Portland, OR

Friday in Portland: Community leaders call for more help from city in Old Town amid uptick in crime

Emily Scarvie

(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, April 29 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Community leaders give update on Old Town, ask city officials to do more

On Thursday, community leaders and business owners in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown gave an update on the progress made so far to reinvigorate the area, while asking city officials to do more to ensure the safety of business owners, visitors and the hundreds of homeless people living on the streets.

“In April alone, almost half of the homicides in Portland, were just in Old Town,” said Jessie Burke, the chair of the Old Town Community Association. “I feel where we are now is pretty close to bottom.”

The association announced a 90-day plan to “reset for rebuilding and reopening” Old Town in March. Burke highlighted some of the progress that’s been made so far, including an aggressive effort to remove graffiti, daily trash cleanups and dedicated Clean and Safe workers in Old Town. There’s also been a 15% reduction in the number of tents in the area.

According to Burke, the new goal is to get everyone off the streets. “The goal for Old Town, is that we need no human living on the sidewalk. It is not safe, and I will not pretend a small decline in tents is improving our safety here.”

Burke called on Multnomah County officials to do more as the city’s local public health authority. However, officials pushed back on the claims that they’re not working toward solutions in Old Town.

2. Portland police report uptick in guns stolen from personal vehicles

Portland police are warning residents of a concerning trend they’ve seen recently across the city. “Right now, our city is grappling with the issue of stolen vehicles, but in recent days, officers have come to me with another trend that’s very concerning: an increase in reports of stolen vehicles and stolen guns,” Lt. Nathan Sheppard said.

Sheppard shared a video to Twitter on Thursday, asking gun owners to never leave firearms in their vehicles and instead make sure they’re stored securely. Kim Kapp, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department, said nearly half of stolen gun reports in the last 15 months were firearms stolen from personal vehicles.

Kapp reminded gun owners to keep documentation, such as serial numbers. That way, if a gun is stolen and law enforcement recovers it, they can return it to its owner.

3. King Farmers Market returns to NE Portland this weekend

The King Farmers Market returns to northeast Portland on Sunday. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through Nov. 20. Visitors can expect 30 vendors offering food demonstrations, educational activities for kids, live music and more.

The market is located at Northeast 7th and Wygant between Northeast Alberta and Prescott streets, in the parking lot adjacent to King Elementary School.

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