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Friday, June 15, 2012

City kicks gang enforcement up a notch

And from the looks of things, not a moment too soon, as gang shootings are way up this year (although miraculously, fatalities in such incidents are down).

Here's an interesting map of where the gang activity has been going down. A lot of action along that MAX train line to Gresham.

Comments (21)

on the map: "For Law Enforcement Only Do Not Disseminate"

Will they hire a special prosecutor to find the leaker, will heads roll, tweets be terminated??

That's Rockwood. It's the model coming to Oak Grove with Milwaukie Light Rail.

The names of those perpetrating it will go down in infamy as the dishonest human blight which knowingly disregarded every consideration.

This current episode is far worse than the Eastide MAX era of 25 years ago with all of the imminent detriment now known well ahead of the destruction.

PMLR will ruin downtown Milwaukie and Oak Grove while becoming a money pit as despicable politicians poor tax dollars into trying to fix the mess they created.

It's too bad all of the regulars folks and various groups can't get together and stop the scoundrels.

The Clackastanis have shown it can be done.
If OPAL, ATU, League Of Women Voters, etc would get on board all things would be possible.

Unfortunately all of the local Democrat politicians and activists who support the planning regime are sufficiently tainting the rebels and deterring the kind of diverse rebellion that is needed.

It's no secret that while many rank and file democrats region wide get it and would like to see a major shift away form the insanity essentially all of the local Democrat party hierarchy is engaged in expanding it.

It's just never talked about.

Every one of their politicians and candidates are committed to the madness. Not one has exhibited anything but a fill alignment.

So it is pretty clear what the biggest obstruction to remedy is.

What's a "gang shooting"? An actual shooting related to gang activity? Any shooting by a gang member, regardless of the cause? A shooting involving someone the policy merely suspect of being associated with a gang? And for that matter, how do the police define a "gang"?

For someone who (rightly) criticizes the local media for regurgitating government propaganda without stopping to think, it'd be great to see this blog engage in some serious analysis of the police PR materials, instead of just passing along scary-looking charts that contain absolutely no explanation of the underlying data.

When the police want to increase their budget, they'll engage in all the shady Portland tactics that this blog loves to hammer. Sure, crime prevention is actually important (as opposed to, say, Water Bureau PR activities). But since when does this blog just take the word of a local government agency that its programs are effective? Or does the normal skepticism of government PR go out the window when there's a chance to talk trash about the Max?

Amen, Stephen. I pointed this out about a month ago on this blog and nobody refuted my analysis:

Correlation is not causation.

I dare say they understate the number of "gang" shootings.
Last week there was the one in NE Portland that resulted in the person of interest being apprehended within minutes due to witnesses getting a vehicle description to the PPD and a bit of luck when a responding officer saw the vehicle.
But at the time it was reported that PPD did not believe it was "gang" related.

I call BS...

I agree with Stephen. Is it really a shock to see that gang activity is highest in the historically lowest-income areas of the city- Downtown, 82nd street/felony flats, and MLK? MAX deserves plenty of criticism for various reasons but blaming it for crime seems a stretch. It runs through some of the poorest areas of the city where you would expect gang activity.

N. Portland has had its share of problems long before the MAX yellow line came into being recently.

Is there a wave of crime/gang activity on the Streetcar that I'm unaware of?

The fact, accurately reflected in the graph, is that gang shooting is up. I am sorry that reporting that fact is so upsetting to you.

And if you don't think MAX contributes to gang activity, you're truly beyond reasoning with.

If you want to play word games with "What is a gang?" you should sign up for a course at Portland State. The terms used here are commonly used by most of the population, and they have a pretty clear meaning.

it'd be great to see this blog engage in some serious analysis of the police PR materials

Like exactly what?


What's your beef? Spit it out.

There is a gang problem. There are gang shootings. There are also many other non-gang related criminal problems being neglected by politicians who fail to recognize public safety for the priority it is.

What sort of "explanation of the underlying data" are suggesting would show the problem is contrived to boost funding?

The biggest element you are failing to grasp is the chronic devaluing of public safety by public officials.

Your skepticism of this single report on gang violence appears to be a narrow view that ignores the rest of problem that includes the very real issue of crime on and along MAX lines.

Heroine running, shoplifting, robbery, assaults, theft, car break ins etc. are all happening along MAX lines at unnecessary levels due to inadequate resources being allocated to public safety. It's that simple.

Every single police agency region wide will back this up with hard data.

This is a cold blooded and callous trading of public safety for lesser priorities by politicians.

The many attempts to disregard the MAX=crime problem are equal to the many other deceitful methods used to obscure and misrepresent the many other detriments with MAX.

There is no question the combined MAX/apartment bunkers ruined Rockwood and is a detriment to other areas. No Rockwood was not crime free before MAX but it was a heck of a lot better. There is no refuting that the Green Line produced or delivered more crime while the rest of the county rate went down.

