Old Town crime increase concerns some businesses

Crime

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The latest stabbing in Old Town has some businesses ready to make an exit.

For 9 years, Ascendant Coffee and Brewery has called Portland’s Old Town neighborhood home. But after repeated calls to police, homeless camps surrounding her business and even being assaulted in her own shop, owner Dana Rennaker is ready to close her doors.

“In the last year it’s the worst its ever been in the last 9 years,” Rennaker said. “We have drug deals up the street, we had someone chase someone down the street with a machete.”

Portland police have an office right in the neighborhood and patrol regularly, but Rennaker said businesses like hers still don’t feel safe.

“It’s become frustrating,” she said. “We call the city, we call the police, we call Clean and Safe and nobody seems to be able to help us.”

On Monday, May 13, police responded to a stabbing near the Steel Bridge. One person went to the hospital. 

Last month, 29-year-old Trayontay Jones was fatally shot near NW 4th and Burnside and that same month, another person was stabbed in the area.

“There’s been a lot more activity, a lot more violent activity,” said Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee. “I’m not putting that on the police. I think the police are doing what they can and they are stretched thin already.”

Suspects have been arrested in each of those cases.

Williams feels the neighborhood that’s known for providing services to the homeless shouldn’t be defined by its crime. 

“There are so many artistic, creative people all out here,” he said. “This is where we have been for a long time. I’m not leaving and I hope it only gets better, but if it doesn’t I’m still going to be here.”

People at other businesses said they’ve noticed an increase in crime but no one seems to know the solution to turn things around. 

Police have responded to reports of crimes in the neighborhood more than 2,000 times since March 2018. Police did not respond to a request for comment. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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