A scheduled vote on the city budget was postponed today due to the death of Mayor Ted Wheeler's mother, but that didn't stop Portland from showing up to testify.
Over 400 citizens spoke in favor of defunding the Portland Police Bureau at the public comment section of the meeting, which went forward in Wheeler's absence—some more recognizable than others. Among them? Guitarist Erik Howk of chart-topping alt-rock band Portugal the Man.
The musician read a statement on behalf of the band and its charitable organization, the PTM Foundation.
"This moment in time is an incredible opportunity to think of the future of our city," Howk said, "to look at the needs we have in front of us and down the road, to reprioritize and recognize that as we come out of quarantine and reincorporate into society, a lot of us have kids that just want to be part of sports programs, kids who miss the community and who are desperate to interact in our parks and public places.
"Looking at the future," he continued, "our resources are better served on our kids than on the intimidation and unwarranted shows of force from those meant to protect and serve the community."
It's hardly Portugal the Man's first political action. The band performed at a rally against gun violence at Pioneer Courthouse Square in 2018 and "opened" for Bernie Sanders at the Tacoma Dome in February. They've also spent the past few months fighting a book ban in Wasilla, Alaska, where the group started in 2001 before relocating to Portland 15 years ago.
Hear Howk's full statement below, beginning at the 4 hour and 33 minute mark: