The Tale of Two Cities – in One Portland

While I spent my last local-life-in-Portland weekend indulging in multiple live music performances (Cary played Friday night at T.C. O’Leary’s; Kathryn Clare rocked the Old Church to honor her newest album release) among heart felt tunes, solid food, stiff drinks, and lovely friends, another Portland community was grieving the tragic death of yet another one of their young men slain by firearm.

On Friday, I attended a meeting at the North Portland Police Precinct – The Community Peace Collaborative, an organization born out of this public safety crisis, rooted in the common goal of defeating the ongoing gun violence, terrorizing our beloved city. Portland is popularly known as a comfortable, trendy (largely in a Birkenstocks and granola kind of way), and affordable place for transplants from more expensive metropolises, like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Yet, we are in the midst of a nearly silent crisis few even recognize in the white, middle class pockets of Portland proper.

I learned between January 1 and February 7, 2020, the Portland Police Bureau responded to 67 shootings in the City – that is twice as many as the same period a year prior. Few of these incidents, which are generally concentrated in ‘hot spots’ in Portland’s roughest neighborhoods, received more than passing coverage by local media.  

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