Multiple gunshots break up late-night party

Learn why neighbors are concerned about the ruckus this drive-by shooting caused in their part of the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood …

Portland Police units close off SE 89th Avenue at SE 90th Place, after shots are fired at a house where a party is in full swing.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton

When you drive through the Powellhurst-Gilbert subdivision just west of Interstate 205, between SE Division Street and Powell Boulevard, it looks perfectly calm and serene.

Demographically, this working-class neighborhood is made up of people of many cultures, according to US Census information.

But, as many residents are discovering, it is far from calm and peaceful, especially after sundown.

Party guests roam the street, as police attempt to investigate a drive-by shooting.

According to Portland Crime Mapper, this neighborhood has experienced a considerable amount of crime so far in 2014:

64 “Simple” Assaults
32 Assaults
49 Vandalisms
46 Drug Crimes
24 Burglaries
23 Larcenies
14 Robberies
01 Murder

For example, mere minutes after midnight on November 22, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were called to the 2800 Block of SE 90th Place when several neighbors called the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center reporting the sound of multiple gunshots.

“I heard what sounded like 10, maybe 12 gunshots,” recounted up-the-street homeowner Van Nguyen. “I thought this was a pretty nice neighborhood when we moved in about a year ago. Now, I think it was a mistake; so much crime, so many gang people.”

Officers talk with potential witnesses to the shooting.

Police officers were seen down the block, talking with “witnesses” who, as one cop said, “didn’t see a thing” when a house and cars were sprayed with bullets.

“This used to be a really nice neighborhood,” said Andy Dykestra, as he watched officers attempt to disperse about 30 youths milling about in the street.

“Now, our streets here are being taken over by gangs,” Dykestra sighed. “There’s a lot of vandalism, anything that isn’t locked down gets stolen, and it seems the cops are out here on a very regular basis. The good folks are getting pushed out by dope-dealing thugs.”

Apparently unconcerned about the gunfire, the party moves into the street.

At the height of the incident, 20 police units – including two K-9 teams – were at the scene. Some officers were attempting to conduct interviews; others were doing their best to disperse a very rowdy-sounding crowd.

“Clear the street, go home or go away,” boomed a voice from a public address system on a patrol car. “Anyone not clearing the street will be arrested. Disperse now”.

Officers order the crowd to disperse.

Following up with PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Peter Simpson told East Portland News, “Our Gang Unit was called in; it was a gang-related incident.

“There was a big party; shots were fired, no one was hit, and no arrests were made in connection with this incident,” Simpson reported.

And for the residents of the neighborhood, another unnerving incident was over. But clearly, some folks are wondering, “What’s coming next?”

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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