In the wake of several hate-motivated attacks against gays in Portland
, Mayor Sam Adams, Q Center
director Kendall Clawson
and police Chief Mike Reese
held a press conference today at the Q Center
to discuss how police would better protect the gay community .
On Memorial Day weekend
, six men were beaten and had homophobic slurs shouted at them in a traditionally LGBTQ-friendly area on Southwest Stark Street between 10th
avenues. Then on June 10
, three men and two women allegedly kidnapped a gay acquaintance, locked him in an apartment and assaulted him physically and with anti-gay insults.
In addition to earlier steps like a $1,000 police reward
for information on the Memorial Day attacks and Attorney General John Kroger's hate-crime reporting website
, the city today announced additional training for police officers who work downtown near LGBTQ bars and promised more contact with the gay community.
The city also said it would work with the LGBTQ community to establish a network of victim's advocates to help hate-crime targets feel safer around police and a “Q Patrol” made up of LGBTQ volunteers to monitor gay hotspots.
The new measures will not be in place in time for Pride Week festivities this weekend, but Reese said the police would have an increased downtown patrol presence in the upcoming days.
Asked why the LGBTQ community has distrusted police in the past, Adams said, “In some ways the Police Bureau is sort of impenetrable. It's so big and the city government is so big, and so the reforms that we've announced today are intended to be a down payment on rebuilding that trust.”