PORTLAND -- A coalition of Portland pastors has agreed to enact rules for funerals involving known gang members.
The dozens of pastors signed a compact on Tuesday outlining the restrictions. The new protocol states that the deceased person's outfit must not have any gang colors displayed. The rules also state that music during the funerals must be appropriate for church and can not include foul language or derogatory statements. The number of speakers will be limited and the family of the deceased must meet with church leaders.
"We've gathered to say, 'we are together to serve you and we want you to be safe from all the intimidation whenever you come to a service in the houses of faith,'" explained Dr. T Allen Bethel with Maranatha Church, after signing the proclamation.
Out of respect, pastors said there was the hope that people attending these funerals will not personally wear hats or gang attire themselves, either.
There has been an increase in gang violence in the Portland Metro area over the past several years. Police said gang funerals have always been a stressful time when many worry about retaliation and violence. In 2008, a man was shot inside a church during the funeral of a known gang member.
"Pastors have an important message to send to the families in our community about the importance of responsibility for each family in preventing and discouraging gang involvement," said Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau.