As gun violence plagues Portland, police in Oregon’s largest city responded to six shootings within a nine hour span between Thursday night and early Friday.
The shootings included a car chase, during which suspects shot at an officer. Three people were arrested and the officer was not injured.
Although last year was marked by record high numbers of gun violence in Portland, the number of shooting incidents during the first month of 2022 outpaced January 2021, according to police data.
During January alone, police recorded 127 shootings. So far this year at least 22 people have been injured by gunfire and there have been several homicides, including a double deadly shooting in the first hours of 2022.
In 2021, the city recorded 90 homicides amid a surge in gun violence, shattering the city’s previous high of 66 set more than three decades ago.
Last year, the number of homicides in Portland surpassed more populous cities such as San Francisco and Boston — and more than double the number of slayings in its larger Pacific Northwest neighbor Seattle.
Killings have been on the rise in Portland for the past few years. From 2019 to 2020, Portland had a sharper rise in killings — an 83% increase — than nearly all major cities. Nationally, homicides had increased by nearly 30% in the same time, based on FBI data.
City police and officials say last year’s increase — which disproportionally impacted Portland’s Black community — was fueled by gang-related arguments, drug deals gone awry and disputes among homeless people. The situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, economic hardships and mental health crises.