January 14th, 2011 5:33 pm | by JESSICA LUTJEMEYER News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Portlanders Sound Off on Joint Terrorism Task Force at Town Hall Meeting

Portland City Council held its "good ol' fashioned town hall" meeting, as Mayor Sam Adams put it, last night to discuss the possibility of Portland renewing its membership with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"Tonight is not about making decisions," Adams said. "Tonight is about making sure we're asking the right questions."

The discussion whether to rejoin was prompted by the alleged bomb plot that was foiled in Pioneer Courthouse Square the day after Thanksgiving. And the question asked last night by Commissioner Randy Leonard was, "What would have been different if we were in the Joint Terrorism Task Force during the Pioneer Square attempted bombing?"

Here's what others had to say in the Smith Ballroom at Portland State University, where 200 folding chairs were nearly full with people wanting to speak their minds about the controversial task force.

Several Muslims expressed worries about being racially profiled and an Islamic woman who spoke said she is afraid of being intimidated for wearing a head scarf. A local lawyer stated that "we have yet to take control of our own police," and that Portland should do so before considering rejoining the JTTF. They were in the majority of spectators who voiced sentiments against rejoining the task force, mainly due to the concern of losing civil liberties or fear of harassment by law enforcement.

About one-third of the audience members who spoke supported rejoining the JTTF. They said doing so would increase security in Portland without damage to civil rights.

The City Council plans to vote Feb. 24 on whether to rejoin the JTTF.
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