ON WEDNESDAY, December 10, Portland City Council is expected to take another step down an expensive road that could see hundreds of Portland police officers wearing body cameras at some point next year. Holding more than $800,000 in down payment money, set aside in recent budget discussions, the council's poised to seek competitive bids for a camera program that could cost up to $1 million upfront and up to $750,000 a year ongoing.
That's a big step. But the city still needs to work out terms with the Portland Police Association ["A Different Lens," News, Sept 24]. It also must lobby for two changes in state law: (1) allowing cops to record people with body cameras without first getting their permission, and (2) shielding some of the footage from public records disclosures, to keep reporters and others from having easy access. DENIS C. THERIAULT
MULTNOMAH COUNTY, relatively flush with cash for the time being, has cemented itself as a leader in Portland's ongoing discussions around a $15 minimum wage.
Not only did county commissioners vote Thursday, December 4, to approve a new contract that brings about 150 unionized employees up to that target by 2016, but County Chair Deborah Kafoury immediately took the voluntary step of bringing almost 400 non-unionized temporary and "on-call" workers into the deal as well. The executive decision, spurred on by the county's largest employee union, means interns are the only county employees who won't be guaranteed $15 an hour two years from now.
"I just want to announce that Multnomah County, at the suggestion of [the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees] and Local 88, have decided to enact the same minimum wage increase to employees who are not members of Local 88," Kafoury said to brief applause. "I think we are the first county and the largest public employer in Oregon to adopt a $15 an hour minimum." DIRK VANDERHART