The high cost of defending Police Chief Mike Reese's dismissal of Ron Frashour—the officer who shot an unarmed Aaron Campbell in the back with an assault rifle last year—is about to climb even higher.

The city attorney's office—in the midst of a months-long arbitration process over whether Frashour should get his job back—is asking the Portland City Council for an additional $150,000 from the police general fund. That would bring the total cost to $400,000. And the request is expected to be approved Wednesday. It's on the council's consent agenda, a.k.a. the part of the agenda that gets approved at the start of city council meetings with little to no discussion.

I've got a call into the city attorney's office for comment to check out one interesting possibility: Whether the added costs officially make arbitration in the Campbell shooting the most expensive in city history.

One reason: the case is intensely complex. Although Frashour's dismissal will take up most of the time set aside for arbitration, the Portland Police Association also is contesting two-week suspensions handed out to three other cops in the shooting: Officer Ryan Lewton, whose beanbag shot at Campbell may have led Frashour to fire, and Sergeants Liani Reyna and John Birkinbine, disciplined by the chief for a failure to communicate.

But there might be another reason. Because the city is simultaneously defending itself and the four officers involved in a federal civil rights suit filed by Campbell's family—even as it justifies disciplining them in front of a labor arbitrator—it has outsourced the work to an outside law firm. In this case, it's the Portland office of Littler Mendelson, a sprawling national firm that specializes in employment issues.

And, um, they're not exactly cheap, I'm told. Jennifer Nelson, one of the attorneys handling the arbitration for Littler Mendelson, did not return a call seeking comment.