From Portlandia, a cry for help

I see that Portland's failed mayor and cartoon police chief are begging the state's governor-elect to please, please, pretty please send some state troopers to enforce traffic laws in the city.

Lord knows, they're needed. Ever since the bad city cops quit and the good ones went on de facto strike (it's been two years now), the police here no longer enforce the traffic laws. I am not exaggerating. As a not-surprising result, being on a road in Portland has become a hair-raising experience. The number of dangerously aggressive drivers – borderline psychos, many of them – has multiplied. Traffic fatalities are at record-high levels. You can't go anywhere without encountering cars whipping around without license plates. And a lot of the craziest drivers are behind the wheels of stolen cars, or cars with stolen plates. Not to mention the street takeovers we get all summer long, imported from some L.A. ghetto.

Will Empress Kohoutek grant the mayor's wish? It's far from a slam dunk. For one thing, any sort of law enforcement is politically risky when you're an Oregon Democrat. The criminal justice system here has completely fallen apart, and that's just the way the "All Cops Are Bastards" and "End Civ" kids in Portland like it. If the new guv actually admits that cops are somehow a necessary evil, or if she dares to signal that they are even a mildly positive thing, she'll lose a chunk of her political support from the far left.

On a more practical level, as readers of this blog have pointed out to me, the state police have been defunded, much like the Portland police have been, in recent years. They don't have the person-power to do anywhere near the level of traffic enforcement that they used to, and that's without being responsible for Portland. (How they got out of Portland duty to begin with is a mystery to me, but that's another story.)

And to be honest, if I were a state police officer, the last assignment I would want is doing traffic stops in this city. Nowadays any traffic stop anywhere in America is a potentially lethal encounter, but that's particularly true in a place like Portland, where things have been allowed to spiral out of control for far too long. The city's request reasons that although the troopers will only be writing people up for minor infractions, their visible presence will deter more significant crime.

I doubt that's the way it would go. The first day of pulling people over in Portland, the state troopers would get sucked into drugs, guns, stolen cars, you name it. It would be a darned hazardous detail.

And God forbid they pull over more than the exact correct percentage of people of color. The accusations of racism write themselves.

Anyway, we'll see if the state police show up. I'd welcome them, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for them.


  1. Even in the best of times you only saw state troopers on major freeways in town. Good luck with that mayor...get your own house in order maybe? Just a thought.

  2. Dear old spineless is beholden to the “ban the police crowd “regardless of his public talk of wanting to increase the police force.

  3. It's ironic that Jo Ann With the Bullhorn strutted around crowing when the city took jurisdiction over 82nd Avenue away from the state. Now the city has its hat in its hand looking for help with the most basic of functions regarding the roads.

  4. All Wheeler has to do is tell Kotek, "Look, my political career is soon to be over for good, I have nothing left to lose. Either you give me my wish list or I start crowing daily how Portland needs a heavy federal law enforcement response to save it - which will show the Democratic parties policies and response have failed this most progessive of cities at the city, county and state level."


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.