PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s declaration of a gun violence emergency wasn’t enough to stop 88 shots fired in Old Town Friday, the latest of three incidents, two shootings and one fatal stabbing since the July 22 declaration.
No one was injured in the shootout, captured on video by Portland Police’s Air Support Unit — but two cars and several businesses were hit by bullets.
On Friday, the Lan Su Chinese Gardens told KOIN 6 that they have seen fewer customers because of the trend of gun violence in the area.
On Monday, Chef Naji, the owner of the Kasbah Moroccan Cafe told us the same thing.
“The reputation of Old Town is bad for locals. We don’t know what we can do for the reputation for the area,” Naji said.
Naji says homeless camps and tents are less prevalent around his store, a noted success of the 90-day reset town the Old Town Community Association implemented in part with the Mayor’s Office and Portland Police.
However the guns and gun violence remain, and dozens of shots fired near where people are still sleeping on the streets further traumatize a population already struggling with mental health, according to Blanchet House Executive Director Scott Kerman.
“This happened in the wee hours of the morning. How startling and how scary that must be for the people who are both unhoused and housed who live down here in Old Town,” Kerman said.
Kerman says Blanchet House has added mental health support for the people they serve. He says a shootout can trigger veterans who are struggling with PTSD.
“Our hearts really go out to them because, if you can imagine, bringing that combat experience back home then having to, in the middle of the night, hear a gunfight like this, it must really rock their world,” he said.
At one point in the Air Support Unit video, officers call out for three potential shooting suspects. Two people were arrested and PPB still requests more information for finding other suspects.
Travis Gaters III and Tamarjay Polk were arrested and in court Monday on a first-appearance hearing. Polk has several prior convictions, including robbery charges in 2015. He is facing federal charges which records show he is likely to plead guilty to later this month. Polk is also on a pretrial release from charges in Multnomah County where records also show, he’s facing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Kerman says the city needs a “greater sense of urgency” in addressing the gun violence in the neighborhood
“It does sometimes feel like one step forward, two steps back and I think this is what we’re just going to have to deal with,” Kerman said. “We’re just going to keep persevering as a district.”
Wheeler’s spokesperson said this shooting continues to highlight the need for an emergency response to gun violence.
“Safer Summer PDX is focused on making meaningful connections with this high risk population to stop violence like this from happening. Mayor Wheeler has worked closely with the Portland Police Bureau to provide additional public safety resources to the neighborhood through increased patrols,” said Cody Bowman.