PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor Ted Wheeler led a panel discussion Tuesday night about safety and livability in the Lents neighborhood.

The Lents Town Hall included PPB detectives, PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw and members of the Gun Violence Reduction Team plus members of the city’s One Point of Contact office.

Area residents were encouraged to attend and make their voices heard at the Church of the Nazarene on SE Powell Boulevard. Many made it clear their top concern was Portland’s homelessness problem.

“Publicly, we are often criticized for over-policing the homeless population but we’re also criticized for not doing enough,” said Outlaw.

The 2-hour meeting also addressed safety concerns that have arisen following several deadly shootings in Lents earlier this year.

Wheeler, Outlaw and other members of command spoke about progress in outreach and efforts to bolster an understaffed police force. But officials said building a better police force takes time.

“Once you fund that police officer, it takes about 18 months to get that officer on the street,” Wheeler explained.

Still, many in the crowd were less-than-satisfied and called for more action and efficiency.