A new study into gang activity in the Portland area suggests the problem has declined generally in recent years, but has increased in pockets of east Multnomah County.
The recent spate of gang violence in Portland might suggest a worsening problem, but that’s not the trend identified in a study commissioned by the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council.
The study finds “shots fired” calls have dropped 16 percent in the last ten years. But while the study showed a drop in gunshots in central Portland, violence spiked in recent years in the Rockwood part of Gresham.
County Commissioner Judy Shiprack says gangs are moving east, along with poverty and ethnic diversity, “From closer to the center of the city of Portland, to out into east Portland and Gresham.”
The study counts more than 130 separate gangs and splinter groups, countywide.
Shiprack co-chairs the public safety council. She says the study is meant as a baseline, but says there’s an urgency to measurably reduce the gang problem in the next two years.