A new emergency ordinance on the City of Portland's agenda is raising some eyebrows. It would waive a City Code 5.33.070, which prevents the City (including the Portland Police Bureau) from buying goods and services from a city employee (in this case one of PPB's own officers). The motivation behind this move is to buy goods from Extreme Products, owned and operated by Police Officer John Myers, a 17 year veteran who works a night shift at central precinct. The move has KXL legal expert Bruce McCain scratching his head. He says the Oregon Ethics Commission might even take a closer look at this if it gets passed.
McCain says the core issue is, "using your position for official gain other than what your salary is." The other red flag for regulators is "Passing the emergency ordinance", essentially bypassing the public comment period.
But Sergeant Pete Simpson, bureau spokesman, says it's aimed at creating competition and helping to leverage lower prices. He says the goal is to "be completely transparent and to adhere to the city code... the ordinance was drawn up to allow this to happen, and it doesn't mean that there is going to be a contract with [Extreme Products LLC] and it doesn't mean there is going to be any awarding of services or goods". Simpson went on to say that PPB was interested in buying several items, such as flash bang grenades, because not only does Extreme Products offer a better price then they are getting now, but they are the only licensed dealer in the state.
If approved the ordinance would allow the city to buy up to $5,000 worth of equipment from Extreme Products LLC, including helmets, uniforms, and flash bang grenades. The latter of which the Clackamas-based company is the only licensed dealer in Oregon. Currently the bureau buys most of its equipment from Seattle-based Blumenthals.
As of the time this article was published, Officer John Myers and his wife Angela, co-owner of the business, have declined to speak with the media.