After former Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw left her position for a position in Philadelphia, Chief Jami Resch was sworn in on Dec. 31 in a private ceremony. Resch was appointed by Mayor Ted Wheeler the day after Outlaw’s departure, according to OPB, and on Monday held her first press conference since becoming chief. Having worked in the Portland Police Bureau since 1999, the conference gave Resch the opportunity to introduce herself to local media, as well as address some of the challenges PPB is facing. Since being sworn in, the speed at which Resch was promoted was criticized by some, since Outlaw had only been hired after a national search, according to The Oregonian.
Portland’s City Council voted unanimously to approve a new contract to clean up houseless camps in the city. The contract allows Portland to pay up to $4.5 million to Rapid Response Bio Clean, a hazardous waste removal company, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. While Portland has worked with the company since 2016, the new contract expands the company’s responsibilities—cleaning waste from houseless camps, asking campers who have received a prior warning to disperse, and under the new contract, training in non-violent conflict resolution and carrying Naloxone to treat drug overdoses. While the contract was pulled from the agenda the previous month over advocate’s concerns over the effects of clean-ups on the homeless population, the company ultimately resumed its work.
Portland City Council held its first meeting since Commissioner Nick Fish’s death on Jan. 2. Fish was posthumously appointed council president, a rotating position among the commissioners which he’d been next in line for. The council shared their memories of working with him and held a moment of silence in his honor. The council also voted to set a special election for Fish’s seat on May 19, coinciding with municipal primary elections, according to The Oregonian. Run-offs, if needed, will take place on Aug. 11. 4 out of 5 seats will be voted on in the upcoming election—Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly are running for re-election, while Commissioner Amanda Fritz is retiring from her position.