Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: Community groups work to end gun violence disproportionately impacting Black men in Portland

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, March 30 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Community groups working to end gun violence disproportionately impacting young Black men in Portland

The city of Portland and several community-based organizations are working to help end gun violence that’s disproportionately impacting young Black men across the city. Portland’s Office of Violence Prevention has several programs aimed at combatting the issue, including spending $500,000 to fund five community-based groups. These groups work at the street level to reach young people and others caught up in the violence.

“What I see out here is a lot of misery, a lot of sorrow and mostly just a whole lot of trauma for our youth,” said Lionel Irving, director of non-profit Love is Stronger. “One of the biggest solutions is we need to empower the youth that are dealing with their traumas to get around the kids that aren’t dealing with their traumas. So we can have that positive influence. It’s contagious.”

Love is Stronger has taken aim at Portland’s gang violence over the last few years. The non-profit is one of the groups receiving $100,000 from the city to do outreach work this spring and summer. Irving said he’s grateful for the support, but wants to do more year-round.

2. Gov. Kotek commits extra $600K to homeless camp removal from ODOT property

Gov. Tina Kotek is committing an additional $600,000 in funding the city of Portland uses to remove homeless camps from Oregon Department of Transportation property. ODOT gives Portland $2 million each year to remove camps on its land that falls within city limits. The funding is supposed to last the city until June 30, but back in late January, that money ran out and put a pause on camp removals.

Mayor Ted Wheeler asked Kotek for an additional $1 million in funding to continue the removals. Kotek then directed ODOT to change its agreement with the city to add a one-time additional $600,000. Camp removals are scheduled to start up again on Saturday.

3. Parklane Park expansion scheduled to start next week

Portland’s Parklane Park is expected to quintuple in size by the fall of 2024. Portland Parks & Recreation says the park will soon undergo an expansion project scheduled to start next week. The upgraded park will grow from 5 acres to 25 acres and feature lots of new amenities.

“The new park will include a playground, splash pad, basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields, community events pavilion, covered picnic areas, community garden, skate park, dog off-leash area, paved walking paths, additional restrooms, parking and hundreds of new trees,” PP&R said.

PP&R says the enhanced park is expected to open by late fall 2024. The original master plan says Parklane Park’s recreational facilities will be further developed without significantly impacting Portlanders in the surrounding neighborhoods.

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