Today was supposed to be the deadline for a settlement between the city and the US Department of Justice over findings that the Portland Police Bureau uses excessive force against people perceived to have mental illness.
But both sides announced today that they need more time to comb through a host of sticky issues underlying any reform plan—including training, Taser policies, staffing levels, a plan to create a 24-hour drop-off center for people in crisis, and what kind of enforcement mechanism will be included. As for how much more time? No one's saying.
UPDATE 1:35 PM: Mayor Sam Adams made it known on Twitter and Facebook a few minutes ago that the new hoped-for deadline is Monday, October 22. "Discussions productive w/DOJ but we need week," quoth one of his tweets.
Here's what the local US Attorney's Office said:
The Department of Justice and the City of Portland continue to engage in productive settlement negotiations geared towards reaching a final agreement that resolves the Department’s findings concerning the Portland Police Bureau. Although both parties’ goal was to have reached agreement by Friday, October 12, 2012, more time is needed to address all of the issues previously provided in the Statement of Intent on September 13, 2012, while also considering the array of comments and input we received from the public. Once a negotiated agreement is reached, it will be presented to City Council and made publicly available by the City. Upon approval of City Council, the agreement will be filed in Federal District Court.
The O caught up with Mayor Sam Adams at this morning's gang violence task force meeting, where he said budget constraints—as in, I'm guessing, how to pay for things like a mental health desk and citywide mobile crisis units—are also part of the discussion.
"That's been taking a lot of my time," Adams told the paper.