PORTLAND, Ore. — Three red balloons covered in messages of grief swayed gently in the wind on Monday. They were part of a small memorial that marked the three lives lost in a Saturday afternoon shooting that shook the North Portsmouth neighborhood to its core.
It was one of four shootings in Portland over the weekend and the deadliest one so far this year.
“I couldn't believe it … it's a quiet, nice family neighborhood,” said Meg McNichol, who lives nearby.
However, the quiet was shattered around 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon when three people were shot and killed while driving a car through the intersection of North Foss Avenue and North Foss Court.
“Witnesses here say there were 10-15 shots. That's a lot of bullets,” said Calvin Ross, who also lives nearby.
On Monday morning, the family of at least one of the victims left flowers at the site. One woman told a KGW crew through tears that her brother was one of the victims. The neighborhood had a tense and almost eerie feeling Monday as neighbors feared retaliation from the suspect or suspects, who have not been found.
“I understand how people are frightened here — absolutely, I would be if it was in my neighborhood,” said two women who frequent the Charles Jordan Community Center, which is just steps away from where the shooting took place. “It's terrible wherever it happens — it's not just us, it's all of Portland.”
That fear was likely felt in many corners of the city this weekend after four confirmed shootings. The first happened Friday night at 10:45 p.m. at the Alibi Tiki Lounge on North Interstate Avenue. One man was injured but police said his were not believed to be life-threatening. Things got chaotic with the crowd, and police said that one officer was punched during the investigation. So far there have been no arrests.
About four hours later, early Saturday morning, there was another shooting on Southeast Foster and 92nd Avenue, where two businesses and an occupied vehicle were hit. Police said no one was hurt and no arrests have been made.
The deadly shooting in North Portland happened 9 hours later, marking the 15th, 16th and 17th homicides in the city this year. Police are waiting for the autopsy results before they identify those victims.
Around 2 a.m. on Sunday, someone opened fire at Northeast Hassalo and 87th, hitting four houses. One woman there described her window shattering above her head. No one was injured or arrested in that case.
“People are bolder. They seem to think that it's there's no retaliation for them,” said one woman outside the Charles Jordan Community Center.
This recent string of violence left many neighbors with only one answer.
“It makes us not necessarily want to continue to live in Portland,” said McNichol.
Saturday's deadly shooting caught the attention of Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, who said he is sending patrol officers to connect with students during spring break to avoid criminal activities and prevent further violence. In a statement, Mayor Ted Wheeler said the following on Monday:
“The murder of three people over the weekend is still an active investigation and we continue to seek information from the public to bring justice to those impacted by this tragedy. As such, we are limited in the information we are able to provide at this time.
"My team and I have been in regular communication with the Portland Police Bureau and our public safety partners. We have deployed additional police personnel from the Enhanced Community Safety Team, Homicide Unit & Focused Intervention Team to investigate and provide further assistance. Staff from the Office of Violence Prevention and outreach partners continue to meet with those who have been impacted by this violence. We have also redeployed street level outreach teams to connect with community members and interrupt further safety disruptions.”
Portland Parks & Recreation also released a statement in response to the shooting:
"All of us with Portland Parks & Recreation are saddened and troubled by the recent violence in North Portland. All Charles Jordan Community Center teammates are trained on Bureau safety protocols and will put them into place as needed. The PP&R Park Ranger and Safety teams regularly meet with our partners in the City’s Community Safety Division / Office of Violence Prevention and the Portland Police Bureau. Together we work to ensure that our parks and community centers are places people find safe and welcoming, as safe spaces to come together for recreation, relaxation, and reflection, and as places for positive experiences and activities."