A woman complaining about the alleged bad behavior of one of Portland Patrol, Inc.'s (PPI) downtown rent-a-cops has written to City Commissioner Erik Sten asking him to advocate for more oversight of the private officers.
Regina Hannon says that on August 9, the armed PPI officer, Philip Goodfellow, told a passerby that a group of protestors on the street outside the Arlington Club on SW Salmon "should be shot." The protest was over a presentation by one of President Bush's trade advisors, an event organized by the Portland Business Alliance (PBA)—which also happens to pay for PPI services to the tune of $1.57 million a year.
When Hannon asked Goodfellow why he had said that—and told him she intended to report him—he allegedly responded by wiping his eyes, pretending to cry, and saying, "Boo hoo, I'm so scared."
Goodfellow—a retired Portland police officer whose name appears as a defendant in two civil rights suits against the City of Portland in the 1980s, both of which were unsuccessful—is also alleged to have mocked the protestors by examining his hands when a protestor said the US's free trade agreements with Korea and Panama meant "having blood on your hands." He has been an armed guard at PPI since December 2005.
PPI officers patrol downtown Portland focusing on "order maintenance issues." Many of them carry guns, but there is no independent oversight of their activities ["Trust Me, I'm a Rent-a-Cop," Feature, May 3].
Last week, the mayor's office finally received a written PPI complaints procedure from the PBA—which involves requesting a business card from the officer in question—but homeless activists like Street Roots Director Israel Bayer say it is "not enough."
In the meantime, Hannon has written to Commissioner Erik Sten, city council's chief homeless advocate, imploring him to get involved in the issue.
"Erik does not disagree with the philosophical need for more oversight for PPI," says Sten's staffer Jamaal Folsom. "Our top priority is getting homeless people off the streets and into housing, but this is an important issue that we'll continue to track."
Meanwhile, Hannon says she has arranged to sit down with PPI boss John Hren to discuss her complaint on Wednesday, August 22. Neither Hren, the PBA, nor the mayor's office had returned the Mercury's calls for comment on the complaint as of press time.
"Hren asked me what I would like to happen," says Hannon, who spoke with PPI's head on Tuesday. "And I told him, this isn't between me and Goodfellow, but about oversight and accountability for his firm."