PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As shootings and homicides continue to skyrocket across the city, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a new emergency declaration on Thursday in an effort to combat the rising crime.
The declaration is in response to the recently released Portland Homicide Problem Analysis report. Wheeler was joined by representatives from the Portland Police Bureau, the Community Safety Division and others. The new emergency declaration aims to combat the ongoing gun violence.
The emergency declaration, Wheeler said, accompanies his Safer Summer PDX initiative, that aims to reduce gun violence by 10% over two years.
“Portland will not cure our gun violence problem through law enforcement and prosecutions alone,” Wheeler said. The mayor explained part of the Safer Summer PDX plan includes spending $2.4 million toward community-based violence intervention efforts.
Part of the Safer Summer plan includes outreach efforts to Portlanders most at-risk of being involved in gun violence by “community-based messengers” that are not members of law enforcement, Wheeler explained.
“Rather than arrest and prosecute, our goal with this program will be to offer each person at risk of gun violence a meaningful and workable plan tailored to each person’s specific needs to prevent them from getting involved in this in the first place,” Wheeler said.
The mayor added “for those already engaged in gun violence, we will provide all that we can to help them decide to stop and leave that life behind.”
Additionally, Wheeler detailed plans to expand place-based interventions which may include increased lighting, traffic diversion or the use of non-law-enforcement personnel.
Watch the full press conference in the video player below.
This press conference comes after yet another stretch of days marred by shootings. It’s all part of the disturbing trend police are noticing.
“The warm weather months tend to cause an increase in violent crime,” PPB Sgt. Kevin Allen told KOIN 6 News just days ago. “There are a lot of reasons for that, but it’s a pretty clear pattern.”
On Wednesday afternoon, police were investigating after one person was hurt and cars were damaged in a shooting along Southeast Powell Boulevard.
On Tuesday night, an Uber passenger was killed and his driver was injured in a North Portland, officials confirmed.
Just after 2 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to SW 3rd and Burnside after a reported shooting in a parking lot behind businesses, just feet away from the “Keep Portland Weird” sign. A man who was injured in the shooting showed up at a local hospital for treatment.
While responding, officers heard another shooting just a few blocks away, but there have been no reported injuries. Less than 40 minutes after the first shooting, PPB was also called to a neighborhood near SE 26th and Belmont.
“I woke about 2:50 a.m. when I heard about 6-8 gunshots which doesn’t happen very often,” said neighbor Marc Rodriguez. “It disturbed a pretty quiet neighborhood.”
One man was dead at the scene and a woman who was seriously wounded later died at the hospital.
Last Friday, PPB officers found a man dead at the scene of a shooting in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood. The suspect in the case was found and arrested Wednesday morning.