PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Big changes are coming to several upcoming city events as Portland Police Bureau deals with a significant officer shortage.
Every summer, the popular Providence Bridge Pedal closes down major streets and bridges across town. Event organizers typically hire 75 off-duty Portland police officers to keep some 18,000 cyclists safe as they move throughout the city.
This year’s event falls on Sunday, August 13, but instead of 10 bridges, cyclists will only be able to go over 7 because of the police shortage.
In October, PPB told event organizers they would only be able to hire 33 off-duty officers because they need to have enough officers to handle internal staffing.
Bridge Pedal organizer Rick Bauman said he offered several ideas to help fill in the gaps, but that police simply told him “no.”
“For some of these positions that are really low impact… we have suggested that… a certified flagger or other trained professional could work there, or that we could reach out to officers in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office or Beaverton police,” Bauman said. “Both of those options have been denied.”
But PPB has been open to similar solutions to help staff other events. At Sunday Parkways, flaggers helped out while cyclists rode through Southeast Portland.
Police told KOIN 6 News flaggers wouldn’t provide enough safety for an event like the Providence Bridge Pedal, which is considered a major city roads event.