This was a short and relatively light week for council, which only met on Wednesday.
The headliner is the report by the Police Commission. This commission is appointed by Council to review policing alternatives, policies and civilians’ responsibilities to achieve a safe community. It is heavy work carried out by eight community members, two city councilors, and two community liaisons from the Human Rights Committee and the Civilian Review Board.
Presented by Police Commission Chair Dallas Boggs and Vice Chair Jensina Hawkins, the report delineated a long list of accomplishments for FY 23. Quite a number reflect concerns that the 2020-21 Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policies recommended for review. These include discussions of pepperball, chemical incapacitants, and de-escalation policies. The commission also formed a subcommittee to review Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness, which will continue to explore the challenges and pathways for ensuring that public safety personnel are in good mental and physical condition to do their work. This is high priority for council and is reflected in budget priorities.
Council finished the Wednesday work session with a brief discussion of their operating agreements. This is a written agreement about how Councilors will conduct their work with each other and the public. We had made some changes in the past few years that had not been formally adopted – containing the length of public forum to 90 minutes, for example. Council will come back in the fall to discuss a few more adjustments to the agreement.
I will close by noting that this week, July 17-21 is Wastewater Utility Appreciation Week. For most of us, wastewater only comes to mind when the system isn’t working – so it is valuable to acknowledge our forward thinking and effective team. This year the Oregon Health Authority is also honoring our Wastewater Utility for their implementation of COVID sampling. Collection of samples – 15,000 statewide – enabled city and tribal administrators and public health authorities know the level of COVID concentration as an important guide to the prevalence of infection.