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Wednesday at City Council: Questions on Helicopters Buzzing PDX

A Portland resident asks for explanations about Mayor Potter's failure to inform residents that helicopters would be practicing war-games in downtown PDX and East-side areas.
Andrew Park, a Portland resident, will be appearing at Wednesday's (Sept. 10) upcoming City Council meeting to ask why Mayor Tom Potter failed to inform area residents that a quartet of unmarked helicopters bearing black-uniformed men with weaons would be practicing war-games in downtown PDX and East-side areas two weeks ago.

So far, Potter's only explanation has been though he approved the drills with the U.S. Navy, he did not want to panic Portlanders ahead of time. Seems the Pentagon wanted to practice anti-terror drills on a city without tipping their hand to terrorists they were swooping down on them. As if the noise from four helicopters swooping to land on a building, the debarking of special-ops and their race down the stairs to the street wouldn't warn their quarry that they were about to burst on the scene.

Haven't such drills in Iraq and, now, Afghanistan provided sufficient practice in rooftop landings and raids? Couldn't such "city-side" practice be confined to hospital helipads where residents are well accustomed to helicopters? If it's secrecy that's wanted, no nearby residents would get suspicious of copters landing on a hospital rooftop.

Haven't such drills been conducted in U.S. cities that frighten the poor while supposedly cleaning up crime? Would Lake Oswego or SW Hills residents or Pearl residents be subjected for more than one of these drills after the first one? Or even one?

The result in Portland was panic downtown and outlying areas and a rash of calls to City Hall by residents demanding to know why unmarked helicopters were hovering over downtown buildings and men in black uniforms with weapons appeared to be ready for combat on the streets. Others on the East side demanded to know why those helicopters were buzzing Powell Boulevard and other locations.

The session begins at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall's Council chambers. Enter from the Shrunk Park side on 4th Avenue.