A mass shooting in downtown Portland, shortly before the final call Saturday morning, killed an 18-year-old woman and injured six others near a food cart line in what police described as “an extremely chaotic scene.”
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the killing, along with another fatal shot four hours later in the Parkrose neighborhood, in deep northeast Portland, marked the 50th and 51st homicides of the year. Portland saw 55 homicides in 2020, a 26-year record but one with a pace that would be broken by the end of July.
In the past 36 hours, Lovell said, Portland had 11 shooting incidents, killing two people and injuring at least 11.
At a news conference this afternoon, Lovell and Mayor Ted Wheeler described the Police Bureau as unprepared and unparalleled by a wave of gunfire across the city.
“What we need is a plan,” Wheeler said. “The plan must acknowledge that the public safety needs of this city are changing and they are changing rapidly. It’s clear to me that we do not have adequate resources placed on our roads in a proactive way. ”
Lovell blamed a wave of officers leaving the force – 125 in the last year, he said – leaving police unable to patrol all neighborhoods hit by gunfire.
“We have had many years of growth as a city and a shrinking police department,” the chief said. “You can go that far in that direction before you reach a turning point.”
As of July 6, the city had seen 579 shooting incidents in 2021 – more than double the number at the time in 2020. For months, city leaders have debated fiercely whether to increase staff for a police force that saw its budget to be cut between races- justice protests last year and is followed by repeated allegations of excessive force.
But the shooting along Southwest Avenue 3 this morning was still shocking.
It happened three blocks south of Ankeny Alley, the center of a nightclub in the Old Town, where dance clubs have once again filled to capacity after pandemic closures. He “around the fun”, who was once surrounded and surrounded by police squad cars on weekend nights, now sees a rare police presence, despite what the club’s security describes as a gang fight located near the queues for their places.
The mass shooting happened just before 2:10 a.m. Saturday, police said, a block north of a food cart on Southwest 3rd Avenue. Witnesses were told Oregonasit that a blue car passes shortly after being shot. The CAP has provided some details of the incident, in addition to saying that they believe more people may have been injured than the officers estimated. “They found an extremely chaotic scene with a lot of people injured,” Lovell said.
Asked by World War Two why police presence in the Old Town entertainment district was low, Lovell said those officers were appointed after the closure of COVID reduced nightlife and meant the bureau was still learning that clubs were pulling crowds back.
“For us, we really just discover that things are opening up,” he said. “We want to have a presence there. It is a heavy demand for the Central Zone. ”
At 7:30 p.m., five hours after the press conference, Lovell announced that he was sending officers from the North and East areas to assist with patrols downtown.
Wheeler followed a cautious line in his remarks, calling for more proactive policing while constantly stressing the need for greater police accountability.
“We clearly have a homicide problem in our community,” he concluded. “The community should expect that we have adequate resources.”