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RPC's Civil Compromise Program: Learn all about it!

100 Fires Law PC. & Revitalize Portland Coalition Board member

RPC’s Civil Compromise proposal continues to gain momentum. As a result of our Crime and Safety committee's persistent efforts, what began as a targeted initiative to address low-level misdemeanors has evolved into a priority program for RPC. Over the course of several months, the committee diligently navigated the complex terrain of criminal justice to address "accountability" – or lack thereof – for “lower-level crimes” downtown. “Accountability" was not solely confined to the actions of offenders, but also encompassed the efficacy of law enforcement and the District Attorney's office in prosecuting such offenses. This major RPC program stands as a testament to the committee's commitment to fostering a holistic approach to justice, one that addresses not only the crimes themselves but also the broader intricacies of accountability within the community.

RPC recently met with The Agency's leadership team.

The committee developed a program within the criminal justice system - based on existing statutes - that would allow a “diversion” program for certain offenders of certain crimes to be held accountable, but not overly punish them. The program is intended to address the visible effect on what some consider the “blight” of downtown Portland, smashed windows, graffiti, trash and litter, interruption of traffic, and more. At the same time the program would “restart” the criminal prosecution system that appears to have stopped, thus making law enforcement and the district attorney “accountable” once again for maintaining order downtown. The program would work like this: The offender would be cited to appear in court and given an opportunity, if they met certain criteria, to voluntarily participate in the program. If they successfully complete the program, they get a dismissal of their case. Success would be measured by trading hours of work or required tasks in exchange for the dismissal. The offender would also have to submit to an interview to gather data on who they were, and what services they needed. The program would then help match the person with services that they needed. The interview would be a requirement of the program and would not only help get the individual services, but also help us gather data on the population that the program was trying to help generally.

This “Civil Compromise” program has been met with praise and support from not only the Multnomah County Court, but also from City Council Members, PPB, the Sheriff’s office, and more! RPC presented the program to the Governor’s Central City Task Force.

RPC's Dr. Gerard Mildner presenting to SVN/Bluestone forum.

The program is in its infancy and has a lot of moving parts. Implementing a program like this is a big task and is going to take a lot of work and investment by RPC to get it going. The upside to a program such as this could have far-reaching effects on not only the appearance of downtown, but hopefully create the appearance that people care about Portland, that agencies are working once again at making Portland the beautiful city it can be and creating opportunities for individuals to get help and services to create positive changes in their lives.

What can you do? Thanks for asking! We need our members to step up and volunteer some time and work to make this program a reality. We need help with many aspects of the program that involve reaching out to providers, making phone calls, gathering information, and more! RPC leaders are available to meet with your company and deliver informative presentations. If you are interested in helping or scheduling a presentation, please contact Erik at info@revitalizeportland.com.


Jose Cienfuegos, is a member of RPC's board of directors & leads our work on civil compromise. He is a local private attorney with 22 years of experience. His firm is 100 Fires Law PC. He has been a public defender and a prosecutor - working criminal defense, criminal prosecution, civil defense, and now as a plaintiff's attorney.




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