With less than two weeks remaining in 2020, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Chuck Lovell and Office of Violence Prevention Director Nike Greene announced preliminary plans to try and curb a dramatic increase in shootings and homicides.
The plan, announced Friday evening, calls for more detectives to be assigned to investigate and follow up on shootings, and more outreach and hospital-based trauma responders to be deployed when someone is shot. The mayor has also asked the Police Bureau and Office of Violence Prevention to submit budget requests to better allow those agencies to respond to gun violence.
The announcement comes months after an Aug. 6 press conference when Wheeler promised a plan was imminent to address a problem that was ballooning as early as March, when the city recorded a 150% increase in shooting injuries.
So far this year, there have been 858 shootings in Portland, with 224 people shot and 39 homicides involving a firearm, far outpacing previous years. Now, as a year many hope will be a statistical outlier in nearly every way comes to a close, there is little consensus as to what should be done to address the problem — and concern that the spike in shootings may not be an aberration.
— Jonathan Levinson in Portland announces initial steps to curb skyrocketing shootings and homicides