As rain clouds loomed overhead, a few dozen people gathered at King School Park to talk about “solutions” for the violence that has recently touched the neighborhood.

The Wednesday evening meeting was put together in response to a shooting at the park on Aug. 24. A 20-year-old woman was shot in the hand in a drive-by shooting. The woman was sitting with others, and it’s still not clear who was being targeted.

Violence in Portland is not new. Portland police have recorded 121 gang-violence related calls this year — a record compared to last year’s 89.

Portland police, city staff and other organizational leaders spoke to the crowd about what government programs have accomplished and about their hopes that residents would join the effort to put a stop to violence.

One resident directly addressed police: Where are you? 

“We’re short; we’re really busy,” said North Precinct Cmdr. Chris Uehara, adding that the park is a public area.

So, what’s the solution?

Uehara suggested solutions start with better relationships between police and residents. He added that residents also need to know their neighbors better — an idea echoed by residents.

Shaking with passion, resident and local activist Sharon Maxwell, 50, of Portland interrupted the somewhat scripted talk by authorities to remind the crowd that the violence rises from a combination of socioeconomic and mental health problems, over-incarceration of black people and gentrification. 

— Nuran Alteir
nalteir@oregonian.com
503-294-4028
@whatnuransaid

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