It was accurately forecast before the line opened.

Talk to the Washington County Sheriff about MAX crime at the other end of the region. Same story.

There is a relationship between MAX and crime that is being deliberately ignored by politicians in order to avoid having to direct resources towards it. They have other uses for that funding.

Even WES has had rider related crime reported.

A lot of the population thinks that increasing taxes on the rich kills job creation, but it doesn't mean they're right. People might form opinions of gangs based on the drivel on local TV news, but that doesn't make it factually accurate.

From the report "Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies" (

Perhaps the least settled issue in gang research is the age-old question: “What is a gang?” It seems that the majority of academic authorities can agree on only one point in this regard: that there is no agreement—neither among the criminologists
who study gangs nor among the cops who police them. The picture becomes no clearer when we narrow the issue by asking, “What is a youth gang?” or
“What is a street gang?”

In an essay on gang research published in Crime and Justice, John Hagedorn says that the definitional debate about gangs has been “long and racorous” (Hagedorn 1998). He proposes that, in thinking about what gangs are, a good place to start is with the godfather of gang research, Frederic Thrasher, who pointed out that “ganging” is a normal peer activity for adolescents within a continuum of behaviors that range “from conventional to wild.”

In American Street Gangs, a popular college textbook, Tim Delaney poses a set of questions drawn from current media depictions to illustrate the problem of
defining gangs:

"In fact, there is no single definition, although every definition includes some mention of the word, group. For example, is a group of young people hanging out together a gang? What if this group is hanging outside a convenience store talking loud and acting proud? What if this group creates a name for itself, starts identifying members with specific clothing, and uses secret hand signals and handshakes and intimidating nicknames such as 'killer' and 'assassin'? But the group just described could actually be a sports team! Add to this description the commission of a number of deviant acts and fraternities and sororities would also fit this profile. (Delaney 2005)"

I'm not suggesting gangs and gang violence aren't a problem, I'm just saying that just like the war on drugs (or terrorism, or whatever the public freak-out de jour is), the real problem isn't as simplistic as portrayed in the media and just throwing money at law enforcement won't solve our problems.

If using critical thinking to question the prevailing wisdom is something that is relegated to PSU, then I guess I need to give that school more respect than I have been.

It is unclear where the chart or map originated, that is, who first published this, for what purpose, or what, if any, documentation might have accompanied the chart or map. It does seem that neither the chart or map was for public publication, but that doesn't necessary mean that someone is trying to hide something. Thus, they might have accompanied a lecture or were part of a publication that explained the full implication.

The gang activity map is especially opaque without accompanying material. The map explicitly states that it is not for public consumption, so at best its use is limited to generalizations. Public analysis is very limited because of the inability to zoom. E.g., is that the Pearl District with the high gang activity? I suspect that if I could zoom in I would see that it is really Old Town or some other area.

But what it really interesting about the map is the number of "events" occurring over 4 months of activity - a period of relatively cold and record-breaking wetness where one might assume that criminal activity would be low. Arguably no matter how this map is viewed - there is a frightening excess of gang activity.

A third item is in the post comments by Jack himself that contained a reference to an earlier post that linked MAX's Green Line and gang activity. One particular commentor seemed to doubt the MAX - crime linkage. But throughout my 8 years or so in Portland - it seems clear that MAX and crime are linked.

Having lived in Old Town for about 6 of those years and being active in public safety efforts - MAX and crime was linked in Old Town, especially in relation to drug trafficking. But it doesn't necessarily follow that MAX causes crime. However, the linkage ought to be acknowledged and factored in the design of the system, especially when the MAX system is expanded (assuming that is a good thing).

Another possible oddity about the map is that it appears that gang activity is not restricted to an area, and the "events" appear to happen in other than low income parts of the city.

My point - is that one cannot from this map come to the conclusion that gang activity occurs only in low income areas or that it occurs along the MAX lines.

As Jack states: "Correlation is not causation."

The question might be - would 24/7 police presence or the elimination of the line or particular stops stop the gang activity?

I think right now the question is, would killing light rail to Milwaukie and Vancouver save those communities from crime problems?

Heroin running, shoplifting, robbery, assaults, theft, car break ins etc. are all happening along MAX lines at unnecessary levels due to inadequate resources being allocated to public safety. It's that simple.

Sounds like the "inadequate resources" contribute to the rise in gang activity. Is your complaint that expansion of the MAX lines have diverted those resources?

There may be a simple way to locate gangmembers. Like vibration sensors in street signs that would detect and somehow record flashy cars with booming stereos playing "music" with a lot of reference to violence, illicit pleasures and the denigration of women.

We live in one of the green-marked areas in North Portland, and I can tell you that when the raccoons in my fir tree get riled by vibrating rap music at 1AM on Saturday morning, a shooting is in the offing.


