Portland police consider moving Central Precinct out of downtown core

PPB's Central Precinct in downtown Portland (KATU News photo)

The Portland Police Bureau is exploring relocating its Central Precinct, saying the downtown space has become too crowded.

According to Sgt. Chris Burley, parking and overcrowding are two of the main issues.

"It's extremely cramped. We have over 126 personnel assigned to Central Precinct, and frankly, it's just not built to house that many," Burley said. "What we are looking at is, are there other locations out there that would do better for us than Central Precinct does today?"

One option the bureau is considering is to move the precinct from downtown to the Jerome F. Sears U.S. Army Reserve Center at 2730 SW Multnomah Blvd., which has previously served as a temporary homeless shelter.

They've submitted a budget request for $1.7 million for that move.

"We're trying to find a location where we are available for the community, but also where we can store all of the tools we need including vehicles," Burley said.

Citizen reaction is mixed.

"I think it would be good, I've grown up here since 1969 and I think it would be good," resident James O’Connor said.

Others say they're concerned about removing such a large police presence.

"I would worry that removing the presence from that downtown core would allow more crime to happen where it's already rampant," Emily Logue said.

But Sgt. Burley said the number of officers patrolling downtown will stay the same.

"The police bureau will continue to patrol and be downtown," Burley said.

While nothing is set in stone, the bureau says they have been looking to move Central Precinct for a few years now.

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