As gun violence continues to surge across Portland, residents pleaded with the City Council on Saturday, April 16, to do more to combat the problem.
During a listening session on the next session's budget, the council heard from a number of residents who want more money allocated to preventing gun violence and increasing police responses, plus investing in resources like unarmed public safety support specialists.
"Our top concern is with the shootings. From January through March, 390 shootings were reported, 144 of them was March, alone. The Portland Police Bureau is down to a historic low (staffing level)," said Laila Hajoo, co-chair of the Coalition of Advisory Groups. "We have heard positive reports from the community about PS3s (public safety support specialists). They're able to respond more quickly, walk through the situation with a person and cultivate better relationships with PPB."
Some rallied behind resources such as the Office of Violence Prevention, which is requesting $5.4 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to combat gun violence.
"Gun violence is a public health crisis here," said Dr. Elizabeth Klein, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. "It will pay to expand the mentoring program, street outreach and community intervention programs."
Late Friday night, a family was at their home on Southeast 155th Avenue near Burnside Street when gunfire pierced their house and entered their bathroom after 11:30 p.m. No one was hurt. But investigators said it could have been a much different situation.
On Saturday, the police bureau said they're doing what they can with current resources but need the larger community to chip in, in order to help tackle the problem.
"That's what it's going to take, in my opinion to get a handle on this and have a peaceful city," said Sgt. Kevin Allen.
Another listening session is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 18. Those wishing to testify must register by noon Monday here.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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