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Alexander English is a 23 year-old African American who lives in North Portland. According to witnesses he was on the porch of his home, arguing with some people in a dark blue sedan, when shots were fired from the car. English was hit multiple times. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and is expected to survive. This was on Tuesday morning. It was the fourth third suspected gang-related shooting in less than a week in Portland. Police believe the four are not connected. Portland Mayor Sam Adams expressed his sadness over the shootings when he was on our show on Tuesday morning. He described the work of the gang task force in trying to prevent this kind of violence and said that people need to report suspected gang activity.
Vancouver, Washington and Caldwell, Idaho have a great many differences. One is an urban center north of densely populated Portland. The other a fairly small city in a relatively rural area. But in both places, people have been grappling with gang-related violence. In Caldwell, the sergeant in charge of street crimes says it couldn't have gotten much worse than in the summer of 2004 when he says there were 130 shootings in one month. He says some people were sleeping in their bathtubs because they were afraid of the drive-by shootings. Seven years later — with considerable help from the federal government — the problem has been contained, but he says he does not see a time when gangs will not be a problem. Vancouver has its share of gang activity — including one recent case that's still unsolved. And we'll also check in on how effective some of Portland's efforts have been in reducing gang violence.
local | Politics | Arts | News | Think Out LoudJuly 20, 2016 10:19 p.m.
We'll hear from some of vendors and workers at the RNC, and then get a rundown of who's been protesting at the RNC. We then turn our attention to gang violence prevention in Vancouver.
Rob Ingram is a successful, well-respected professional who works for the city of Portland. But a couple of decades ago, that career would have seemed completely unattainable. He says until his mid-20's he might as well have been a member of a gang. His brother and friends were, and he did many of the same things they did. He's been stabbed, shot, and arrested. He buried eight close friends and family members. His life-changing epiphany came after his brother was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He ultimately decided there must have been a reason that he was still alive and free, and that he had a responsibility to give back. And that's what he's been doing since the early 1990s. He now heads the Office of Youth Violence Prevention at the City of Portland. And he informally mentors kids who call him "Uncle Rob." About every other week he convenes a meeting with all the various agencies and organizations the city works with to address gang violence. There are community organizations like Brother's & Sister's Keepers, the Gang Enforcement Team and a youth gang police task force that's just been reinstated.
In eight years as pastor of Emmanuel Temple Church in Portland, Bishop C.T. Wells estimates he has eulogized "dozens" of young victims of gang violence. But he says the most recent funeral he led, for 18-year-old Borisshell Washington, was "particularly bad." Borisshell was a senior at Jefferson High School who was killed by gang gunfire in late May. Wells says a pervasive gang culture "expressed in music, the drug trade and in the manipulation of women" has gotten a foothold in Oregon's most populous city. Last year, according to police, gang violence spiked by nearly 70 percent in Portland.
A murder indictment in Eugene, a near-death in Yamhill County, and a shootout, stabbing, and surge of graffiti in the Keizer-Salem area have law enforcement officials concerned about a rise in gang activity around the state.While the Crips and Bloods dominated Oregon's gang scene in the 1990s, a group from Central America known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, has more recently moved in. Both followed the traditional gang route into the Northwest: driving up I-5.
UCOS are threatened with closure as they investigate the bloody murder of a political activist.