Curious... Mayor Charlie Hales' calendar for tomorrow has space reserved for a "public safety" press conference.
And it looks like he'll be joining the federal Department of Justice and the Portland Police Association for some kind of progress update—if not a formal, final deal—in a dispute over how to settle accusations that Portland cops have engaged in a "pattern and practice" of using excessive force against the mentally ill.
Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, declined to comment on the nature of the press conference. Daryl Turner, president of the PPA, also declined to comment. And the DOJ, as far as I can tell, has yet to make any announcements. But no one also told me I was wrong.
Honestly, it's not much of a stretch. Especially following a post by Willamette Week last Friday that said some kind of announcement was imminent—although that post had said the day might be Monday, which is when the mayor was traveling back from China not available for major announcements.
Is it a glowing progress report? Or a final deal? That's less clear. The city and union have differences about several police reform provisions put forward by the feds in a settlement agreement signed by the city last year. The biggest include a tighter Taser policy, the addition of a discipline matrix pairing misconduct with clear consequences, and rules spelling out, and a discipline requirement that cops, when they use force, begin to articulate their rationale for using it.
An attempt to hash those differences out in mediation bogged down this summer, prompting threats of a bench trial next year.
It's also unclear if the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, another party in the case, will attend. Their attorney, Ashlee Albies, was out of town and won't be back at work until tomorrow.