When Commissioner Dan Ryan ran to fill the empty seat left by late Commissioner Nick Fish in 2020, Ryan called the Portland Police Bureau budget “bloated” and “secretive,” and ran on a platform of police reform.
In WW’s endorsement interview last week, we asked him about that characterization—and whether he stood by it two years later.
Ryan said that he no longer would use either of those adjectives to describe the Police Bureau budget because he says he has “more information now.” We asked him what that new information was.
He replied: “The new information is just looking at the severity of crime in our city, comparing us to other cities of our same size, and having more faith in the direction of reforms we’ve been able to put through in the bargaining that just took place. We need to build some morale and realize we’re all on the same team.”
Though Ryan ran on a platform of police reform in 2020, he voted against an $18 million cut to the police budget, and then voted against expanding Portland Street Response last spring. Both moves drew criticism from those who said he had flip-flopped on policing issues since he was elected.
Ryan defends his opposition to cutting the police budget in 2020, saying there was no clear plan of reinvesting those dollars in alternatives. “It was just a lot of disbursement of money but I couldn’t see where the thread was to actually build a community safety program,” he said last week.
Watch the exchange below.
Tess Riski contributed reporting to this story.