Portland Increases City Hall security

Security upgrades seek to balance open government with protecting facilities, employees and visitors

For the public, the biggest change will be in points of access: Soon, only city employees will be able to get into City Hall on the Southwest Fifth Avenue side. Everyone else will have to go through the Fourth Avenue side. At least one armed guard will work there during business hours. There won't be metal detectors, and visitors probably won't be required to sign in. But security crews will be paying close attention to who enters.

"It's not going to be like the courthouse," where rush hour crowds sometimes wind around the corner of the building, said Bob Kieta of the city's Bureau of General Services. "But you are going to notice a difference."

That seems to please the people who work in city buildings, if not those trying to visit them. Commissioner Randy Leonard, who has declined to post his schedule on the Internet for security reasons, says he would support putting metal detectors at the front door.

"Security has been lax," he said. "If we don't make changes, somebody is going to get hurt."