PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced the City of Portland will get an $800,000 grant to address rampant vehicle thefts in the city.
According to the lawmakers, the Department of Justice grant to the City of Portland will help the Portland Police Bureau collect data on stolen cars and develop a digital database to help officers better identify stolen vehicles in the city.
Portland has seen over 10,000 reported vehicle thefts so far in 2023, according to PPB, an average of more than 35 per day, — noting a majority of thefts have occurred in the Hazelwood, Northwest, Lents, and Downtown areas.
“When folks go to hop in their cars to get to work, doctor’s appointments, or the grocery store, they should feel certain that their vehicle will be there waiting for them—not stolen without a trace,” Merkley said. “Ensuring local law enforcement has the tools needed to address the mounting stolen vehicle theft in the city will help drivers feel more confident to park in Portland.”
“Portlanders and anybody visiting the city must be able to park anywhere in town free of fear their car will be stolen,” Wyden said. “Auto theft obviously undermines quality of life, and I’m glad these federal funds are en route so Portland can mount a full-scale attack on this crime.”
The grant comes after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with PPB, created organized retail theft and auto theft task forces after violent stolen vehicle attempts.
From 2019 through 2022, auto thefts in the area rose 68%, with 2022 setting an all-time record for theft, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt previously said.
A number of cases have been dropped by the courts due to a lack of public defenders, however, Schmidt said adding staff will help lead to successful prosecutions.