PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Community members are planning to take to the streets in North Portland this weekend to demand an end to gun violence and murder.
The “March Against Murder” will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Peninsula Park. The march will end in Woodlawn Park.
Many people told KOIN 6 News they were supportive of the planned march and that action must be taken to slow the trend of violence which seems to have no end in sight.
Diedra Coleman grew up in Portland and now lives in Chicago. She said the high number of shootings in the Portland area is troubling.
“It just really disturbs me to hear about gun violence, especially here in Portland,” Coleman said. “I’ve moved and lived away in Chicago for many years and I’ve seen the effect of violence on predominantly Black young males and it’s just really devastating and I hope we can move toward a solution soon.”
Rachel Johnson lives and works in Northeast Portland. She said she’s watched the city change since moving to the area in 2017.
“At that time, Portland had a much different feel and I felt a lot safer and I believe in Portland so I hope it turns around,” Johnson said.
Community leader Royal Harris said he’s welcoming everyone to join in Saturday’s March Against Murder in the hopes of getting the city back on the right track.
“The March Against Murder is for every citizen in Portland, not just Black,” said Harris. “The reason we are focusing on Black men, we are disproportionately dying and as you can see we are Black but white people are dying, too. The reason is that conflict has gotten to a point where death is a legitimate problem solver and we have to attack and address that.”
Deidra said more people might find their voice if they come together.
“I think a lot of times when it comes to gun violence, the main issue is that people aren’t speaking out — people are afraid of how they might be impacted or retaliation,” she said. “So it’s really important for communities to rise up and unite and lift up their voice and find ways to combat gun violence in their communities so it’s very inspiring.”
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said officers will continue to conduct extra patrols this weekend in locations where vigils, services and memorials for victims of gun violence to try to prevent more shootings. They will also work in close partnerships with federal officials including the FBI, which will also respond to scenes of gun violence.