May 2nd, 2013 10:50 am | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: PDX Votes, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Police Horses Would be Returned to Owners, Sold if Unit Folds

mounted patrolPortland mounted police unit officer Greg Pashley exercises his horse Ian at the unit’s stables in 2009. - Darryl James

As it has been in previous budget cycles, the Portland Police Bureau's Mounted Patrol is on the chopping block.

And though mounted patrol-supporter and developer Bob Ball has stepped up with an extra $150,000 in funding, and Facebook fans are rallying to save the unit, it appears this year may actually be the end for the horse unit.

But Portland police offered only a vague answer about what would become of the unit's beloved geldings if the mounted patrol goes kaput.

"They'd be given back to the people who donated them or sold," Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson tells WW. "I don’t know exactly how that works."

Simpson did not provide any further details about how many horses the unit has, which horses are owned and which are on loan, or whether the PPB has had any official contingency plan in place since talks of cutting the Mounted Patrol began several years ago.

The city's website says the horses are either purchased or donated, with the average purchase price being $3,000. Only geldings of various breeds are used, and they're normally 8 to 12 years old  when purchased, and are about 15.2 hands in height.

Ball told WW last week that he also doesn't know what would happen to the horses, currently housed on Northwest Naito Parkway, if the unit is cut.

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