Gang Violence Task Force Re-named to Reflect Mission: Community Peace Collaborative
MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2014 — Community members last week voted to change the name of the Gang Violence Task Force to better reflect the task force’s mission. It is now called Community Peace Collaborative: A Coalition for Violence Prevention and Achievement.
“It’s fitting,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, whose office chairs the collaborative. “The name recognizes the progress achieved, outreach performed, and goals ahead.”
A community member suggested changing the name at a meeting on Aug. 29. Community members and agency representatives at the task force — including the Police Bureau and Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Services, as well as schools, housing and nonprofits — discussed the topic at two subsequent meetings.
The group of committed partners come together twice monthly to develop solutions, interventions and prevention strategies to reduce violence and crime in Multnomah County. The progress and achievements of the Community Peace Collaborative will be a result of collaborative strategies, responsiveness to community priorities and our focus on the reduction of crime and the fear of crime.
Ultimately, the group’s goal is that all citizens of Multnomah County live free of violence. The Collaborative seeks to achieve this by positively affecting the youth, families, and residents whose lives have been impacted by violence, and by promoting public safety through incorporation of the best and most innovative practices of community partnership to reduce violence, and crime.
'Enough is Enough' Call to Action: Community Led, Offering Solutions; Join the Campaign
THURSDAY, SEPT. 18, 2014 -- As of Sept. 17, 2014 there have been 92 gang-related violence incidents in the city of Portland, the majority of which have involved firearms. The number of incidents thus far in 2014 is a dramatic increase from previous years. Tragically Ervaeua Herring, a 21-year-old pregnant woman, was fatally shot in a gang-related attack in her apartment; she was the city’s 15th homicide. Last year there were 16 homicides by the end of the year.
The mayor's Office of Youth Violence Prevention, with the assistance of other local government agencies, is currently encouraging community members to step forward and support victims of violence, while encouraging witnesses to speak to case investigators, through a community led campaign entitled "Enough is Enough." The goal of this campaign or call to action is to stop violence within our community.
During a recent “Enough is Enough” meeting the CEO of the Urban League of Portland, in a heavy voice said, “Standing up is hard. But it’s easier than watching loved ones die. Enough is enough.”
The community-generated “Enough is Enough” campaign is working on an ubiquitous message: The community will not tolerate gang related violence.
In addition, the Office of Youth Violence Prevention manages and or is involved in a number of programs all of which offer assistance to at risk youth and their families. See http://www.portlandonline.com/safeyouth for information.
If you wish to become involved in the “Enough is Enough” campaign, you can e-mail or call Office of Youth Violence Prevention (OYVP) Director Antoinette Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-3584, or OYVP Policy Manager, Tom Peavey at email@example.com or 503-823-4180.
Police Chief Reese Releases Video on Community Trust
MONDAY, AUG. 25, 2014 — Portland Police Chief Mike Reese last week released a video message to the community that emphasized the Police Bureau’s commitment to building diversity, responsible and accountable use of force, and transparency in the bureau.
“Trust is a perishable commodity—something we must build every day,” Chief Reese says in the video.
The chief released the video in the context of turmoil incited by a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. Mayor Charlie Hales, commissioner of the Police Bureau, on Aug. 14 released a statement on the violence in Ferguson.
“No law-abiding people should ever have reason to fear the police,” the mayor said.
As Portland police work with the community to combat gang violence, supporting the “Enough is Enough” campaign that encourages witnesses to come forward with information to solve gang-related crimes, the bureau is working to improve community trust.
Mayor Hales has worked to build that trust, prioritizing new training for bureau members that emphasizes appropriate use of force, de-escalation and equity. And the bureau this year started receiving training on systemic inequities, implicit bias and cultural diversity.
Read the transcript. Watch the full video:
Moms Demand Action Organization Offers Support for Campaign
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 20, 2014—Following Monday’s “Enough is Enough” campaign community meeting, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has reached out to find out what the organization can do to support “Enough is Enough.”
Antoinette Edwards, director of the mayor’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention, facilitated the meeting Monday; the campaign is community-led with support from Mayor Charlie Hales’ office. Ultimately the community wants to create an environment in which gangs cannot operate.
On Wednesday Edwards received an e-mail from a Moms Demand Action volunteer who was moved by the meeting.
“I attended Monday's meeting mostly to listen to and learn from my fellow attendees. It was a moving and enlightening evening,” wrote Rebecca Cohen, a volunteer with the organization. “The goals and activities of Moms Demand Action overlap with those of ‘Enough is Enough’ in many ways. We work with survivors and family members affected by gun violence, and we advocate nationally for stronger gun safety laws that will reduce the amount of guns in circulation, which too often end up in the hands of dangerous individuals.”
