PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A makeshift memorial has sprouted at the North Portland intersection where the bodies of 3 people were found Saturday afternoon after shots rang out near the Charles Jordan Community Center.
The broad daylight shooting at North Foss Avenue and Foss Court happened around 12:30 p.m. No arrests have yet been made and the victims have not yet been publicly identified.
This triple homicide brings the total homicides in Portland this year to 17, with 16 of them by gunfire. At this same point last year Portland had recorded 23 homicides on its way to a second-consecutive record-setting number of killings, police statistics showed.
Sam Sachs, the founder of the No Hate Zone, told KOIN 6 News he wants to see the city, county and state leaders do more to address this violent crime.
“We have three more people gunned down in broad daylight in the city, feet from a park, near a community center,” Sachs said. “There doesn’t seem to be any urgency or sense of care from the city, state, or county to address gun violence in our community.”
He added the gun violence and murders in Portland are “being normalized.”
“What is it going to take for the city and county to take the issue seriously? It’s baffling to me,” he said. “This cycle of violence is only going to get worse.”
City leaders issue statements
Five shootings were reported in Portland in 4 days in various parts of the city: the Foster-Powell neighborhood, North Portland and Southeast Portland all before the triple homicide. Then on Sunday morning, gunfire peppered a Northeast Portland neighborhood, hitting 4 houses and a car.
There are 29 detectives responsible for investigating homicides, missing persons, kidnappings and arsons.
In a Saturday tweet, Mayor Ted Wheeler said the violence is devastating and noted staff from the city’s Office of Violence Prevention went to the scene.
His office said the mayor was busy on Monday and declined a request for an interview with KOIN 6 News.
Others on the city payroll — including the director of Community Safety and the manager of the Office of Violence Prevention, did not respond to calls or emails from KOIN 6 News.
However, KOIN 6 News did receive statements from both the mayor and the Office of Violence Prevention.
Mayor Wheeler’s statement:
“The murder of three people over the weekend is still an active investigation and we continue
to seek information from the public to bring justice to those impacted by this tragedy. As such,
we are limited in the information we are able to provide at this time. My team and I have been
in regular communication with the Portland Police Bureau and our public safety partners. We
have deployed additional police personnel from the Enhanced Community Safety Team,
Homicide Unit & Focused Intervention Team to investigate and provide further assistance. Staff from the Office of Violence Prevention and outreach partners continue to meet with those who have been impacted by this violence. We have also redeployed street level outreach teams to connect with community members and interrupt further safety disruptions.”
In their statement, the Office of Violence Prevention said, in part:
“While the Portland Police Bureau continues their investigation into the shooting, the City’s
Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) has been working closely with culturally specific
organizations to provide appropriate and compassionate wrap-around services for the families
affected by this tragedy. These organizations include IRCO, Going Home II, POIC, Global
Movement Network and the African Refugee and Immigrant Organization.
“However, OVP recognizes these services alone are not enough to address the root causes of
gun violence in our community. There is demand, now more than ever, to keep street level
outreach and violence prevention programs funded.”
OVP officials said they just awarded $500,000 to 5 community-based partners who “have lived experience, access, credibility and a willingness to address Portland’s gun violence
with street level outreach workers and credible messengers.”