PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One person is dead after a stabbing Friday in Portland’s Old Town. Police called the stabbing unusual as it happened in the middle of the day along a popular spot for tourists and locals.
“It happened in broad daylight, it was right in the middle of the day at 11:30, right before lunch, so a lot of people around,” said Sgt. Kevin Allen with the Portland Police Bureau. “Anytime we have violence on our streets, it’s concerning to us, for sure.”
PPB was called to the corner of Burnside and NW 3rd, outside of the Union Gospel Mission. When they arrived, they found a person with stab wounds who died.
Moments later, they found the suspect, now identified as 50-year-old Dorian Cannon, just a few blocks north of the scene and took him into custody. Court documents show the suspect had a recent history of homelessness, and the incident happened right outside of the Union Gospel Mission, which is known to help those in need.
Street Roots, just across the street, gives a voice to the unhoused and says there were many nearby who witnessed it.
“I was able to go down and check on some of the people who are camped or spend time around that corner,” said Kaia Sand, executive director of Street Roots. “Talked to some people that witnessed it and just really concerned about them.”
Sand says many who witness this kind of violence and come so close to it are left with trauma that just builds up.
“When we have people living their lives in public, they are in situations where they end up more exposed to the violence in our city,” said Sand. “People on the streets are more often the victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators and that’s what we’re seeing so much with these homicides.”
It’s a sentiment shared by the executive director of Blanchet House, Scott Kerman, who added some they serve meals to were later murdered, including one earlier this year.
“These tragedies are profoundly sad and highlight the terror and trauma our unhoused neighbors live with each day,” said Kerman. “It underscores for Blanchet House how important our compassionate and nonjudgmental services are for people who come to us each day for help.”
As for the continued violence in Old Town, PPB says while the recent return of a police entertainment detail in Old Town’s Entertainment District will primarily work at night, they hope with more hires, to add patrols and resources during the day.
“We like to do any extra policing to enhance community safety whenever we can,” said Allen. “I think we could certainly use additional resources. I think there’s no question that we would like to be able to provide the services that the community is asking for.”
Police say they’re still working to confirm the victim’s identity and contact his family. As for the suspect, this is just the latest in a long list of criminal charges against Cannon according to court documents, including a disorderly conduct charge Thursday in Clackamas County.