PORTLAND — Walking through the streets of northeast Portland, the marchers cried, “No justice, no peace.”
They numbered a few hundred compared to the thousands who took a knee on a Portland bridge last June to mark the death of George Floyd under the choking restraints of a Minneapolis policeman.
This May 22 event was called a “March Against Murder,” and some wore T-shirts that declared “Black Lives Matter.” But they were not focused on police killings. They were protesting the lives lost in a huge escalation of gun violence in Oregon’s largest city.
“Everybody wants to burn the city down when the police do something, and by right, I’m not going to tell you that we shouldn’t,” said Herman Greene, a Portland pastor recently elected to the city’s School Board, in a speech at a rally before the march. “But what are you willing to do when we’re doing the something? Where are you at, when we’re killing one another?”
As of Sunday morning, 37 people had died in Portland homicides this year, a more-than-sevenfold increase compared with the first five months of last year, and a stark contrast to Seattle, a larger city, where 11 homicides had been recorded as of late May. So far this year, the victims have disproportionately been people of color.
In Portland, shootings that wound people also have soared.
By the end of April, 89 people had been injured by gun violence, which is nearly triple the number for the first four months of last year and nearly quadruple that of the same period in 2019.
In a May 17 incident, four people wounded in a shooting in north Portland were dropped off at Emanuel Hospital, where the action did not end as a large emotional crowd gathered at the emergency department and ambulance bay. Police from throughout the city then converged “to diffuse arguments and fights that sprang up,” according to a Portland Police Bureau statement.
This surge in Portland shootings gained momentum in the second half of 2020, and was part of a broader national spike in gun violence, which last year rose by 42% in the 50 largest U.S. cities over 2019.
Jonathan Jay, a Boston University researcher who analyzed the increase, said that the economic and other stresses of the pandemic likely contributed to increased violence, and support services were harder to deliver to people at risk.
In Portland, Police Bureau officials point to another factor. They cite a City Council vote to disband a gun violence reduction team in response to local racial justice protests.
The unit had drawn criticism in an audit for targeting Black drivers in traffic stops that the bureau could not demonstrate were effective.
Police say the unit put officers on the street to talk with youth at risk to head off violence, and that the response to gun violence has been further weakened by an increase in officers leaving the force, budget cuts and the demands of responding to protests.
“We’ve created this perfect storm,” said Acting Sgt. Charles Asheim, who previously served on the disbanded gun violence reduction unit. “Our custodies and arrests have gone way down. We lack the criminal intelligence we once had. We just don’t have the contacts in the community.”
In April of this year, the Portland City Council approved $6 million to reduce gun violence, with the money invested in grants to community groups and adding 24 more rangers to the payroll of the Parks & Recreation Bureau.
Greene says that tying the disbanding of the police unit to the surge in violent crime is “extremely simplifying what’s going on. It is so much bigger than that.”
He notes that violent crimes, even before the unit was defunded, were on a long-term rise. Assault of all types climbed from less than 7,600 in 2016 to 9,102 in 2019, according to Portland Bureau Statistics.
During the rally, Greene said that “I would love to stand here and tell you that somebody else is going to come and make sure that’s we’re taken care of. But history shows me that they’re not.”
“This park should be filled”
Royal Harris, the organizer of the May 22 march, focuses on what people out-of-uniform can do to reduce the violence.
He is a 52-year-old Portlander who came of age in the 1980s as Los Angeles-based gangs exported drugs and violence to many cities across the West, including Portland. That decade marked the harrowing start of a more lethal era, when fist fights were more often replaced by shootings over turf and drugs.
Through the years, Harris lost to gun violence two cousins and a brother, Durieul, an aspiring rap artist who in 2013, at the age of 30, was shot in front of a nightclub.
Today, Harris works for Multnomah County, which encompasses Portland, in an initiative to get fathers more involved in parenting. Speaking at the rally before the march, he urged people to focus on the young people who are most at risk of gang violence, and are steeped in video games, music and movies that often portray conflict being resolved with lethal force. All of this, he says, can help to legitimize gun violence.
Harris says that conflicts today often play out on social media, where insults relayed through video chat messages can rapidly escalate into real-world encounters. During the pandemic, with schools shuttered for months, there was a lot more time for young people to mix things up online, and events in this virtual world can then set the stage for shooting, when shooting someone may be viewed as a way of showing you are strong and won’t be pushed around.
“We really want to focus on the mindset … This is about the community,” Harris said. “This is about Black men who talk about this [gun violence] all the time. And now we have a chance to talk about … how we plan on fixing it over the next 20 years.”
Harris publicized the “March Against Murder” in a May 16 column in The Oregonian, where he wrote that a goal would be “to inspire community members to create the change they want to see.”