Edwards is in communication with Cohen to unite the campaign’s efforts with the organization. The support bolsters the “Enough is Enough” campaign, whose goal is to achieve ubiquity in gang-affected neighborhoods.
“I, too, have lost a family member to gun violence,” Cohen wrote. “While the details and stories of each senseless death are unique, the sudden pain of losing a loved one is something we all unfortunately share.”
Community Meeting Encourages Residents to Say 'Enough is Enough'
TUESDAY, AUG. 19, 2014 — In a packed meeting room at the Community Policing Facility on Monday evening, Lucy Mashia’s voice broke.
Gang members, “have gotten so bold they’re kicking in doors and shooting women,” said Mashia, whose son Leonard Irving Jr. was shot and killed in 2011. “We’re being held hostage by cowards.”
Mashia was among the mothers of victims of gang-related shootings who shared their experiences at a community meeting aimed at galvanizing support for the “Enough is Enough” campaign against gang violence. The campaign is an effort to build a culture of witnesses coming forward with information, creating an environment in which gangs cannot operate.
This weekend marked the 87th gang-related violence call in the city this year—a dramatic increase from recent years. Ervaeua Herring, a 21-year-old pregnant woman, was fatally shot in a gang-related attack in her apartment on Sunday; she was the city’s 15th homicide. Last year there were 16 homicides by the end of the year.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to the neighbors of everyone affected by this violence in our city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Monday. “This is intolerable. The city and police are continuing to do what we can to stop the violence in the community. But we need the community’s help.”
Antoinette Edwards, director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, on Monday encouraged the crowd to brainstorm ways to break the “snitch code” of silence, and to come forward as witnesses to help put attackers behind bars.
“Where’s our outrage?” Edwards asked the crowd. “This is what this meeting is about: Our community, making a difference. Enough is enough.”
The mayor’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention has several multi-agency efforts to reach out to youths and families to break generational ties to gangs (Gang Impacted Family Team); to reach out to gang members (Street-Level Gang Outreach Program); and to connect misdemeanor offenders with resources such as mentors, housing, job readiness and education in order to support stable futures (Court Bench Probation Project).
The community-generated “Enough is Enough” campaign hopes to add to those efforts a ubiquitous message: The community will not tolerate gang activity.
“The whole community knows who killed my son, but they still haven’t been arrested,” Mashia said, calling people to come forward with information.
Michael Alexander, president and CEO of the Urban League of Portland, in a heavy voice said, “Standing up is hard. But it’s easier than watching loved ones die. Enough is enough.”
Statement from Mayor on Gun Violence, Aug. 16-17, in Portland
MONDAY, AUG. 18, 2014 – This weekend, Portland saw an intolerable outbreak of gun violence: a 12:37 a.m. Sunday shooting on Southeast Third Avenue; a 5 a.m. shooting on Powell Boulevard; a 10:41 p.m. shooting in Northgate Park.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to the neighbors of everyone affected by this violence in our city. This is the 87th gang-related violence call in our city this year – a dramatic increase from recent years.
The community is organizing an “Enough is Enough” meeting, 6 p.m., at the Community Policing Center, 449 N.E. Emerson St. This is a meeting organized by the community, for the community. The goal is to stop violence within our community; and to provide support for victims, their families, and Portlanders at large.
Participants will be asked for their guidance and advice within their areas of interest.
For more information, contact the Office of Youth Violence Prevention at (503) 823-3584.
Violence in Ferguson, Mo.
Statement from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Michael Brown, the young man shot in Ferguson, Mo. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community of Ferguson. And also to the African-American community in Portland, and throughout Oregon, and throughout our nation.
No law-abiding people should ever have reason to fear the police. Yet we must honestly admit that, too often, this is not true for a wide swath of our community: people of color.
That’s why I’ve made it a priority to join with many of my fellow mayors to focus on the lives of young black men in our community. Mayors like Michael Nutter in Philadelphia, and Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans, and I are focusing on this very topic through the Black Male Achievement Initiative.
In Portland, we are focusing on ways to collaborate with the community and to intercede on behalf of young African-Americans in the areas of jobs, education and incarceration rates. This is vital work. That is as true in Portland as it is everywhere.
