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Residents of crime-ridden Portland area to vote on ballot measure removing gendered language

Multnomah County, Oregon, which contains the city of Portland and is responsible for prosecuting criminal activity in the city, is looking to remove gender-related language from its charter.

Voters in the county are set to vote on a local ballot measure that would remove language in the 1966 charter that includes “gender binary pronouns,” such as “he, she, his and her,” and instead use gender-neutral terms.

Measure 26-230, also known as the Gender Neutral Charter Amendment, if approved, would adopt terms like “the sheriff” to refer to a particular position within the county, rather than one that associates the office with a particular gender.

Portland and Multnoma County residents are experiencing a massive rise in crime, as well as a pervasive homelessness problem on the city’s streets.

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Portland Police released an image of the crime scene here a man was fatally shot by police on June 25, 2021
(Portland Police Bureau)

Last month, Fox News Digital reported that, according to a survey commissioned by the mayor of Portland, residents increasingly fear being assaulted or encountering people experiencing a mental health crisis while walking around town.

The survey, conducted by local firm DHM Research, showed that nearly half (48%) of the 500 Portlanders who responded felt unsafe walking alone at night in their own neighborhood. Of those who felt unsafe, 78% told researchers they were afraid of being physically assaulted.

In August, the most recent month for which police statistics are available, there were 6,074 reported crimes across Portland. That’s up slightly from 5,930 the same month last year. Theft, vandalism and assault were the most common offenses reported.

Earlier this year, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese sounded alarm over the number of incarcerations for violent crimes in the county. He added that the number of people in custody who were suspected of murder or attempted murder was the highest it had been for 30 years.

Additionally, instances of bias crime in Multnomah County — crime that targets people over their race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status or country of origin — increased roughly 41% year over year in 2021. 

Data for 2021 also showed that the Multnomah County district attorney’s office declined to file charges in roughly 35% of felony cases referred to them by police.

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Dusk shot of Portland, Oregon skyline.

Dusk shot of Portland, Oregon skyline.
(David Papazian via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital reached out to each member of the Board of Multnomah County Commissioners and asked why it seemed there was more of a focus on gender-related terminology rather than combating crime in the area, but only received a response from the board’s communications director explaining that a committee of residents recommended the change, and that the county actually was investing in public safety.

“The Multnomah County Charter requires that a committee of residents review the Charter every six years. After nearly a year of public meetings, those community members made these recommendations,” communications director Julie Sullivan-Springhetti said. 

“The County Board of Commissioners is required by law to pass those recommendations through to the voters. The voters will decide,” she added. “Multnomah County is working hard to protect the public, investing more than $342 million in public safety through our County jails, district attorney and sheriff’s office.”

A source familiar with how an initiative in the county makes it onto the ballot echoed Sullivan-Springhetti’s explanation that it was a community-lead process that included input from residents and advocacy groups.

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Portland Police Department patrol vehicle.

Portland Police Department patrol vehicle.
(Portland Police Department)

The source also pointed to the board approving funding for hiring a total of six deputy district attorneys across the current and previous fiscal years, and two investigators to prosecute gun related crimes and other serious offenses. 

Additionally, the source cited county fiscal data showing that funding for public safety went towards preventing gun violence. However, it also grouped in things like affordable housing, rent assistance, food, childcare, transportation, other living expenses, and trauma services.

The source noted that the city of Portland are the ones who police the city streets, not the county, adding that resources were focused on prosecution and prevention rather than policing.

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The measure will appear on the general election ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Fox News’ Hannah Ray Lambert contributed to this report.

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