Portland City Council approves ban on hard drug use in public, but state lawmakers must sign off

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to enact a ban on the use of hard drugs such as fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine on public property in an effort to improve the Oregon city’s livability.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the emergency ordinance that adds criminal penalties to public drug use, including up to six months in jail or a $500 fine, the Oregonian reported.

“These are necessary, common-sense measures to disrupt the debilitating drug use on Portland’s streets, which causes profound harm to the livability of our city, overwhelms our emergency response system, and destroys lives,” said Commissioner René González, according to the local media.

However, the ordinance has no power unless Oregon state lawmakers pass a new law that would give cities and other municipalities the authority to regulate public drug use, which residents voted to decriminalize in a ballot measure. 2020.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the emergency ordinance adding criminal penalties to public use of hard drugs.
A woman does drugs at a picnic table outside.Fatal opioid-related overdoses quintupled between 2018 and 2020 in Multnomah County.KEVIN DAHLGREN

The city council also passed a resolution directing Portland’s Office of Government Relations to lobby state lawmakers to address the proliferation of public drug use and the rise in overdose deaths.

Fatal opioid-related overdoses quintupled between 2018 and 2020 in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, and fentanyl deaths hit a record 209 deaths last year, according to the Oregonian.

Street use of hard drugs has also thrust Portland into the national spotlight, with critics seeing the liberal city as a place of lawlessness, despair and homelessness.

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Garbage covers a sidewalk.Portland City Council has no power to enforce its new ordinance unless state lawmakers allow municipalities the ability to regulate public drug use. twitter@kevinvdahlgren

The locals are fed up too.

At Wednesday’s city council hearing, nearly all members of the public who testified before the vote said they favored a ban on public drug use, the newspaper reported.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said there was no time to waste in getting the drug situation under control, according to the outlet.

“The bottom line is this: week after week the situation gets worse,” the Democrat said during the council meeting. “We urgently need to focus on saving lives and livelihoods.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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