At a news conference this morning with a murdered man's family, Mayor Sam Adams
announced one of his solutions to Portland gang violence
: a phone number for callers to connect with gang outreach services.
Adams described the hotline as "one-stop shopping" for gang members to connect with "the bureaucracy." He said the hotline should be ready in three weeks.
Meanwhile, Portlanders continue to die by gang violence—including a Sept. 26 shootout in Old Town that killed 19-year-old Andre Payton
His mother, Salina Harris, railed against gang violence at today's news conference and implored people to come forward with information about the shooting.
"I feared if Andre continued to associate with gang members that I someday may visit him in jail or prison," Harris said. "I never thought that I would be visiting him in a cemetery."
Adams appeared at the news conference with Police Chief Mike Reese
, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk
and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton
to announce new efforts to curb gun violence by gang members.
Reese said the Police Bureau is committing four officers and a sergeant to a new Illegal Gun and Gang Task Force
to investigate and recover illegal firearms. (Separately, Adams' proposed city ordinance to curb illegal handguns
is due before City Council later this month, the mayor's office recently said
Schrunk and Holton promised at today's news conference that gang members with guns will be prosecuted to the full extent of state and federal law. But all acknowledged there are limits to what law enforcement can do.
"The real solution to the problem is a community problem," Holton said.
Adams said today's news conference was to focus on the law-enforcement response. The gang hotline and other details of his community-outreach efforts will be rolled out at a later time, he said.