As expected, City Council approved the contentious new agreement with the Portland Police Association today. For months, the city and police union battled about whether the talks would be public and then, once they did get down to the negotiating, raises, overtime costs, civilian oversight of the bureau, and drug testing.

Well, today's agreement (download bullet point version) has some compromises and is expected to cost the city at least $5 million over the next three years. The cops won a two percent pay raise starting in July 2011 and bonuses for completing an annual fitness test and having a college degree.

But the big win for the city is this:


Random drug testing, so we can be sure that officers aren't hopped up on steroids or anything else. In another important move, the new deal also allows the bureau to suspend an officer's authority if there's an investigation going on into their behavior. Whether they'll actually USE that authority... well, that's a fight for another day.

More reporting on the police union negotiations here, here and here.

Update: Citizen group Fire Frashour put out a statement on the agreement. They aren't happy—check it out below the cut.

From the Fire Frashour campaign (which, BTW, is "keeping its name in anticipation of officer Ron Frashour's reinstatement"):

Today the Portland City Council approved a new contract with the Portland Police Association, despite outcry from concerned community members. In a statement to City Council, the Fire Frashour Campaign urged them “to reject this contract and to stand with Portlanders who are tired of mistreatment, abuse, harassment, and murder at the hands of the police.”

Members of the campaign specifically urged Council to reject the arbitration clause of the contract, pointing to its use in undermining discipline in police misconduct cases.

In a surprising admission, City Council member Dan Saltzman, stated: "I share . . . the Fire Frashour Campaign's frustration" with the arbitration clause. But Saltzman and fellow Council member Nick Fish asserted that the Council is powerless in the matter as arbitration is mandated by state law.

"The Portland City Council excels at dodging responsibility," Fire Frashour Campaign member Kathryn Cates replied. "The arbitration clause is unacceptable. Whatever constraints the negotiators face, the Council should have voted down any proposal that maintained this murderous loophole."

City labor negotiations spokesman Steve Herron responds (echoing the commissioners) that heading to arbitration is a state-mandated process, not something the city can change. "Opposition to that process is something that is beyond our discretion to deal with," says Herron.