PORTLAND -- Following several recent assaults, Portland police will increase community policing in an area of downtown dotted with gay businesses.
Police who regularly patrol the area will get additional training in gay and lesbian lifestyles and terminology and be required to meet regularly with owners and patrons of gay bars.
The bureau is also helping volunteers form a citizen's patrol called the "Q Patrol."
When a bias crime is reported, an advocate for the victim will respond along with investigators. The bureau already does this for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The initiatives were announced Tuesday morning by Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese.
James Campbell, a victim of a recent attack, attended the announcement Tuesday.
He was walking with friends at SW Stark Street and 10th Avenue in front of the Living Room Theater early in the morning of May 29th when six men approached. Three of the men attacked Campbell and his friends before running off.
"I don't have any anger to my attackers," Campbell said, "I just can't respond that way. I feel like there's some deep fear in them. I feel pity for them. When you attack another human being, there's something in you that you don't love. So I hope they're able to get in contact with themselves and become men,get out of that boy stage."
Chief Reese said he was "appalled" by the attacks.
"The one positive outcome of it is the honest and frank discussions we had with the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer) community,” said Chief Reese. “The Bureau’s Sexual Minorities Roundtable is one of the oldest Bureau advisory groups and we are grateful to them for their long-standing partnership."
A community forum was held last week at the Q Community Center after men were attacked in late May around 2 a.m. as a group was leaving an event at the Red Cap Garage, 1035 S.W. Stark St. The chief also thanked the Q Center for help in coordinating the effort.
"No matter who you are or how you choose to present yourself you will be embraced," said Adams.
(KGW Reporter Randy Neves contributed to this report)