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Portland touts efforts to bring down violence after shootings fell to early pandemic levels

The Portland Police Bureau reported 56 confirmed shootings in April, down from a peak of 147 total shootings in March 2022

Portland Police Department

“These numbers carry immense significance,” said Sierra Ellis, director of Ceasefire, a year-old city program within the Community Safety Division that focuses on stopping gun violence. “They directly reflect the lives we’re saving in our efforts to curb gun violence.”

Portland Police Department

By Fedor Zarkhin
oregonlive.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland shootings fell in April to a level not seen since shortly after the coronavirus pandemic started, a decline that city leaders say shows their efforts to curb gun violence are working.

The Portland Police Bureau reported 56 confirmed shootings in April, including three homicides and 11 shootings that resulted in a non-fatal injury. That’s down from a peak of 147 total shootings in March 2022, the same year Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a gun violence state of emergency for the city. The last time Portland had fewer than 60 shootings in one month was May 2020, when people were still mostly staying indoors because of the pandemic. The bureau counted 43 that month.

Portland officials, including Wheeler and Police Chief Bob Day, touted the progress at a news conference Thursday morning.

“These numbers carry immense significance,” said Sierra Ellis, director of Ceasefire, a year-old city program within the Community Safety Division that focuses on stopping gun violence. “They directly reflect the lives we’re saving in our efforts to curb gun violence.”

Portland set a record for homicides in 2022 with 101. Last year, there were 77 homicides in the city.

Ceasefire partners with community groups, chiefly nonprofit organizations, to identify and reach out to people they believe are at risk of committing gun violence.

Based at least in part on the program’s apparent success, the city is expanding this work, offering up to $100,000 in grant money to community groups focused on reducing gun violence. The total grant amount is $500,000, and it’s intended for organizations that would focus on the Cully, Hazelwood, Eliot, Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods and other areas known for high gun-violence rates. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, at 5 p.m.

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