Incoming Portland Mayor Charlie Hales intends to make a response to the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre a top priority for his first week in office.
The mayor, who takes office tonight at midnight, is scheduling a meeting this week with Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and the superintendents of all six school districts within Portland city limits, including Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith.
The topic is increasing school security.
"I want to know where we stand as a city on school safety planning," Hales says, pledging "to reduce, however we can, the danger. I don't want to over-promise, because there's too many guns out there."
Hales also says he'll talk to other regional leaders, including Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen and state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) about tightening gun control in Oregon.
"We’ve gotten too practiced at a sequence in which we say these victims were wonderful people, they’re in a better place now, and let’s take strength from how sweet and virtuous those lost family members were," Hales tells WW.
"While I’m not disrespecting
any of those sentiments, I want us to stay angry," he says. "I want us to be furious that
those lives were cut short, and resolute to do something about it. Not just
mourn and celebrate those victims, but honor those victims by anger and passion
and action, not just by remembrance and respect. I’m choosing my words
carefully because this is terrible stuff for those families and for us as a
national and local community. But I want us to stay angry and focused on
action, not just mourning.
Hopefully, this time we can do something."