PPB: 25 gang-related PDX shootings in May

As summer begins, many are concerned the violence will only continue to spread

Police recovered evidence of gunfire, but no gunshot victims were located at SE Market and 183rd Avenue, May 31, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)
Police recovered evidence of gunfire, but no gunshot victims were located at SE Market and 183rd Avenue, May 31, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After several weekend shootings, Portland police officers are continuing to discuss the growing problem of gang violence in the city. So far this year, there have already been at least 65 gun-related incidents, and the violence reported during the month of May is breaking records.

“There’s a lot of violence and drug activity going on,” Portland resident Ryan Pryse told KOIN 6 News.

Just after 8 p.m. Sunday, police raced to SE Market and 183rd Avenue after witnesses reported a drive-by shooting in the area, officials said. People nearby said they heard multiple gunshots and saw several cars speed away from the area.

Police recovered evidence of gunfire, but no gunshot victims were located.

Police recovered evidence of gunfire, but no gunshot victims were located at SE Market and 183rd Avenue, May 31, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)
Police recovered evidence of gunfire, but no gunshot victims were located at SE Market and 183rd Avenue, May 31, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)

Earlier in the day, two other shootings occurred. The first happened shortly before 11 a.m. at Holgate and 118th Avenue in Portland. Witnesses in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood said at least 3 people were involved. Police said it all started when a young bicyclist exchanged gunfire with 2 others. No victims were reported.

The second shooting was called in around 3 p.m. at E. Burnside and 172nd Avenue in Gresham.

“I sleep with my window open quite often because I like the air and I always hear what’s going on around me,” Pryse said. “There’s lots of guns around, people saying they are going to shoot somebody.”

The weekend shootings come on the heels of gunfire that injured 3 at the Last Thursday festival on NE Alberta Street. Just last weekend, 2 other shootings were reported in the Portland metro area.

“It’s not uncommon for people that would do this sort of thing to not care about anybody else, but to see it happen so brazenly in broad daylight,” Police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.

Sunday night, Simpson confirmed 25 shootings had been reported in Portland throughout the month of May.

“It’s really unheard of, certainly the Gang Enforcement Team and investigators have been burning the candle at both ends,” Simpson said.

As summer begins, many are concerned the violence will only continue to spread.

“Now that the weather is nicer, I think there is going to be more of them which is kind of scary,” Pryse said.

Simpson said the Portland Police Bureau is challenged by the number of resources available, and the number of shootings occurring in the city. To help combat the violence, day shift gang investigators and officers have been moved to the afternoon shift.

Tactical operations have also considered pulling police from precincts to help with gang enforcement in the Portland metro area.

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