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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mayor, Police Respond to N Portland Shootings

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 5:34 PM

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Mayor Sam Adams, Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and other police officials gathered this afternoon in North Portland to discuss a number of recent shootings in the area, which were allegedly gang-related.

The most recent death was that of Billy Moore, a 17-year-old who Reese said "appears to have been an innocent victim in the wrong spot." A 17-year-old male suspect is in custody, and has been charged with one count of Murder.

The shooting happened in the 8900 block of N. Woolsey Street, near New Columbia, a mixed-income housing developments. On Tuesday, June 15, a young man who was not a New Columbia resident was shot in nearby McCoy Park and taken to the hospital for injuries.

Additionally, on Friday, June 18, 41-year-old Shawn Decoal Crawford was killed in a shooting at N. Albina and N. Jessup.

Gang violence typically rises in the summer months, due to warmer weather and elevated unemployment, said Adams. But responses from the Police Bureau's Gang Violence Response team have already reached 10 this month. In comparison, there were only four responses in June of the previous two years.

North Precinct Commander Jim Ferraris outlined some short-term steps the Police Bureau is taking to reduce gang-related violence, including increased cooperation between divisions and heavy patrolling of high-traffic corridors. "This is a short term strategy, that will allow us to develop a long-term strategy," said Ferraris.

Reese says there are no clear guidelines for identify whether violence is gang-related. "We use our best judgment, and listen to what people are telling us on the streets," he says. "It's seat-of-your-pants intel."

In last night's incident, says Reese, somebody flashed a gang sign at the victim shortly before he was shot. Gang violence "isn't always about feuds," he says. "Sometimes it can involve drugs or prostitution, which often have a nexus with gang activity."

Sam Adams also took the opportunity to tell citizens how they could help reduce criminal gang activity. He suggested that citizens call 834-HELP 823-HELP to report gang violence, volunteer with the Parks and Recreation department's summer youth programs, and get involved with neighborhood citizen patrols by calling 834-4000.

He also said that the New Columbia development's Boys and Girls Club is urgently seeking summer volunteers. They can be reached at (503) 853-8678.

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