His speakers included his friends, young and old, many of whom had a common thread of overcoming the loss of a loved one, incarceration or past gang involvement to try to help make their community a better place.
They were disappointed by the small turnout for the rally at the starting point — Peninsula Park in North Portland.
“This park should be filled. Because if we were talking about a police officer shot a Black man, there wouldn’t be a space for anybody to stand,” Green said.
A gathering spot for change
The marchers, escorted by police on motorbikes, walked a little more than a mile. The route traversed North Rosa Parks Way and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in an area that represented part of the historical heart of Portland’s Black community.
Along the way, they stopped for a few minutes of silence — fists raised — close by the sidewalk where Jordan Lee Louis, a 22-year-old youth, was gunned down. Louis died last July 28 when assailants stepped out of a car and shot more than 50 rounds.
Last year, his mother, Katie Louis, made a public plea to her son’s killers.
“I just want to know what happened to you,” Louis said as she met with reporters. “What traumas did you have to endure to be able to brutally murder my child in broad daylight in front of tons of witnesses? What happened to you?”
More than nine months later, no one has been charged in that homicide, according to the Police Bureau. And during the May 22 march, Louis’ mother was standing on the sidewalk where he died, holding a sign that read “our son, brother, father and soul mate was MURDERED here.”
The march ended a short distance away at Woodlawn Park, a tree-shaded urban oasis.
Harris hopped up on a picnic table and grabbed a megaphone to explain that he wanted to end up in this spot, which he described as a frequent gathering spot during his youth. Even as gentrification has reduced the number of Black people who live in this area, it still holds strong ties for residents. And, as people circle through, sometimes trouble flares — as it did the night that Louis died.
“This is ground zero for the problems … this is going to be ground zero for solutions,” Harris declared.
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What? Is this running concurrently with the Mafia’s march against crime?
Give me a break—these people create a problem and then condemn it.
“People of Color” is code for anti White racists. It only seeks to marginalize and isolate Whites only. I ask you, what color is White?
White is the color of the evil fall guy the browner folks blame for things that happened before they were even born by people long gone. Those folks are stuck in the past which is why they have not advanced, as a whole, as other disadvantaged peoples have.
Before you go and support the “Black Lives Matter” Con. Learn what it is and what it represents. “Black Lives Matter” is a HATE group.
Yusra Khogali (a muslim), leader of the “anti-racist” Black Lives Matter movement,
does not hide her hatred of white people in her comments on social media.
Yusra Khogali wrote on Facebook that “Whiteness is not humxness” and that “white skin is sub-humxn,”
(Khogali intentionally misspells “human” in order to eliminate “man” from the word, a common practice among radical feminists)
Yusra Khogali argued that white people are “recessive genetic defects” and purportedly mused about how the race could be “wiped out,”
Consider who she is. What she is. and where she comes from. That’s all a person needs to know she is beyond Psycho.
AND since they are avowed marxists, they should have never ever BEEN ALLOWED TO EVEN FORM up in this nation…
The Pastor says ” I’m not gonna tell you we shouldn’t burn the city down” ????????????????????????????????????????
What is up with that?
Let them burn Portland down. Couldn’t happen to a nicer more liberal city. Fires burn in all directions: left, right, and center.
Let this pastor’s CHURCH burn down, maybe then he’d rethink that assinine comment he made.
Portlanders and Preacher march to enforce the 6th Commandment. Had they remembered the other 9, as in the old days before Socialism, they would have no need to March. If this is their concept of Progressivism, why now revert to regression and the past. BECAUSE IT WORKED! Only people taught that “Vengence is Mine Saith the Lord” refrain from the animal urge to play god, and thus avoid that trigger pulling moment of lies, to enforce the life giving moment of truth. It has nothing to do with color, but about how you are raised, quality or quantity? Einstein, or Einsatzgruppen? Which is YOUR final solution and the destiny of your chosen Race? We humans already tried the goosestepping Marches of protest. That one was all about race too. Didn’t work, only brought death.
He’s not a pastor. he is a minister of hate. what he really needs to do is if it’s possible for him. Reread the Holy Bible. God is against lovers of violence. This man is headed nowhere. And he will definitely REAP what he SOW’S.
IMO This cretin is just as much a “man of god” as the Pope is!
portland oregon = beruit.
“Where are you at, when we’re killing one another?” Finally, NO, the police aren’t ‘hunting’ blacks and minoritties and YES, more minorities are killed by minorities by FAR than any other class of attackers. I hope this leads to more introspection for everyone’s sake.
Minorities killing minorities . . .In the catch words of the black instigators who inspire violence: SAY THEIR NAMES! (got several hours to complete reading the lists that blacks have created by killing blacks?)
