Portland Marathon

Photos: Eileen Park, Melissa Pickell.

The Portland Marathon is a popular fall pick among many west coast Canadians but this year, its running is in question. 

For a race to go ahead you need the manpower of many– including a roster of police officers to keep the race course secure. According to a local paper, Portland city officials recently denied the race permit on the basis that the event put too much of a strain on police overtime hours. 

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The race had been slotted to run– and hopefully still will– on Oct. 8, 2017. For the city, this race has been a staple in the race calendars for many for quite some time. If the permit is denied, it will topple a 45-year tradition for a large group of runners. 

According to the news source, the race’s permit was shot down on June 9. The race still has time to make an appeal. 

Last year, about 6,000 runners took part in the 42.2K. The Portland Marathon is well known for runners not just from the U.S. but from 20 countries around the world. 

That the permit was rejected would not have been a total surprise to race management though. Because the city has had to cut down on police hours, they sent a letter to the race a while back notifying them that their current course required 80 officers on site in order to meet public safety needs. The maximum officers that could be supplied was 33. 

That meant that the marathon would have had to change their course in order to require less police on duty. Currently, The Portland Marathon is working on an appeal process and evaluating Portland’s concerns. 



  • Geno Triana says:

    I wonder if they did the cost-benefit analysis on the additional hotel tax they receive from the thousands of additional travelers that they will get that weekend. That is a pretty easy calculation to do even for a city employee.

    • Rick says:

      Portland Police say the cost of overtime is not the issue. Organizers reimburse the city for those costs. Police say they simply don’t have the required staffing numbers. They began lowering the maximum officers they can commit to local events to 33 in 2015, although providing 80 to this event in 2016. Organizers cannot replace police with professional flaggers.

      Portland Marathon organizers probably knew in 2015 they’d be covered for 2016 but not 2017. Either they didn’t believe it or ignored the warning. They should have been negotiating a new, less Police labour intensive route, with the city long before this.

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