The Portland police union president called Portland a "cesspool" and criticized the mayor for allowing an investigation of police interactions with homeless people.
In the wake of the story, Mayor Ted Wheeler said the arrests should be questioned, but stopped short of saying police had acted inappropriately.
The Portland Police Association did not appreciate the mayor's suggestion that there could potentially be bias in officers' actions.
"Mayor Wheeler's public policies have failed," union president Daryl Turner said in a press release July 16. "The fact that our officers have become the scapegoats for Mayor Wheeler's failed public policies aimed at solving our homelessness crisis is insulting."
Turner said he was "incensed" because the mayor had "thrown Portland Police Officers under the bus." He pointed to low staffing and a lack of resources for the police as one of the reasons homeless people aren't able to find help in Portland.
"Will investigating our officers result in more housing for the homeless?" Turner asked. "Will it provide more mental health or addiction resources for those in need? Will it resolve the livability issues that Portland residents and business owners face daily? Of course not! It's more of the same from the Mayor; failed policies and blaming others for his failures."
Turner's criticisms come after Wheeler spent months arguing to fund more police officers.
During the budget negotiation process, the police bureau asked for 93 new officers be funded next year. Wheeler proposed a budget that would allocate funds for 58 new positions in the Portland Police Bureau.
Despite the planned increase in staffing coming to the bureau, Turner still says Wheeler's policies have been a failure.
"The Portland Police Bureau not been given nearly enough resources to fulfill its small piece in addressing the homelessness crisis," he says. "It's a recipe for failure to put the burden of the homelessness solution on the Police Bureau's shoulders and then give us insufficient resources to do the work."
The mayor's office says it will keep the union's complaints in mind.
"We are reviewing the message from PPA and will continue this conversation with Daryl Turner, and the many other groups and individuals who are rightly interested in these issues," says Michael Cox, the mayor's chief of staff.