DOJ-driven PDX Police Oversight Begins To Collapse

Job Opening: Compliance Officer/Community Liaison & the Community Oversight Advisory Board Chair

Posted: 6/17/2016 Location: Portland Metro Closing Date: open until filled Industry: Nonprofit Type: Part Time

Rosenbaum and Watson, LLP has contracted with the City of Portland to evaluate the implementation of the Settlement Agreement (SA) between the United States Department of Justice and the City of Portland, Oregon, Case No. 3:12-cv-02265-SI, filed 12/17/12. Rosenbaum & Watson, LLP serves as the “Compliance Officer and Community Liaison” (COCL) under this Settlement Agreement (paragraph 160). The Agreement requires the creation of a “Community Oversight Advisory Board” (COAB) to “leverage the ideas, talent, experience, and expertise of the community” (paragraph 141) to provide oversight and input into this reform process (See Agreement for details). Furthermore, the Agreement states that “The COAB shall report to the COCL. The COCL will chair the COAB, preside over COAB meetings, take and count votes, and perform such other activities as are necessary for the efficient operation of the COAB.” (Paragraph 144).
Rosenbaum and Watson, LLP is seeking to hire a person to fill the position of Chair of the Community Oversight Advisory Board and Community Liaison.

Position Description:
The primary responsibilities of this position are to: (a) chair regular business meetings of the COAB and COAB town hall meetings; (b) ensure the efficient operation of the COAB; and (c) facilitate community engagement. This includes working collaboratively and efficiently with members of the COCL, COAB, the mental health community, the community at large, the Portland Police Bureau, the City of Portland, the Department of Justice, Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition (AMAC), and other stakeholders in this process. This individual will also work with the COCL to identify and correct any problems that interfere with the efficient operation of the COAB or community engagement.

Desired qualifications include:
• Ability to effectively manage public meetings
• Ability to facilitate a diverse group of COAB members in service to their charge as outlined in the Settlement Agreement
• Sensitivity to issues of mental illness and race/ethnicity during police-community interactions
• Ability to prevent and/or mediate conflict between individuals or groups
• Ability to work collaboratively with the Portland Police Bureau to discuss issues and oversee reforms
• Ability to work effectively with the COCL team to ensure the efficient operation of the COAB

Application Process:
Interested persons should submit a resume and cover letter to: Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum, COCL, 525 NE Oregon Street, Suite 250, Portland, OR 97232. Applications can also be submitted electronically to:

This position is open until filled. Candidates who apply before June 30, 2016 will be considered first. The expectation is that this position will require 20 hours of work per week. Compensation is based on experience and expertise. The individual hired will be a consultant to Rosenbaum & Watson, LLP.

Salary: Information not posted

Citizens’ panel overseeing Portland police reforms needs reforms of its own

Editorial Board – The Oregonian, June 16, 2016

The insults and jeering that disrupted last week’s meeting of the Community Oversight Advisory Board marked a low point in the 16-month history of the panel. But unruly public crowds aren’t the only problems that have plagued the citizen board tasked with monitoring Portland’s compliance with a federal police-reforms settlement.

City leadership’s attention to the panel is sporadic, despite the city holding ultimate responsibility for its effectiveness. Several board members have resigned over the past year and others are now calling for a temporary halt to cope with the dysfunction, as The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein reported. The drama at the latest meeting, at which audience members shouted at the board and interrupted its work multiple times, only highlights the question: Can this board be saved?

The turmoil facing board members contrasts sharply with the bumptious words that Portland’s leaders have used over the years to describe the creation of the independent oversight board. The idea for the panel was part of a 2012 agreement with the federal justice department to settle claims that Portland Police engaged in a pattern of excessive force against people with mental illness. Community members and a city-hired compliance officer, not a court-appointed monitor, would track Portland’s progress in implementing reforms, solicit community feedback and offer recommendations for improving police practices. The board, many have bragged, was a first-of-its-kind solution that could be a model for cities seeking to be accountable to their communities.

It turns out, unfortunately, that self-congratulatory words don’t do much in the way of providing concrete guidance.

Read the rest of Citizens’ panel overseeing Portland police reforms needs reforms of its own

Community police oversight panel member recommends summer ‘hiatus’ to move past ‘dysfunction’

The Oregonian, June 16, 2016

In the wake of a disastrous Community Oversight Advisory Board meeting last week, member Avel Gordly has suggested the panel formed to monitor federally-mandated police reforms take a hiatus this summer to regroup and move past the “current dysfunction and disruptions.”

But attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice, which worked with the city to help craft the community-based board, have advised its leaders that any such decision would have to be made by the full board.

The board’s executive committee meets Friday morning to discuss this idea.

Here’s former State Senator Avel Gordly’s full email suggesting a hiatus:

    The City needs to stop the COAB work -temporarily- for a reset. There is an opportunity for the Office of Equity and Human Rights to step in as facilitator to help define and construct, (guided by community members), how the COAB moves forward. No new members should be appointed until Mayor Wheeler is in office. I plan to continue my commitment until my term expires. These are my thoughts today about how to begin moving past the current dysfunction and disruptions. Your work, Kathleen, Amy and Mandi has been very effective in laying a foundation to build on. Be proud of that. I am grateful for your thoughtful, principled leadership. You have worked yourselves to exhaustion and as a team supporting the COAB (and the community) have been underappreciated for all that you have given and sacrificed. Again, these are my thoughts for consideration and I trust that we remaining COAB members will find our way forward… together. Our City needs this effort at police reform to be successful…we are privileged along with community partners to help make that happen. Peace, love, light and blessings, Avel

Read the rest of Community police oversight panel member recommends summer ‘hiatus’ to move past ‘dysfunction’

COAB meeting degenerates into free-for-all

The Oregonian, June 10, 2016

Order collapses at 6-9-16 COAB meeting

Order collapses at 6-9-16 COAB meeting

Vulgar insults hurled. Name calling. People shouting out comments while others had the floor to speak. Repeated demands for the meeting to come to order. Frequent breaks in board action to avoid an escalating crisis.

