PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sixteen cars were towed and 14 people were arrested after street racers took over multiple streets in Portland Sunday night. Some of those arrested were from California and Washington.
Around 8 p.m., more than 400 vehicles gathered around NE Airport Way and 122nd for speed racing event, Portland police said. Authorities said the participants posted the upcoming event on social media and invited people from other states to join.
The street racers “briefly took over the top deck of the Fremont Bridge, the Interstate Bridge, Sunset Highway tunnel and multiple intersections including Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard/Northeast Columbia Boulevard, North Marine Drive/North Portsmouth Avenue, and North Lombard St/North Ramsey Boulevard,” PPB said.
People were seen riding on the hoods of cars around NE Sandy Boulevard in the Goodwill parking lot, officials said.
Those arrested range in ages from 19 to 24 and face a variety of charges. Two of them are from California — Rio Linda and Santa Cruz — one is from Seattle, 2 are from Salem, one from Lebanon and a number are of “unknown residence.”
Eight others were ticketed. Spike strips were used to deflate the tires on 2 cars trying to get away. One car hit a pole at North Columbia and Argyle, but no one was hurt. Two other crashes were reported — one on I-5 at Marine Drive, the other at NE 122nd and Halsey. No one was hurt in these, officials said.
Along with the arrestees, 3 juveniles in a stolen car were detained and released to their parents for a future court appearance.
A nearby resident told KOIN 6 News that while the danger street racing creates is bad enough, he’s also concerned about what these events bring to the neighborhood.
“The violence—there’s been multiple fights out here, gun shots, bottle rockets, fires. It gets bad,” said Jimmy Overly.
“They’re coming to Portland for the weekend to these events because it’s fun,” said Captain David Abrahamson of the Portland Police’s Traffic Division. “And it’s disheartening, I don’t think the public sees the cause and effect on innocent victims.”
“We’ve attracted people from Seattle, Nevada, Northern California—honestly because we’ve allowed it to take place.”
Street racing has been an ongoing problem in Portland over the years and increasingly recently. Police say for several years, they’ve tried to work with street racers to encourage them to race legally at places like the Portland International Raceway.
“Addressing these crimes has been challenging and resource intensive,” PPB said. “With additional resources available, PPB was able to be more effective in addressing the problem.”