I don't think anyone thinks the gang problem is either simple or over what the definition is. So you appear to be arguing against a position no one has while knee jerk declaring that directing adequate resources "at law enforcement won't solve our problems".

That's the mother of all excuses for the status quo. "Why spend more on public safety when it won't solve our problems?"

Nothing will ever "solve our problems". Humans can produce problems at light speed.

We can reduce these problems and law enforcement is only one part of the justice system/public safety needs that are underfunded by politicians using your excuse.

Any critical thinking at PSU was abandoned with the adoption of the Education Urban Renewal District.


The map is what it is. It shows an excess of gang activity. It could be a lot less. Just as all kinds of crime related to MAX could a lot less. The Clackamas County Sheriff provided county commissioners a detailed plan for what would be needed when the Green Line opened. As they sought to help get the line approved they agreed to provide the Sheriff what was needed. BUT then, big surpise, they refused to do so later when it was needed. Worse yet the county went backwards by using Urban Renewal to fund their share of the Green Line causing a reduction in Sheriff funding.

Obviously MAX itself doesn't directly "cause" crime. Deniers of the relationship between crime and MAX are parroting that as if it diminishes the connection. It doesn't.

Tommy spoon,

Bingo! Yes expansion of the MAX lines have diverted those resources. Clackamas County has diverted at least $50 million from general fund property taxes through Urban Renewal funding of light rail.

Yes expansion of the MAX lines have diverted those resources.

So you would blame speed bumps for an increase in crime if those funds were diverted to their construction, instead of the MAX?

You need to define your argument better: the MAX is not the problem, the diversion of resources is the problem.

Oh, and Gaye? As we say in the South: Bless your heart.

That is a grossly inaccurate comparison. Speed bumps don't cost $1.5B.

Diversion is the problem. MAX is being forced through at any cost, regardless of harm done.

Holy crap 1994.

Define my argument better?
Oh that's rich
OK I guess you got me.

Gonna get REAL now that Laurelhurst is gettin slammed.

Like trowin roxs at pohleez.


I spoke with my raccoon neighbor in the fir tree outside my window yesterday. As you may know, raccoons are very smart, and understand humans often better than humans understand themselves. He has some Southern cousins, and asserts that your Southern expression was facetious, and suggested a response: "God love'im....somebody's gotta."

Thank you Mr Tee. I got to read all about it.....
Finally, "wilding" has now officially and irrefutably made its debut in the city of roses.

Portland Police Investigating Two Assaults in Laurelhurst Park - 06/15/12
On June 13 and June 14, 2012, two large-scale fights occurred in Southeast Portland's Laurelhurst Park.

On June 13, 2012, at 10:36 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to Central Precinct responded to the report of 150 drunken teenagers in Laurelhurst Park. Officers arrived in the area and contacted several groups of teens leaving the park. Officers explained that the park was closed and that they would need to leave.

As officers drove deeper into the park, they were flagged down by a young woman who directed officers to a 14-year-old male who had been beaten up in the park and was lying on a picnic table at the West end of the pond. The victim suffered facial injuries and Portland Fire & Rescue responded to treat his injuries.

The victim told officers that he was with a friend in the park when he was punched from behind and that several African American teens beat him up and stole his cell phone, iPod, headphones, and hat. Witnesses described to police that a group of 5-10 African American teens were randomly attacking white teens in the park and also attacked a male transient. No other victims came forward to speak to the police and officers did not locate additional victims.

The 14-year-old male victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment to minor facial injuries.

On June 14 at 10:26 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to Central Precinct responded to the report of a fight of more than twenty males in Laurelhurst Park. Officers arrived didn't see anyone fighting but spoke with three men who said they were attacked by a group of 20-30 African American males in their teens.

The victims, 26-year-old Wesley Vanderbrink of Lake Oswego, 23-year-old Parker Hutchins of Southeast Portland and 22-year-old Gregar Chapin of Southeast Portland, told police they were playing "soccer tennis" at the tennis courts when the lights went out and they began to leave. The lights came back on and the three started to go back to the courts and described to police that they saw a group of 20-30 African American hanging around just East of the courts. Some of the young men began throwing bottles onto the tennis courts and Chapin called out to them, "Hey!" The group of African American males then began to fight with Chapin, Vanderbrink and Hutchins.

Chapin and Vanderbrink suffered facial injuries but declined medical attention.

The Portland Police Bureau and Portland Parks and Recreation have agreed to work together this weekend to enhance park security. The park will be closed at 10:00 p.m. through the weekend instead of it's normal midnight closure. Additionally, officers will be doing extra patrol in the park and surrounding area and Parks Bureau Park Rangers will walk through the parks as an added measure of protection.

Anyone with information about these assaults is urged to provide information to

Attached Media Files: 2012-06/3056/55290/Badge.jpg


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