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Church On Portland’s ‘Deadliest Block’ Cleans Up Drug Encampment While Mayor Fixates On Guns

BY: EMMA FREIRE

 

Homelessness and drug use continue to run rampant in Portland as the city’s leaders focus on gun violence.

The Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler, has declared a gun violence emergency in his city. “We will not stop until we bring peace back to those Portland neighborhoods too often caught in the crossfire,” he said at a press conference on July 22. Portland is reeling from a combination of a crime spike, a large and growing homeless population, and the decimation of the local police department.

In 2020, Portland was rocked by months of protests and riots. Under pressure from the defund the police movement, the city government voted to cut its police budget. Subsequently, police officers fled their thankless jobs. Two hundred fifty of them have resigned or retired since July 2020, with more retirements expected this summer. This has left the Portland Police Department barely functioning.

From 2019 to 2020, Portland’s homicide rate jumped 83 percent, one of the largest increases of any city in America. More than 50 people have been shot so far this year, meaning the city is likely to overtake last year’s record of 90 homicides.

 

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