A man living in a tent in the Buckman neighborhood was critically injured by a gunshot early this morning.
Police say the injured man was found near the corner of Southeast 11th Avenue and Pine Street at 5:08 a.m.
The victim lived in a tent nearby, police said, and the shooter is believed also to be a camper. Homicide detectives are now investigating.
Southeast 11th has long been a site of homeless camping. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, which serves meals to roughly 100 homeless men and women every day, is located just a block away from where police responded.
Mayor Charlie Hales has issued a statement.
“This particular incident highlights that our homeless population are among our most vulnerable to being victimized by criminals,” Hales said, “regardless of whether the criminal lives indoors or out.”
It’s not clear how the incident will affect the city’s homelessness policies, but it comes at a pivotal time. Last month, the mayor announced a major change in city rules, sanctioning limited sidewalk camping across Portland.
Last week, Hales revealed plans to for a Homeless Navigation Center, an innovative shelter designed to be welcoming to people living on the streets, at the Washington High School campus, six blocks away from the scene of the shooting.
Portland police issued the following press release, and have since updated their report to say the man’s injuries are life-threatening:
Hales' full statement reads:
"Gun violence is absolutely unacceptable, whether committed by someone who is housed or homeless. It puts everyone's safety at risk regardless of their housing status and is of highest enforcement priority for police. Alarmingly, we are on pace to match or even exceed our tragic gun violence statistics from last year—our worst year on record—particularly for those involved in gang-related gun violence."
"This particular incident highlights that our homeless population are among our most vulnerable to being victimized by criminals, regardless of whether the criminal lives indoors or out. It's why the City has been aggressively working to find safe places for people to sleep in the short term and to get back to the safety of a permanent home as quickly as possible."