Hope all you want. We’ve seen for DECADES, blacks don’t seem to CARE WHEN ITS THEIR OWN kind killing their own kind.. ONLY WHEN WHITES kill them, or when cops do, is it seen as an issue.
Portland, like the rest of the the Democratic party controlled and legislated cities promoting “minority victims” and defund the police mentality, will continue to result in the “self cleaning oven” concept of their predictable policies. Killers will kill killers and prospective killers . . the good people will continue to flee to red areas still in touch with reality and decency.
Back in the city I grew up in “back in the day” we had gangland slayings, gang fights which seldom resulted in deaths and the occasional clipping of some wise guy who pissed folks off. As one old lady put it as she was interviewed cleaning her front stoop “They’re just cleaning their own house”.
Just as long as those “Good people fleeing” LEAVE BEHIND THEIR LIBTARD IDEALS..
Too funny! The activist demand the police be defunded, support and participate in day after day, week after week, month after month of violence, riots, looting, and arson. They bully the Dem politicians in charge into giving them all a free pass for their violent criminal behavior, then whine for ‘justice’ when the lawless society they themselves created comes back and bites them. Hey, Portland – ain’t karma a b1tch!
It is too funny. Put a liberal and a person of color next to one another and they wouldn’t have half a brain between’em.
Unfortunately, the problems with Portland will not go away until they get DECENT LEADERS. The Democrat leaders in Portland, are some of the WORST in this country, and they have proven it time, after time ! They have allowed disgusting behavior to take place by criminals in their community, who were in charge of certain areas of their city. What kind of Leaders allow that ? Why don’t you start electing intelligent leaders to make your city safe again ?
IT also won’t go away, till JUSTICE returns.. IF that’s even possible.
Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, etc are all perfect examples of the “Broken Window Theory” of policing. They let the wild animals run wild and what have they gotten, more wild animals.
As has been said for years. WHEN YOU FAIL to punish bad behavior, and in fact REWARD IT< you will inevitably GET MORE BAD behavior..
Herman Greene, to me is another al brawley sharpton. A con, a hypocrite, an agitator of violence, a racist, a protector of the black criminals, a police hater. All of these people marched in the name of floyd, a drug crazed criminal who was resisting arrest, who couldn’t breath when first put inside the police car, a thief who had a long list of felonious activities, whose life was cheating and abusing others. A sorry sorry sorry person who should have been kept in a cage. Yet thousands hold a grudge against the police who were caught up in the end of his miserable drug filled life. This nation deserves the violence.
Getting rid of the police and / or handcuffing them so criminals cannot be arrested. The result crime goes up. Isn’t it funny that the Democrats are so mentally ill that they cannot figure out that crime will go up, if police are defunded or police are handcuffed from doing their jobs.
What is needed is more Psychologists, Sociologists, Social Workers, and Counselors.
I can just hear it now. Could you please stopping doing that.
Cave.. I hope you’re being sarcastic there.
Did I miss the sign about refinancing the cops and hiring more of them? _)*(&%$%$^&* *($#^**( &%$#%^* nuts.
Suck it up LOSERS. You REAP what you SOW. And the way you brain dead idiot’s function. You in for one heck of a wake up. Keep following this minister of hate who took a page out of another minister of hate’s book. AL SHARPTON.
“They numbered a few hundred compared to the thousands who took a knee on a Portland bridge last June to mark the death of George Floyd under the choking restraints of a Minneapolis policeman.”
The author forgot to mention that good ol’ Floyd had TRIPLE the lethal dose of fentanyl (?) in his system, along with other drugs which just may have contributed to his untimely death. national tragedy that it was.
If Floyd was in jail, where he belonged, he would be alive today.
What I would like to know is: why would anyone with a brain still be a policeman in Portland? The only explanations I can see are either (1) a deep, self-sacrificing sense of altruism, or (2) unsurmountable economic compulsion.
To mitigate the latter, cities and towns in red states and areas should take a deep breath, increase their taxes by one percent, and let it be known in the Barbarian areas that they’re hiring more policemen.
In exchange, they could give their own local barbarians and parasites one-way bus tickets to the Barbarian-controlled areas along with early release.
I suppose it would be nice — although not polite to say so — to think that this sort of social disintegration will be confined to the Barbarian (blue) areas.
But these people now control America, and are working to hollow out the military and police from within, while pushing on towards a huge economic collapse, maybe coupled with new wars in distant parts of the world where the locals really don’t want our democracy, pornography, and transgender outreach centers. They’ve already got control of the educational system.
In other words — one way or another, Portland may be coming to you.
So … sensible, prudent people — of whatever political persuasion — need to prepare.
seeing how many towns, and cities HAD almost the same thing happen As portland and seattle, it IS IMO already here.