Also in Portland, we have put a priority on new training for our Police Bureau, with an emphasis on the appropriate use of force, on de-escalation and on equity. Bureau members have begun receiving training on systemic inequities, implicit bias and cultural diversity. In July, as mayor and police commissioner, I joined in three intensive days of training for my staff and the top officials of the police department, on these very topics. The training, called White Men as Full Diversity Partners, was controversial to some but understood by many. But this week’s headlines provide just one example of why such training is vital.
We, as a society, have consistently failed multiple groups of Americans. We cannot continue to do so in the future.
Mayor Charlie Hales
Mayor Celebrates Community Safety, Unity at National Night Out Events
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6, 2014 — Jordan, 3, looked apprehensively at the plume of hamburger-scented smoke rising from the grill.
“Fire! Fire!” he shouted, looking up at the Portland Fire and Rescue firefighters towering behind him. “It’s hot!”
“The kid’s a natural,” said Battalion Chief Mark Kaiel. “He’s got a future.”
Firefighters with Station 2, Truck 2 on Tuesday evening were at Columbia Ridge Apartments for the Wilkes neighborhood National Night Out event, one of about 100 citywide. Since 1983, on the second Tuesday in August residents nationwide gather in their neighborhoods to demonstrate their commitment to safety and community. Law enforcement and emergency services attend events in their neighborhoods.
“This crew responds to this complex a few times a year,” Kaiel said. “It’s good for residents to see these guys outside of a crisis. And it’s good for the crew to see residents in a fun environment.”
Mayor Charlie Hales attended several National Night Out events Tuesday to talk with residents in an informal setting, sharing food, meeting kids, and hearing about the neighborhood.
“These events are a fantastic way to get people out into their neighborhoods,” Hales said. “A united neighborhood strengthens the fabric of community — critical for safety and prosperity.”
At Wilkes in East Portland, kids clamored in and out of a fire truck, handing their cellphones to firefighter Matt Fullerton to snap a photo.
In a Cully neighborhood apartment complex, Clara Vista Apartments, kids took over a police car, finding the button for the lights, the PA system, and — to the panic of police officers — the radio.
“No emergency,” Portland Police Officer Graham said into this chest radio, “just some kids.” He turned to the car: “OK, guys, time to get out.”
At the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in far Northeast Portland, kids from widely varied backgrounds ran around the gym with bouncy balls and hula hoops, pausing for face painting or to pull a block from the giant Jenga game.
At Binford Condominium Association’s event in Northeast Portland, former State Sen. Avel Gordly chatted with the mayor and First Lady over bratwurst and fruit. Used books were out for the taking, and kids ran around the expansive yard, pausing to smack a piñata and feed a parrot.
Marigold HydroPark hosted Southwest Portland’s Markham neighborhood event. Families gathered at picnic tables full of food and kids played with enough soccer balls to keep them dashing about.
In South Burlingame Park, the band Still Kickin’ — comprised of friends who’ve been jamming for nine years — played as children explored a fire engine, snatching stickers from firefighters Shannon Ellison and Josh Clemmer.
“National Night Out celebrates neighborhood safety and unity,” Hales said. “Look around — it’s working. People are having fun, hanging out. What a great, worthwhile event.”
Mayor Hales Dedicates Funds to Helping Human Trafficking Survivors
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and commissioners at Wednesday’s City Council meeting approved a $297,000 grant to support Janus Youth Programs’ shelter beds, treatment and case management services for human trafficking victims between 18 and 25 years old.
“The program saves women’s lives,” Hales said. “And it helps make the community safer by removing gangs’ revenue source.”
Humans have become the second-most lucrative commodity on the black market behind drugs, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reports. Gangs and other criminal organizations prefer humans because they’re a reusable resource; they can be resold.
That horrific dehumanization most frequently affects teenagers, both girls and boys, and is becoming more common in Portland because of the city’s position on Interstate 5 and the airport. Traffickers recruit girls who are 12 to 14 years old, spanning socioeconomic status, education level, and race, according to the district attorney.
Portland Police Capt. Mike Geiger on Wednesday spoke in support of the funding. His highlighted the tremendous need to support safe places for trauma victims.
Below is his written statement.
Below is a transcript of Sgt. Geiger's remarks at Council:
"This has been a long fight, a difficult one. We’ve been engaged in it for a few years now, and I think that much of what we’ve been trying to come to grips with is how does that happen here and what’s going on with our children and our community.
Human trafficking is becoming one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world today. We’ve been trying to figure out how we strike a balance between accountability, between law enforcement, and the needs of the child — the needs of the vulnerable and the violated.
