Metro area residents were shocked last week to learn that in one weekend North and Northeast Portland played host to four shootings, resulting in two deaths and five injuries (see "The Nose," page 7). Police Chief Derrick Foxworth urged testy citizens to take a stand against a return to early-'90s-style gang violence.
But while the city's focus has, understandably, settled on neighborhood warfare, a spate of gun-related domestic-violence incidents in the area has left seven dead--and no one seems to have noticed.
January saw three domestic double murder-suicides in Portland, Corbett and Molalla. On Jan. 12, a Beaverton man shot and killed his wife in a restaurant drive-through. Last week, a 31-year-old man in an apparent love triangle was shot, but not killed, at a Southeast Portland Econo Lodge.
The Portland Police Bureau's Domestic Violence Reduction Unit reports that the bureau received nearly 11,000 reports of domestic violence last year. Overall, 40 percent of all reported violent crimes are related to domestic violence.
A number of new groups have emerged in the past few months to address what many see as a growing concern.
The Domestic Violence Fatality Review board, headed by Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Naito, aims to "find out if all of our systems are working," according to Portland police Capt. Bill Senate. It brings together elected officials, prosecutors, state health workers and other social advocates to investigate cases in which domestic violence has led to fatalities.
Another group, made up of a small cache of Portland detectives, including former police spokesman Brian Schmautz, has been formed to investigate and prosecute domestic abusers who are in illegal possession of firearms.
Of course, retroactive punishment can only do so much to stem the tide of deadly domestic violence. The best solution, say many social advocates, is still prevention. If you or someone you know is in a potentially violent domestic situation, contact one of the numbers below.
* Raphael House, Portland: (503) 222-6222
* National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE
* Portland Women's Crisis Line: (503) 235.5333 or 888-235-5333
* Clackamas Women's Services: (503) 654-2288
* Hillsboro Domestic Violence Resource Center: (503) 469-8620
* Portland Police Family Services division: (503) 823-0992