Portland City Council considers new protest limits

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland City Council heard testimony on an ordinance that would give Mayor Ted Wheeler immense new powers to regulate protests, an idea that residents told city officials is wrong.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday that Wheeler said frequent protests that predictably erupt into brawling fistfights between demonstrators have driven him and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw to seek the new restrictions.

If enacted, it would allow him to dictate, for example, where and when certain groups could rally.

Kimberly McCullough, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union office in Oregon, told the council her organization believes the ordinance is vague, does too much to limit free speech and vests unnecessary power in the mayor.

It’s unclear if Wheeler and Outlaw have enough support from council members to enact the proposal, and the mayor and city commissioners did not vote on it Thursday.