Structural problems at Centennial Mills has prompted Portland police to move the off-duty home of the Mounted Horse Patrol from there to the Narnia Farms in Aurora, approximately 22 miles away.
The decision was made after the Bureau of General Services and the Portland Development Commission notified the Portland Police Bureau of evolving structural problems the Centennial Mills building, located at 1362 Northwest Naito Parkway.
The unit has been housed inside the building since 2001, and a specific area of concern is the location where the horses are stalled.
"The Mounted Patrol Unit is ever vigilant for the safety of the horses and personnel who work in the building and therefore has decided to move the horses to an offsite location until we can be assured the safety of the building," police said in a Thursday statement.
The unit will continue to operate out of the Centennial Mills location, but the horses will be trailered in each day for work. The bureau is working with PDC to assess the future stability of the location and their plan to address the structural problems and safety concerns.
The PDC acquired the building many years ago with the idea of redeveloping it. Plans have stalled, however, as ideas have changed about the best uses for the property.
The City Council has repeatedly considered eliminating the Mounted Patrol Unit to save money, but the community has always rallied to support it. The unit was established in 1979, and currently has 8 horses, 4 officers, 3 non-sworn staff and 1 sergeant assigned to the unit.
According to the bureau, in an average month, the officers on horses contact about 1,800 citizens, primarily in the downtown core and Old Town areas. In addition to its primary patrol function, the unit is also available to participate in special events and crowd control details throughout the City of Portland.
To learn more about the Mounted Patrol Unit, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/250328
You can follow the Mounted Patrol Unit on Twitter at @PPBMPU or visit the Facebook page for the Friends of the Mounted Patrol, www.facebook.com/saveportlandsmountedpatrol