Portland racial equity panel readies final report to City Council

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Portland’s Racial Equity Steering Committee will meet for the final time April 15 and deliver its report to the City Council on Monday, April 19.

City Councilor Pious Ali, who co-chairs the committee, said members had hoped to wrap up their meetings April 8, but due to “technical difficulties” with the remote meeting they weren’t able to start on time. The 13-member panel and facilitator Samaa Abdurraqib have largely tried to limit their meetings to no more than two hours.

“We didn’t reach where we wanted to be,” Ali said.

The committee was formed last summer after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. The trial of a police officer accused of murder in Floyd’s death is now underway.

“I think it went well,” Ali said of the committee’s work since it began meeting last September.

The panel was supposed to have a report ready for the council in late January, but members sought and received an extension. They then hoped to conclude their work by April, with a final report ready to present to the City Council on April 12.

The committee has already delivered an interim report, which called for dissolving the Police Citizen Review Subcommittee and replacing it with a panel with stronger Police Department oversight.

Like many new committees, Ali said, there were issues at the beginning involving keeping discussions on topic. “But the past few weeks have been amazing,” he said.