LNLA hosts outdoor meeting in Lents

See how, by limiting the number of those attending and using social distancing, the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association met to hear the PPB’s Deputy Chief speak …

In the Lents neighborhood, fewer than two dozen neighbors gather for an outdoor meeting, in outer East Portland, of the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Those coming to monthly meetings of the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA) have typically met inside the air conditioned building of the Community Connections Center, on the slope of Mount Scott.

But, on July 9, they held an out-of-doors, socially-distanced meeting – limited to fewer than 25 people.

With face coverings in place, and using proper social distancing, attendees to the meeting hear Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis listen to concerns regarding the uptick in outer East Portland gun violence.

“It’s important for our community hear about public safety and livability issues directly from those involved; and, since we haven’t had a meeting since February, we were missing having our gatherings,” remarked one of the founding LNLA members, Char Pennie.

“We want people to be up-to-date, with all the things that are going on in the city right now – especially because people are really feeling unsafe, with the recent increase in shootings,” Pennie told East Portland News.

PPB Deputy Chief Chris Davis describes the state of his Bureau’s resources.

Their main guest was Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Deputy Chief Chris Davis, who said he he’d come to inform, and also to listen to the concerns of outer East Portland neighbors.

“Right now, the big challenge for us is the Police Bureau’s resources,”
Davis told East Portland News. “Between the COVID-19 crisis, and all the really serious civil unrest that we’ve had downtown and other parts of the city, our resources are really, really stretched thin.

“And then, between budget cuts in the budget development process – and then things put forward by a couple of our Portland City Commissioners in terms of budget modifications – we’ve lost $27 million out of our budget,” Davis said. “So, now, we’re one of the ‘leanest’ major city police agencies in the United States. All of these things have come together, putting a lot of stress on our ability to deliver police services.”

We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” says PPB Deputy Chief Chris Davis

A concern raised at the meeting was the 240% increase in shootings in July, over the same crimes in July of last year, as reported by the Bureau – and, of course, the disbanding of the PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team.

“We are seeing some alarming increases in gun-related violence; we deal with the situation that we have,” Davis responded. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have.

Portland’s Deputy Police Chief asks for patience, as officers respond to calls for service as best they can.

“While I would anticipate call-response times going up a little bit, we do our best to respond promptly for highest priority emergency calls,” Davis continued. “We do ask for people’s patience with longer call response times due to shrinking resources – and as weeks of civil unrest have consumed a lot of police officers’ time.”

Learn more about the LNLA at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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