The city of Portland would pay $315,000 annually to a team of consultants hired to help monitor the Police Bureau’s compliance with federal-mandated reforms to bureau policies, training and oversight, under an ordinance that goes before the City Council on Wednesday.

The ordinance adds another $75,000 a year to the city’s already approved $240,000 annual contract with Rosenbaum & Watson, the Chicago-based team of academics selected to serve as the city’s new compliance officer/community liaison. The academics will be paired with former Oregon chief justice Paul J. DeMuniz.

“In order to maximize opportunities for local contact and community engagement, the City will also reimburse team members up to $75,000 per year in travel expenses,” the ordinance says.

The city anticipates “substantial compliance” with the reforms outlined in a settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice to occur by October 2017, but acknowledges it may take longer, according to material provided to council members.

The contract with Dennis Rosenbaum, director of the Center for Research in Law & Justice at the University of Illinois, will automatically end in January 2020.

The city’s settlement agreement stemmed from a 2012 U.S. Justice Department investigation that found Portland police engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness. The investigation also found that stun gun use by officers was unjustified and excessive at times. The negotiated settlement, approved by a federal judge in late August, calls for changes to Portland policies, training and oversight.

Rosenbaum and team members Amy C. Watson, an associate professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago who specializes in police handling of mental health issues, and Tom Christoff, a doctoral student working on a dissertation on police citizen interactions, have said they will travel to Portland regularly for meetings, interviews, observations and data compilation.

Also on Wednesday, the city will seek additional money to help fund start-up costs for a new Community Oversight Advisory Board, chaired by DeMuniz.

The city expects to provide administrative support for the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison and the new 15-member Community Oversight Advisory Board. That includes office and meeting space, supplies, interpretive services, website development, staffing and other expenses, according to a city ordinance.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss and vote on these funding requests at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in City Hall’s council chambers.

–Maxine Bernstein

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