That pretty much summed up Thursday night’s meeting of the Portland Community Oversight Advisory Board, a group created to monitor police reforms required by the federal government.

Nearly a year and a half after it was set up as part of a settlement agreement that the city reached with the U.S. Department of Justice, two leaders of the board have resigned. Members are frustrated by lack of feedback from Justice officials to a host of recommendations they’ve made about police policies, training and oversight. And the public feels further alienated.

“This is ridiculous,” outgoing chair Kathleen Saadat mumbled before calling a break when several attendees approached the roped-off barrier set up in front of the board members’ seats and yelled at one of the members while filming on video cameras or phones.

Read the rest of COAB meeting degenerates into free-for-all

Editorial: Police oversight needs correction

The Oregonian Editorial Board, June 10, 2016

The devolution of a citizens’ panel to monitor police reforms required by the federal government is a disappointment. But that’s an understatement.

Thursday night’s meeting of the Portland Community Oversight Advisory Board, birthed following the city’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over the use of excessive force by police against people with mental illness, turned into a disruptive circus. And it raises deeper questions yet about transparency in government.

Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that a source of ire among board members was in being ignored recently by Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Larry O’Dea following the board’s request that the city get rid of a rule allowing any officer involved in a deadly shooting to take a 48-hour delay before withstanding an internal affairs interview.

Silence in the face of such a request equals: You don’t matter. And so it’s no surprise that an attempt Thursday by a City Hall staffer to explain the rule was met with a harrumph and an audience shout that City Hall, when it comes to police matters, has no power.

A citizens panel, however, can have great power: to learn, to reflect, to propose, to insist, to help Portland grow. It’s unclear at this point, though, whether this particular advisory board can rise to its challenge while being so marginalized.

Saadat, Moreland-Capuia resign from the COCL – COAB

Kathleen Saadat, and employee of the Chicago-based team of Rosenbaum & Watson, LLC, who were awarded the contract by Mayor Charlie Hales against community advice, has resigned her position as chair of the Community Oversight Advisory Board.

The Community Oversight Advisory Board, or COAB, and the contracted Compliance Office and Community Liaison, or COCL, are generated by the proposed settlement of United States v. City of Portland. That suit was invited by City commissioner Dan Saltzman & then-Mayor Sam Adams when they ran out of skills to negotiate with the Portland Police Association over the deaths of James Chasse, Aaron Campbell and other people in mental health crisis at the hands of police.

Saadat, a former city of Portland and Multnomah County mediator, took the position in June 2015 after former Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz resigned the position after four months.

Here is Saadat’s letter to the members of the COAB:

May 31, 2016


Effective June 24, 2016, I am stepping down as Community Liaison and Chair of the Community Oversight Advisory Board. This has been a truly worthwhile time for me. I know a lot more about the world than I did when I came into this position. Thank you for being my teachers. I of course want you, the Portland COAB to go forward and reach the highest of heights and be the most amazingly wonderful COAB there could possibly be, because you are the best and because, as Senator Gordly said last week, “the City needs us”.

The City will always need thoughtful, committed, tenacious and inspired folks to help it grow into its ever expanding potential. I believe in the power of people and I believe in the Portland COAB’s ability to help shape the future of policing in the City of Portland. Thank you for the things you do to make our City better and for the past year of working together.


Psychiatrist and COAB member Alicia Moreland-Capuia has been nominated to serve on the Portland Development Commission. Her resignation from the COAB was circulated today.

June 1, 2016

Mayor Charlie Hales
City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon, 97204

Re: Resignation from the Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB)

Greetings Mayor Hales:

The city of Portland has a tremendous opportunity to do something great and transformative in the arena of police reform. The Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB) consists of a phenomenal group of dedicated citizens committed to the cause of justice and impactful change. Everyone that comes to the table, daily/weekly, is interested in improving the safety and livability of our city for ALL people.

I’ve had the great privilege of serving as co-chair of the Mental Health Crisis Response Subcommittee (MHCRS) of the COAB and I (along with the group) can boast considerable accomplishments to include making robust revisions and recommendations to PPB’s mental health directives and COCL quarterly reports. MHCRS also allowed me to actively and richly engage with community. I listened to, heard and felt their pain and also witnessed their great hope in the prospect of change. I believe in the work of the COAB and hold the conviction that it will attain every goal as mandated by the settlement agreement and beyond.

I’ve served a year and 5 months of a 2 year term with the COAB. At this time and under these current conditions, I am stepping down from my role as co-chair of the MHCRS and appointee to the COAB.

It has been my absolute pleasure to serve the city as a member of the COAB, I am certain that the great work will continue!

Best regards,
Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD

Cc: Kathleen Sadaat
Dennis Rosenbaum