PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With rampant break-ins, burglaries and car thefts, downtown Portland businesses say they’ve had enough.
Business owners have been struggling to get customers to come downtown. They have also had a hard time convincing employees to show up in person. On Thursday, however, members of the Portland Business Alliance heard from law enforcement leaders about what they plan to do to help reduce crime.
Safety is still top of the mind as many at the forum were wondering what public safety leaders intend to do to stop the dozens and dozens of deadly shootings this past year. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell says he is finally bringing on more officers, but it takes 18 months before training is complete.
Even the new Multnomah County Sheriff didn’t have an answer as to exactly when the boards and barricades put up during the riots back in 2020 now long gone will be removed from the justice center and the federal building.
“How do we create a safe space where we are able to remove the boards and bring a welcoming building back to the downtown core? That will take time,” said Sheriff Nicole Morrissey O’Donnell.
Businesses say they want a stronger law enforcement presence on the streets downtown, and more efforts to move people from tents on city streets into a shelter. Some favor an ask by the district attorney for state police to help Portland Police with traffic enforcement — Lovell got rid of the traffic division, needing the officers in other divisions due to a shortage.
Lovell reminded business owners staffing is going up to over 800 officers. Now, he’s pushing city leaders to bring back neighborhood police patrols and community policing, saying that it’s worked before to reduce crime.