• Rev. Kate Lore

A Black Lives Matter banner hanging from the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland since just after police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has a new neighbor: A billboard displaying the message, "Having Enough Police Matters," that went up Tuesday on the next block.

Reverend Kate Lore, the social justice minister at First Unitarian, 1211 SW Main, says the billboard went up yesterday. It's location is about a half block down from the church, facing 12th Ave, between Salmon and Taylor streets.

  • Photo courtesy of Reverend Kate Lore

Lore says First Unitarian is the only Portland church displaying a Black Lives Matter banner and says "no one has ever seen this billboard in other places around Portland," leading to some speculation about whether the location is coincidental or not.

In a press release issued today, PPA says this billboards like this "are going up throughout the City of Portland today." PPA President Daryl Turner did not respond to a request for comment from the Mercury.

Update, 3:42 pm: The PPA got back to us! Well, a communications professional that's helping the union out with its new campaign did. Stacey Dycus said she sees absolutely no reason why anyone would connect the "Black Lives Matter" banner to the "Having Enough Police Matters" sign down the block, and asked the Mercury to explain. We did, citing the fact that Turner has blamed various movements around the country—movements not unlike the Black Lives Matter effort—as causing a "culture of hatred toward law enforcement nationwide." Dycus said there was no connection.

"No one has seen the billboards because the campaign is brand new starting this week," Dycus said. "The locations were selected at random based on availability form the billboard company."


"What's interesting is that our church has been visited by haters who show up with their awful words and their ugly T-shirts the last three Sundays," Lore says. "We've asked for police help but they've never come."

Lore says the "haters" arrive in the form of "anti-gay, anti-female clergy" protesters who yell and "hate our Black Lives Matter banner." Last Sunday a single man showed up who frightened the congregation, said Lore, enough that they requested police assistance.

The Portland Police Association (PPA), the labor union that represents Portland's rank-and-file cops, began a "Having Enough Police Matters" online petition in response to what the association says is an understaffed police force. The petition asks Mayor Charlie Hales to increase funding to the Portland Police Bureau, claiming that, based on the city's population, the force is 728 officers short.

“Inadequate staffing in the Police Bureau is hurting our communities and putting all of us at risk," Turner wrote in the press release. "Nothing is more basic to the livability of a city than public safety. We need City Council to take immediate action to fix this critical staffing shortage. Our City and our officers deserve better.”