‘Paying the Piper’: Portland Public Safety Commish Emphasizes Damages of ‘Justice Reforms’

‘Paying the Piper’: Portland Public Safety Commish Emphasizes Damages of ‘Justice Reforms’

By Stephen Owsinski

After the weekend stats were in regarding calls heeded by first responders, on Monday, October 2, 2023, Portland Public Safety Commissioner Rene Gonzalez publicly requested that people refrain from calling 9-1-1 unless life-and-death circumstances were present.


“Our 911 system is getting hammered this morning with a multiple-person incident — multiple overdoses in northwest park blocks,” declared Rene Gonzalez on Monday. “Please do not call 911 except in event of life/death emergency or crime in progress (or chance of apprehending suspect). For non-emergency please use 503-823-3333.”

I hate to sound snarky but, really, who didn’t see that coming?

Largely, the purpose for dialing 9-1-1 is common sense but the drug-decriminalizing city apparently didn’t have enough foresight that addicts’ liberal use of narcotics potentially results in overdoses, thus folks calling the hotline for exponential emergencies such as this.

According to a report published in News Nation, “Gonzalez told ‘On Balance’ host Leland Vittert that Portland’s 911 systems are swamped and something has to be done.”

“Our 911 systems are overwhelmed right now. So, we’ve got to confront this crisis head-on … We need to take a strong stand in Portland,” Gonzalez candidly stated.

Compared to the police-hating public safety commissioner he dethroned, Mr. Gonzalez is a breath of fresh air…

An excerpt from Gonzalez’s .gov bio indicates he “believes that Portland should be a safe and livable city that works for all, no exceptions,” and that “His office is committed to confronting our toughest challenges while working to build a positive, unifying vision for the future.”

Some cynics may interpret that as pure politi-speak —words without actions— but granting the benefit of the doubt is prudent in an environment rife with anti-cop riptides and defund-the-police noise spiraling the metropolis into utter chaos, with city streets exhibiting damnation and urban blight. Portland police know this with certainty.

Measure 110, which effectively decriminalized many offenses having to do with possessing controlled substances, was passed by Oregon voters in November 2020.

Via the Oregon Judicial Department: “Measure 110 reduced the penalties for most PCS offenses from a felony or misdemeanor to a new Class E violation, punishable with a $100 maximum fine. Effective February 1, 2021, most PCS offenses are punishable only by a fine – no jail, supervision, or other criminal penalties can be imposed.” Mindboggling, isn’t it?

Indeed, Nostradamus was not needed for predictions of what would happen after Measure 110 was approved for the judicial reform game plan.

Almost three years in…and the Piper is banging at the door.

Reporter Caitlyn Shelton wrote, “While jail time is down, overdose deaths in the state have skyrocketed.”

And the beat goes on…

From the Portland Police blotter: “On Monday, October 2, 2023, Central Precinct Officers, along with Portland Fire & Rescue, responded to the area of Northwest Couch Street and Northwest Park Avenue on reports of multiple overdoses. Officers found eight people who had overdosed after ingesting a powder likely laced with fentanyl. Four of the victims were transported to the hospital and their conditions are unknown. The four other victims refused transport to the hospital.”


Acknowledging the epidemic head on, Mr. Gonzalez took to the airwaves to set the crooked record on a straight path to redemption:

“[…] voters were sold on [the factor] That we were decriminalizing addiction, that we would stand up substantial, state-level addiction services that just didn’t come about. I think that was the surprise,” Gonzalez said. “What was predictable is that Measure 110 would attract certain elements to the city that were looking for that lifestyle, and as a city, we’re taking a hard stand increasingly to push back on that now.”

The public safety commish continued: “You know, the combination of Measure 110 and the 9th Circuit law on outdoor camping has really tied the city’s hands to address these issues. Frankly, we were probably too tolerant and accepting as a city even without those things on some of these behaviors that really destroy livability for everyone else,” Gonzalez said.

He added some punctuated points you will find interesting, saying, “It’s going to take multiple steps to fix. There’s no two ways about it, and you need all levels of government working in the same direction. We’ve been pushing certain forms of judicial reforms for the last decade in the state and in our county. We’re now paying the piper for that. Some well-intentioned things have had some really negative impacts .”


Forgive me for repeating a line from above but…Portland police know this with certainty.

Anyone can imagine the officers of the Portland Police Bureau are exhausted (yet still showing up)

Family Focus

Respecting Mr. Gonzalez’s candor and moral compass, he envisions a return to traditional values, especially family-focused virtues, as the core to regenerate his city’s future…something Portland cops have been aware of “since dirt was young” (quote borrowed from Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz).

Here is what Commissioner Gonzalez outlined in his blueprint to (ahem) return to normalcy:

“We need to recenter families and entrepreneurs and those who build organizations in our policy discussions. We focus too much sometimes on the user, on the migratory homeless in defining who we should be building government around. So, that’s the big reset, that we need to center those who contribute and are just looking for a good place to live.”

With that, the Oregon state police are being tasked with endeavors that will likely have positive effects on Portland’s wishes for its future.

Recently, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek put money where her mouth is…for state police to engage the scourge of fentanyl and its fallout, namely overdose deaths.

On September 26, 2023, Gov. Kotek announced “Immediate Action on Fentanyl Enforcement at Portland Central City Task Force Meeting,” detailing initiatives to be taken by state cops.

On the matter, Oregon State Police Superintendent Casey Codding had this to say: “The terrible impacts of fentanyl here in Oregon are plain to see. The Oregon State Police is steadfastly committed to stopping its distribution and increased use in our communities through proactive interdiction and enforcement, and through collaboration with community, public health, education, and public safety partners.”

Paralleling the mindset and words of Portland Public safety Commissioner Gonzalez, the Oregon State Police superintendent noted “proactive interdiction and enforcement” via collaboration with “public safety partners.”

Both figureheads drive the point of working together, something cops Anywhere, USA embrace. It is a necessity in the criminal justice ecosystem for each component to not drop the torch being passed after constitutional segments are satisfied and links are firmly coupled to see justice through to the end, on behalf of victims who may have grown weary of antithetical district attorneys handing out hallmarks to criminals.

Working together is only as good as the statutes legislated as safeguards in environments populated by a majority whose constitutional rights are not subjugated by leaders prone to diapering thugs with personal problems…at the former’s expense.

Back to basics in Portland? To be duplicated by other jurisdictions who foolishly went the same foreseeable route? We shall see…

“Remember how helpless we felt as our neighborhoods burned and our Officers were assaulted?” That is a comment made on behalf of Portland and its Police Bureau cops, specifically referring to the mobs who torched the City of Roses and battered its law enforcement officers despite valiant efforts to instill law and order principles. And here we are, hoping for those principles to restore the value to a city, any city.