OPB Report: Rise of a private police force in downtown Portland
This is Part 1 of an Oregon Public Broadcasting three-part series.
This past August, John DiLorenzo, one of Portland's most prominent attorneys, decided he wanted something done about the homeless encampment on Southwest 12th Avenue and Taylor Street. The historic apartment building he co-owns, The Gentry, was just across the street. DiLorenzo said his tenants had complained about gunshots and drug deals at the camp all summer long.
He complained to the city, yet nothing changed. The campsite ranked low on the priority list of a city where tents can be found on many downtown blocks and police say they're overextended responding to a record number of homicides.
So DiLorenzo gave the city a push.
In mid-August, he hired private security company Echelon Protective Services to carry out a weekslong investigation into potential criminal activity at the campsite. DiLorenzo said a cohort of nearby property owners pitched in to pay, but he declined to say the cost.
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