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City council members in the liberal bastion of Portland, Oregon, decided this week to address a recent surge in gun violence not by increasing the city's police presence — but by doubling the number of unarmed park rangers on patrol.
There have been more than 250 shootings in Portland since the start of 2021 — up from just 111 during the same time period last year. Feeling pressure from the community to do something, on Wednesday, the city council decided to throw $6 million at the problem.
But according to the newly issued ordinance, none of that money is slated to go to the Portland Police Bureau. Instead, the council plans to give $4 million to various community outreach groups and $1.4 million to the city's Park Ranger Program to combat the gun violence.
With the money, an additional 24 additional rangers will be hired to "provide a positive, unarmed community safety presence in Portland's parks and surrounding neighborhoods." The new hires will double the regular size of the program.
"Park Rangers are not sworn law enforcement officers," the council stated. But they do have the authority to issue citations for park rule violations, which reportedly range from vandalism to carrying weapons.
Today, City Council passed a $6 million plan to stop gun violence in Portland. We're working to keep Portland neigh… https://t.co/XMlalprcpq— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@Mayor Ted Wheeler)1617841120.0
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