PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Last summer, Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall told KOIN 6 that residents as young as 13 years old were getting involved in gun violence. As a result, he said the city had invested in youth violence prevention programs to address the root of the problem.

Now, during National Gun Violence Awareness Month, the city’s Youth Services Department has partnered with the Gresham Police Department to host an array of events centered around youth violence prevention.

The Pew Research Center reported that the number of U.S. children and teenagers who were killed by gunfire rose by 50% from 2019 to 2021.

The City of Gresham has also seen this trend of gun violence disproportionately affecting teenagers. And according to City Manager Nina Vetter, the crime is often retaliatory.

That’s one reason behind the choice to host gun violence prevention events throughout the month of June.

“At the heart of prevention work is providing youth with opportunities to engage in positive activities,” Gresham Police Chief Travis Gullberg said. “If we can actively engage with our youth and provide their families with support services they may need, they will be less likely to turn to negative opportunities when given the chance.”

Here is more on the remaining events for National Gun Violence Awareness Month.

  • Saturday, June 3 and Saturday, June 17: Free Community Climbing Days at Rock Haven Climbing Gym
  • Sunday, June 11 and Friday, June 23: Timbers and Thorns games
  • Saturday, June 17: Push Movement Skateboarding Event at Main City Park Skatepark
  • Saturday, June 17: The Underground Gym summer kick-off with special giveaways
  • Monday, June 26 to Wednesday, June 28: The Michael Holton Basketball camp

Gresham has also awarded Portland-based service organization Home Forward with a $25,000 grant that will go toward further youth violence prevention programming.