PORTLAND, Ore. — Across the board, the city of Portland is seeing record rates of shootings and homicides, and much of the gun violence is clustered in the neighborhoods of outer Southeast Portland.
In the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, 96 shootings were reported from January 2021 to January 2022. The Lents neighborhood had 83 shootings during the same time period.
"I'm a single mom. I'm frozen in fear and paralyzed," said Stacy Kidd, who called The Story's voicemail line to share her fears about raising her 2-year-old son amid near-nightly shootings.
"I don't know. I don't know anymore," she said, asked if she hears gunshots every night. "I don't know if I'm hearing fireworks for gunfire because it's every night, and it just seems like it can't be gunfire every night."
She is one of many living in that part of town who feel forgotten by city leaders, fighting the fear that the next bullet could find them. The danger feels real — and imminent.
"I've started making lists in case of an emergency. This is his favorite food, when he says he wants pizza he really means he wants olives. Things like that, that I know no one else is going to know about him."
She's angry that city leadership does not seem interested in doing more to help.
"It makes me feel like I'm just gonna be a number. I'm just gonna be a headline for a minute, and no one's gonna remember," Kidd said.
Part of her fear comes from the latest shooting — a family of four shot in their car in an apparent drive-by shooting. The 25-year-old mother was killed and her fiancé and two young children were wounded.
Kathy Gant lives a block away from where it happened. She's lived in Southeast Portland for 30 years, and she says it's never been this bad.
"It's been like this every night," Gant said of hearing gunfire. She says she feels abandoned by city leaders, who she says have done nothing to stop the gunfire or address the homeless crisis in her neighborhood.
"It's all lip service. They like to talk good talk. But when it comes to walking the walk, nothing ever happens," Gant said. "You've always got one or two in the little group that don't go along with the program and then nothing happens."