ORLA and Portland area members met on September 14 for a follow up meeting to the Hotel and Restaurant Safety Summit held downtown earlier this summer in August. Multnomah County Commissioners, the Multnomah District Attorney, Multnomah County Sheriff’s office, Portland City Mayor’s office and Portland Police Bureau were in attendance to answer questions.
It was presented that Downtown Portland Clean & Safe and the Portland Metro Chamber have gathered support and funds to increase safety through a Downtown Hotel Security District. The plan was pulled together in response to significant crime and safety concerns and a need for action. The funding will provide Downtown Clean & Safe the ability to add two additional patrol shifts and eight additional public safety coordinators to the already existing public safety staff who are responding in the area. The additional coordinators will patrol two defined hospitality zones, seven days a week. The Hotel Security District covers the concentration of the central city’s hotels and tourism activities. Safety personnel will focus on the hotels in the area, responding to calls for service among usual patrol duties.
As we are aware, the long-term recovery of Portland depends on bringing people back downtown and the hospitality industry plays a critical role. Tourism and hotels support a wide nexus of other businesses and are an important economic driver in the area. The plan was created as a step to ensure that residents, employees and Portland visitors feel safe, while being a support system for economic recovery in downtown.
Who’s funding this? The Hotel Security District is a public-private partnership, with funding from:
These resources will fund operations for one year of enhanced security services.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and Multnomah County Board Chair Jessicia Vega Pederson who were in attendance both expressed the necessity of this partnership and plan. Jean-Marc Jalbert (Royal Sonesta) shared concerns of the effectiveness of the hotel safety district but acknowledged the need and shared gratitude for the progress being made. Lisa Schroeder (Mother's Bistro) asked if there was a way to bring back a sobering center for the Portland Police Bureau to use again. Since 2020 this facility hasn’t been a resource the PPB can use. Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran seconded Schroeder’s comment that the Police do need a sobering center again and encouraged continued advocacy for this facility. Vega Pederson mentioned that the county jails lost 218 beds due to lack of funding from the state this last year, meanwhile herself and the other members of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners recently increased the budget for jails by $4M with hopes to help offset the loss.
There will be a follow up to this meeting in the months to come to take a pulse on how the new hotel security district is going. To mark progress and impact, Downtown Clean & Safe will collect feedback and testimony from downtown hotels and businesses in the district.
Other Portland News...
Portland City Council Passes Tax Incentive to Bring Businesses Back Downtown
Upcoming Portland Lodging Alliance Meeting
Upcoming Portland Kitchen Cabinet Meeting
Stay tuned on the work and progress that is being made within the city by following this blog. If you have any questions, or wish to get involved in ORLA's leadership teams in Portland, please reach out to me at MMarineau@OregonRLA.org. | Makenzie Marineau
ORLA members wanting to get involved in a Portland area Regional Leadership Team should contact Makenzie Marineau, Government Affairs and Regional Leadership Teams Coordinator.
Makenzie Marineau is the Government Affairs and Regional Leadership Teams Coordinator for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. This Portland-focused blog intends to highlight the good news and work being done in Portland by ORLA and our leadership teams.