unarmed Park Rangers to handle the crisis.
Fox News provides the details:
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler flinched. In the midst of an unprecedented months long surge in gun violence and homicides, Wheeler compromised with the Portland City Council and backed off from his request that the Portland Police Bureau be appropriated $2 million in emergency funding. Instead, Wheeler and the commissioners voted to spend $6 million on grants to community groups already receiving funding and hire 24 park rangers.
“What we’re doing today is starting a pathway towards making sure that we’re investing dollars where they make the most good,” said Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “We’re also at the front end of transforming our police department.”
The Park Rangers will be armed with cans of pepper spray to fight off gun wielding criminals and already two defenceless Rangers were forced to flee after being confronted with a machete wielding attacker.
If the number of homicides and shootings in Portland continues at its current rate, it will shatter the previous record set in 1987. Since the start of 2021, there have been 288 shootings, 25 homicides and 91 gun-related injuries.