Mayor: Gang violence a 'public health crisis' in Portland


by Staff

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 6:20 AM

PORTLAND -- Gang violence is on the rise in Portland this year, with the latest shooting injuring an innocent 5-year-old boy visiting his grandparents.

Portland police have responded to 72 gang-related violence calls so far in 2014, up from 52 at this time last year.

Officers are doing what they can to stay a step ahead of the gang activity, but Portland's mayor said the community needs to help, too, in order to make an impact.

"I ask everyone in our community to take a stand on the issues of gang violence prevention and illegal gun violence by coming forward to provide information on the shooters," said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. "If community members will cooperate, we can get these dangerous, reckless criminals off the streets."

Hales said the gang violence has gotten so bad in Portland, it has become a "public safety and a public health crisis."

 "Everyone in our community must rise and face this issue," he encouraged.

As for the most recent victim, the 5-year-old child is recovering after getting shot in the leg.  He was caught in gang gunfire while visiting his grandpa and grandma and going for a swim in their community pool.

The boy's grandfather told KGW he's thankful the child is alive after such a terrifying act of violence.

The gunfire rang out just before 9 p.m. at the Laurel Place Apartments in the 12500 block of SE Powell Boulevard, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family victimized by this terrible event," Hales said.

Gunfire also erupted at the same apartment complex in November, 2013 and a 24-year-old woman named Precious Antanaye Jackson was killed.

Anyone with information about this or other gang violence was urged to call the Portland Police Bureau Tactical Operations Division at 503-823-4106.

Tips on gun crimes can also be emailed to