Portland City Center

Mounted patrol to be saved thanks to community donations

Mounted patrol to be saved thanks to community donations

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Once in jeopardy because of looming city budget cuts, the Portland Police Bureau's mounted patrol has been saved, thanks to donations from boosters.

Friends of Mounted Patrol has promised to donate $200,000 per year to keep the program alive -- at least for another two years, said Dana Haynes, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Hales made the announcement about the horse patrol Tuesday afternoon in a budget updates meeting.

As part of the plan, Portland police said they will reassign officers on the mounted patrol to other divisions of the police bureau, resulting in a smaller patrol.

The move will mean the horse patrol will no longer be part of the mayor's budget, but covered by community donations.

Hales announced earlier this month the need to make cuts in the city's budget to address a $21.5 shortfall.

Portland's mounted patrol is often used in controlling large crowds and was useful, proponents say, in ending the Occupy Portland protest in 2011.

Fire bureau budget

Haynes said the mayor and Portland Fire and Rescue Chief Erin Janssens also agreed on a revised budget where all Portland fire companies will maintain four-person emergency response crews.

Under the first draft of the budget, some of those crews were slated to be replaced by two-person crews in so-called "rapid response vehicles," which are much smaller than fire trucks.

Janssens argued the importance of keeping the four-person crews, Haynes said. After hearing those arguments Hales agreed to a revised budget that keeps the larger crews. It also still adds the rapid response vehicles to some stations with high call volume.

To still meet the budget goal, some stations will go from having two fire trucks to just one new kind of fire truck that is more versatile, Haynes said.