Traffic barrels and signs have help dampen shootings near Mt. Scott Park, but it's up to the city, now, to do more

DAVID F. ASHTON - While they do seem to be helping, apparently A-frame signs and traffic barrels alone arent enough to prevent all daytime car-to-car shootouts in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood For reasons no one can explain, over the summer of 2021 the usually serene Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood and its city park became a stage for shooting incidents.

According to police and dispatch statistics, almost all of these incidents were vehicle-to-vehicle – or, someone in a car shooting at someone on foot. Many of the gun-based events took place around the perimeter of Mt. Scott City Park; but the car-to-car shootings were mainly on S.E. 72nd Avenue near Woodstock Boulevard.

As reported in a headline story in the November, 2021, issue of THE BEE, neighbors and the leadership of the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association (MSANA) came up with a desperate plan: Placing: traffic barrels with signs on the affected streets.

At that time, MSANA Chair Matchu Williams made it clear that the idea originated with the neighbors, but credited Andre Miller from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty's office for helping PBOT respond to their request to put these traffic restrictors in place.

Called a "pilot program" by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, these signs and barrels actually did reduce – but did not eliminate – such shooting incidents on their neighborhood streets, a point subsequently reported in the December BEE. "It was really good to have a person like Andre Miller on our side, getting us to the right people," Williams confirmed in mid-March. "Over the past five months, there's been a significant improvement, with far fewer shooting incidents on our streets.

"Granted (the traffic restrictions) haven't eliminated the problem, but it's definitely helped," asserted Williams. "And, starting up community programs, increased presence of Portland Parks & Recreation Park Rangers and additional Portland Police patrols, have contributed to the calm that's returning to our neighborhood.

"Neighbors tell us that they want to 'keep the momentum going', and say they desire ongoing permanent infrastructure improvements such as speed bumps, curb extensions, and perhaps planters installed to replace the temporary barrels and signs." relayed.

Nonetheless, these incidents are still occasionally happening this year. On the drizzly Sunday afternoon of February 27, shots were heard once again in the neighborhood. This time, it was on the north side of Mt. Scott City Park, along S.E. Harold Street.

East Precinct officers were dispatched at 3:49 p.m., and in the rain they placed yellow evidence markers over spent bullet casings just east of the Mt. Scott Community Center, and in front of the Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian Church.

The PPB Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) arrived to look into the shooting. "The results from the preliminary investigation suggests shots were fired between two moving vehicles," PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen told THE BEE. "There were no known injuries."

In the past month, 14 "Shots Fired" calls have been logged in this neighborhood, although at some of these calls, officers did not find any actual "evidence of shooting".

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