Portland Spends $8 Million Responding to Anti-Police Riots

Oregon state police respond to protests in Portland / Getty Images
October 1, 2020

The Portland Police Bureau spent nearly $8 million to respond to protests and riots this summer, as protesters in Portland continue their push to defund the police, KATU News reported Wednesday. 

The police bureau spent $7 million alone on pay and benefits for officers responding to the nightly riots, which broke out in late May and, in Portland, continued for over 100 straight nights. Those demonstrating have repeatedly called on city officials to pass police reform legislation and to slash funding to the city’s police department. 

Throughout the summer, rioters wreaked havoc in Portland, launching explosives at government buildings and setting fire to local police precincts. Though Mayor Ted Wheeler (D.) said his approach to quelling the violence was to just let it "burn itself out," he told his neighbors in August that he planned on moving due to the repeated riots outside of his own condo. 

In Portland, police overtime pay increased 200 percent in June and July compared with the same time period last year. The police department paid officers who responded to the riots $5.3 million in overtime alone from June through mid-August. Prior to the riots, PPB had only spent $4.5 million in police overtime pay in 2020. 

Anti-police protests broke out across the country in May following the death of George Floyd. In Portland, these protests became violent nightly riots. The Justice Department labeled Portland, as well as Seattle and New York, "anarchist jurisdictions" last week for failing to quell the violence and for moving to defund their police departments.