Portland bar owner says business robbed three times in a month: We're 'on our own'

Portland business owner robbed three times in one month speaks out on delayed 911 response times

Jim Rice discusses Portland, Oregon’s police staffing shortage and reacts to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s comments on rising crime.

A Portland, Oregon bar-restaurant owner whose business was robbed three times in November is sounding the alarm on rising crime after the city’s police department tweeted they would only be responding to 911 calls about serious crimes. 

In a December 6 tweet, Portland Police wrote this: “Due to critical incidents happening today and PPB’s staffing shortage, officers are responding to Priority 1 and 2 calls only right now and response time may be delayed for certain calls.”

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends First,” Jim Rice, owner of “The Fields Bar & Grill” called the comments by police “unbelievable.”

“They’re basically just stating what we already know which is that basically, Portland is now on their own. They don’t have enough police staffing to be able to support all the demands that are coming at them right now.”

PORTLAND, OR – AUGUST 30: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to the media at City Hall on August 30, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. A man was fatally shot Saturday night as a Pro-Trump rally clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in downtown Portland. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Rice noted that Portland now retains the smallest police force for a city of their size across the U.S. despite politicians “working the last 18 months” to defund the police, instead of trying to make the city safer. 

The small business owner also criticized Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s recent comments where she appeared to place the blame on businesses for not doing enough to ensure safety at their establishments. 

“Some of the retailers downtown on Michigan Avenue I will tell you I’m disappointed that they’re not doing more to take safety and make it a priority,” said Lightfoot on Monday.

Protesters block a police car after the full acquittal verdict of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse in his Wisconsin fatal shootings trial, in Portland, Oregon, U.S. November 19, 2021.
(REUTERS/John Rudoff)

Rice said that dwindling police forces and a lack of resources from state funding would likely make it difficult to bring officer levels back up to pre-pandemic levels and undo the “damage” done by politicians in “such a short period of time.”

“What options do businesses really have right now outside of going out and hiring private security?” asked Rice.

According to Portland Police Department, the city smashed its own annual homicide records, with 80 homicides reported in 2021 thus far. The previous record was 1987 with 66 homicides. 

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