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  • 23 Apr 2014

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Mounted Patrol supporters launch drive to save horse unit

by: FRIENDS OF THE MOUNTED PATROL - Monty and Murphy, two Mounted Patrol horses, at their temporary Narnia Farms home.

Supporters of the Portland Police Bureau's Mounted Patrol have launched an effort to save the popular horse unit from the budget axe, including measuring public support for building a new horse barn.

The campaign includes commercials sown during the 2014 Olympics and online opinion survey sponsored by Friends of the Mounted Patrol, the nonprofit organization that has been raising funds to save the program.

The horses are now being stabled at Narnia Farms in Aurora, approximately 22 miles away. Structural problems have been found at their home in Centennial Mills in Northwest Portland.

“Although it has always been known the riverfront land would be re-developed and the

horses would be re-located, the recent news that the barn is unsafe prompts a more immediate conversation about the future of our mounted patrol barn,” said Bob Ball, a developer and reserve Portland police officer who founded the Friend's organization.

According to Ball, last year, when budget cuts threatened the program, thousands of Portlanders and local businesses came together to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help cover the program costs based on a two-year agreement with the City of Portland. Now the city budget for the 2014-2105 fiscal year is being drafted, and some City Council members are advocating eliminating of the Mounted Patrol.

That goes "against that agreement that we took in good faith," Ball says.

Portland’s Mounted Patrol has a long tradition dating back to 1887. Many people see them at community events and ceremonial functions. They also make contact with about 1,800 citizens a month, staying connected to the community to keep our streets safe.

The TV ads are running now. It can be seen at youtu.be/qknWEU3Hn_E

Supporters have also posted video of the horse playing in the snow at their temporary home at www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=379444785530796&stream_ref=10

Citizens are encouraged to take the online survey and offer ideas at www.ourmountedpatrol.org