What this funding shows me is confirmation that the city of Portland has chosen to take a stand on behalf of the vulnerable, and on behalf of the violated. And I would say that support for law enforcement and support for the victims are not mutually exclusive. What we have come to learn is the way in which we view an individual dictates the way we respond to that individual. So, by providing advocacy resources and a safe place to stay, we’re telling them that the overriding goal is the restoration, and their removal from the life of exploitation and victimization to one of health and safety and a positive future. Those things can’t be accomplished absent the support services we brought to bear on their behalf.
Young people, whether they are teenagers or people in their twenties or whoever they are, they desire safety, and they desire security, and they need first and foremost to have their emotional and physical needs met before we begin to address the other facts. I think this is what this funding does, what we have seen is a dramatic increase in our ability to prosecute cases both at the state and federal level. It has been remarkable.
What I would submit, we would have never been able to accomplish that absent the support from the people like Janus Youth Programs and the Sexual Assault Resource Center. What that is, that has done, is allowed them to rebuild their emotional state, to gain a sense of security and empowerment, and to recognize finally there is a degree of victimization that they had not faced before, which empowers them to give us the information we need in order to put together a comprehensive case that brings accountability.
We are accomplishing both, and I am very happy about that because it speaks to what we think about these young people. It speaks to the priority that we have here in our community. That we want the best for them and for them to be free of exploitation. To me, that speaks to the character of our department and it speaks to the character of this council, and your support is just very much appreciated. So, thank you."
Mayor Calls for Collaborative Action to Address Gang Violence Among Youth
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2014 — Two homicides in one week and the recently released Multnomah County Comprehensive Gang Assessment illustrate the serious gang problem facing Portland, said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
“The data are clear: The complex dynamics around our young people getting involved in gangs means all of us have a part to play,” Hales said. “I remain committed to helping lead the city’s effort to ensure that young people in Portland have hope for the future.”
The city is one of many partners working to combat gang activity issues through the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, a 19-year-old work group co-chaired by Hales and County Commissioner Judy Shiprack that coordinates criminal justice policy among government entities.
Last week two shootings in Portland resulted in two deaths. An early morning shooting outside a strip club in East Portland on Saturday left Hahrahcio Roy Branch, 26, dead. That came five days after Andrew Leon Coggins Jr., 24, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Monday afternoon in North Portland, near McCoy Park.
Hales through his Office of Youth Violence Prevention is pushing for collaborative action, including the people most impacted by gangs and violence in order to address the collective impact of the issues.
The Gang Impacted Family Team works with a number of governmental and nonprofit organizations to break youths’ generational ties to gang activity that goes back up to three generations.
The Street-Level Gang Outreach Program, started in 2009, funds three nonprofit organizations that reach out to gang-affected young people and families.
The office works with the Multnmah County District Attorney Office's Court Bench Probation Project to connect misdemeanor offenders with mentors, as well as resources such as housing, job readiness, and education.
Hales plans to supplement outreach with his Black Male Achievement Initiative, stemming from a National League of Cities grant of technical assistance. The initiative will offer young, African-American men paid internships and a year of wraparound services — job shadowing, networking, tutoring, community service, computer training, leadership development — to help them avoid gangs and achieve stability. The mayor has invested $200,000 and staff time in the effort.
“I want Black Male Achievement,” Hales says, “to develop into a community-led, comprehensive resource for young, black males in Portland to realize their fullest potential.”
Mayor Hales Celebrates Community Unity with Good in the Hood
SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales, First Lady Nancy Hales, and members of the mayor’s staff on Saturday paraded down Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to celebrate community unity at Good in the Hood.
For more than two decades, the Good in the Hood festival has sought to build unity in Northeast Portland, with a focus on community-building. The event started as a Holy Redeemer Catholic School fundraiser for education programs. Now the event includes more than 2,000 parade participants from across the city and vendors from across Oregon and Washington, expanding the community far beyond Northeast Portland.
On Saturday, the smell of Big C’s BBQ settled over Albina Park and people danced to covers performed by Elliot Young and the Smokin’ Section. The Ebony Strutters, a drill team of girls aged approximately 4 to 15, delighted the crowd with a dance routine; by the end of it, the audience — including the mayor — was dancing along.
Hales kicked off the festival by proclaiming June 28 “Unity in the Community Day.” Good in the Hood reflects the mayor’s goal to develop a city of “complete neighborhoods” — those with good schools, ample jobs, and streets, sidewalks and parks that are safe and in good repair. The event is an exemplar of civic ownership among neighborhood residents; its growth shows how positive momentum in neighborhoods benefits the city as a whole.
“In my office we don’t talk about world-class cities,” Hales says. “We talk about world-class neighborhoods. And Good in the Hood is an excellent example of that.”