Powellhurst-Gilbert ‘disturbance’ is calmed by officers

Here’s why an outer East Portland residential street was closed for a several hours, on Sunday …

Along SE Holgate Boulevard in outer East Portland, officers gather and plan how to calm and assist a troubled person on SE 114th Avenue – a person possibly armed with a weapon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was clear by the number of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers who gathered along SE Holgate Boulevard near 114th Avenue on February 21, something was on this outer East Portland residential street.

At first, a few PPB East Precinct officers had been dispatched at 11:35 a.m. to a “Disturbance-with Weapon”; but, soon, more resources were called to the area. Within about 20 minutes, 15 officers had, and an ambulance was on standby on SE Holgate Boulevard.

Officers and PPB command staff decide on a plan of “non-action” to keep the situation from escalating.

Officers closed off SE 114th Avenue between Holgate and Boise Street, and cleared all neighbors, vehicles, and pedestrians from that entire section of 114th.

At about 12:30 p.m., an officer used the public address system in a patrol car to repeatedly “loud hail” a subject in a house – almost exactly in the middle of the long block, exhorting the individual to, “Exit the house, with nothing in your hands!”

Along SE 115th Avenue, officers keep an eye on the back of the residence where a person is said to be in distress.

About the incident, PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Greg Pashley informed us, “As the call indicated, there was information that a person at that location may be armed.

“Officers made contact with people who had some information about a person who was believed to be in crisis at the house,” Pashley told East Portland News. “Officers gathered what information those witnesses could provide, while at the same time trying to make contact with the person reported to be in crisis.”

In case any shots are fired, officers crouch behind the open doors of patrol vehicles, using them as shields.

In an effort to keep the situation calm, officers kept some distance away from the house. “Officers wanted to offer the person whatever assistance they could – and so, made efforts to establish some lines of communication.”

By 2:00 p.m. after taking time to establish a connection, officers did manage to speak with the person in crisis, Pashley said.

As the situation unfolds, incident commanders decide a crisis has been averted, and make preparations to leave.

“Under the circumstances, the person in crisis was alone in the home, and was not posing an immediate threat to anyone, so the officers disengaged,” concluded Pashley.

What could have been a volatile situation ended – without injury or further incident.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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