Portland City Council holds hearing on mayor's proposed protest ordinance

MayDay PDX protest - KATU image taken 5-1-2017 by Tristan Fortsch

PORTLAND, Ore. – City councilors are holding their first public hearing Thursday evening on Mayor Ted Wheeler's "protest ordinance" aimed at managing potentially violent protests.

The ordinance gives the police commissioner (currently Wheeler) the power to limit when and where groups can protest if they were violent in the past.

The ordinance cites seven specific demonstrations in Portland since 2017 that led to violent confrontations between groups of protesters, or protesters and police.

They are not scheduled to vote on the ordinance at Thursday’s hearing.

Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw weighed in during the public hearing, which is scheduled to last until about 5 p.m. Thursday at Portland City Hall.

“We've tried the same old tactics. It's not working. It's time to try something new. That's what you hired us to do," Chief Outlaw said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU) and some Portlanders are strong critics of the proposed ordinance, saying they believe it gives too much power to police and may infringe on protesters First Amendment rights to free speech.

Below is the full testimony from the ACLU of Oregon:

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