PORTLAND, Ore. — Street racers took over the Burnside Bridge and several other Portland streets over the weekend.
"I thought it was a bomb at first," Ron Wesner said, who lives in the Lloyd District. "Maybe a car bomb or something."
A street takeover outside his building kept him awake Sunday night.
"It's sad. It's sad for Portland. I'm lucky I live in 'the castle,' as it were, so I'm protected way up high," he said, referring to his high-rise apartment. "But it feels sad for the city and Lloyd Center neighborhood."
"People are doing donuts right here in this big area and they take up the whole area," added Tariq Hood, whose girlfriend has lived in the Lloyd District for about a year. Hood said he has seen street takeovers a handful of times.
"I'm sure it bothers a lot of people and whoever has to clean this up," Hood said. "I'm sure it's a nuisance to a lot of people."
That would include people like the Multnomah County workers tasked with sweeping up debris from the illegal activity.
"It's a big safety concern for people," Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said. "During these events, people are struck by vehicles. Vehicles crash. Pedestrians are injured. We want to make sure we're doing everything we can from an enforcement standpoint to address it."
Chief Lovell said enforcement means carrying out street racing missions. He was with officers Sunday night as they carried one of these missions.
"We were out from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and we were out interrupting street racing events," Chief Lovell said.
Officers arrested or cited seven people and impounded their vehicles. Officers also seized a gun during the mission.
In addition to the Burnside Bridge and Lloyd Center takeovers Sunday night, police said there was illegal racing activity in the area of Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Columbia Boulevard as well as North Whitaker Road east of Interstate 5.
Wesner is hoping police can get a handle on what he said has become a far too common occurrence in Portland.
"The city has a cancer," Wesner said. "It's metastasized and it needs to be addressed as a cancer."