Street Roots has obtained the Portland Business Alliance Downtown Clean and Safe Security Program Citizen Complaint Protocol. The protocol was apparently requested by City Hall, and is in response to months of inquiries by Street Roots and the Portland Mercury about Portland Patrol Inc., a private security group that has the capacity to enforce public policy. Street Roots has revealed that since November, the private security group has issued more than 1,100 park exclusions in downtown public parks.
Unfortunately, the complaint process is not much different than anything that existed prior to the request – it’s just centralized into one document. The Portland Business Alliance has remained silent on the issue for months by stonewalling the press, while spinning half-truths to City Hall about the extent of their relationship with the Portland Police Bureau.
The changes that have occurred in the protocol include having “any citizen who wishes to complain about the conduct of any Clean and Safe security officer can request an informational card from the officer. The card will contain the officer’s identity, PPI phone number and address, and the phone number for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), the state regulating agency for certified security officers.” A complaint can also be lodged on-line through the PBA’s website.
The protocol says upon receipt of any complaint the “PPI management will conduct a thorough and complete review, investigate the allegations, and take corrective action as necessary up to and including termination, and will provide this information to the Alliance. It also states the Portland Business Alliance will provide a Citizen Complaint Summary Report to Council on a quarterly basis.”
Offering a card to someone who believes their civil rights are being violated and having the Portland Business Alliance offer a quarterly report is NOT public oversight and transparency.
The card is a step in the right direction, but the people of Portland deserve a direct line to City Hall for oversight and transparency of any private agencies that does business on public lands – especially in the case of the Portland Business Alliance who has shown a history of advocating for institutionalizing laws that violate the human and civil rights of poor people.