By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
Local hospitals aren’t the only ones seeing a surge of patients sick with RSV. Urgent care centers in Portland are seeing thousands of patients for testing and treatment. Many of those that show up at urgent care have the flu. With RSV, COVID-19 and the flu having similar symptoms, many are testing to find out what they have.
People can test for COVID-19 at home, but clinics can test for the flu and viral pneumonia, as well as RSV. Oregon Health and Science University’s medical data forecasting predicts that RSV cases will peak statewide soon, but many people are still hospitalized.
On Nov. 23, Portland recorded its 93rd homicide of the year, surpassing last year’s record of 92 homicides. Raja McCallister, 45, was shot and killed in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood last Wednesday, according to police. Of the 93 deaths, four people were shot by Portland police and one by a Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputy during a pursuit into Portland.
The city’s grim milestone comes just two years after Mayor Ted Wheeler announced plans to resurrect the Gun Violence Reduction Team. The controversial unit was disbanded in 2020 in response to racial justice protester’s demands. An audit found that the unit disproportionately targeted people of color.
Gun violence in Portland began increasing in the second half of 2019 and accelerated through 2020 and 2021. Faced with a rise in gun violence across the city, city hall brought back the gun violence team’s investigative capabilities with the launch of the Enhanced Community Safety Team last year, then the Focused Intervention Team in January 2022.
During a press conference on March 17, Wheeler highlighted the team’s many successes in its first two months.
“It shows that police reform is working,” Wheeler said. “If we had more funds for more officers and more [public safety support specialists], we could do more to bring public safety to more Portlanders using a community-led community policing model.”
Nationally, homicide rates are down by as much as 4% in 2022, according to data from AH Datalytics.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on the new tolls likely coming to the interstates around Portland soon. It’s not clear where the toll sites will be yet. ODOT says the money from tolling will improve congestion on I-5 out of Portland by funding new projects and keeping people off highways.
ODOT says Portland is currently 11th in the country for congestion, and more people continue to move into the city. Congestion pricing is expected to improve travel because fewer vehicles will be on the road during busy times. It will also provide revenue to fund critical projects.
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