Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Weird Portland Wednesday: Walking the Mounts

Portland has had mounted police as part of our police bureau since around 1875.  There is nothing weird about that.  By 1890, Portland had three horses on record.  They built a barn for them.  In 1891, the count jumped to five horses.  According to the Portland Police Mounted Patrol website, "During President Harrison’s visit [in 1991], 'four mounted police rode one block in advance to clear the streets.  Chief of Police Parrish, mounted on his sorrel charger' led the marching police platoon."  In another year, we had 10 horses in the patrol.

Sadly, the count dropped back down to four horses a year later because of the depression.  And for the next 94 years the numbers jumped up and down, up and down in a similar fashion, hitting the amount of 20 horses and their owners in 1950.
Portland Rose Festival 1912

In 1985, budget cuts threatened to cut the Mounties but the People of Portland went to  bat for our horse patrol and the horses remained.  Remained, but cut down to one sergeant, four officers and five horses.  

Today the threat to cut is once again upon Portlandia.  Even with a new barn facility,  with one sergeant, six officers and seven horses, those unaware of the importance of mounted patrol in City Council are talking cutting the program.  It won't happen...Portland people will once again fight for the status quo.  And the numbers will increase at some point...and drop.

Our love of horses and patrolling could be why I recently saw this scene out my sewing area window. 

Why yes, they are out walking their horse.  All in the name of Keeping Portland Weird.


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