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Business owners, neighbors in Portland's Kenton neighborhood write city leaders to address rising crime

Residents wrote letters to city leaders asking for citywide expansion of Portland Street Response and funding for new lighting and cameras, among other things.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Salvage Works, a reclaimed wood business, has been a part of the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland for more than a decade. General manager Rachel Browning says the area has gotten worse.

"Our female staff were threatened by men with weapons three Saturdays in a row," Browning said. 

Those were not isolated incidents. In the last month, bartenders at Kenton Club were robbed at gunpoint twice and somebody was shot and killed at Kenton Park, not far from Parkside restaurant and bar.

RELATED: Business owners in Kenton neighborhood frustrated by recent spate of crime

"It's all very shocking and traumatizing for sure," Parkside owner Angela Connell said.

Connell opened her doors Monday night to give the community space to write letters to city leaders. They are asking for a citywide expansion of Portland Street Response. They also want funding for new lighting and cameras, among other things.

"We've been thinking how we as a community can come together and take action and be here to support one another," Connell said.

The three-hour event was well attended by business owners and neighbors alike.

Credit: Cory Long, KGW staff
A Kenton community member writes a letter to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

"I am here to represent my community and try to get some changes made here," neighbor Nicole Dufour said.

Rachel Browning, of Salvage Works, also wants to see change. She said she has never felt as unsafe in Kenton as she does now.

"Small businesses are suffering already from the pandemic, including our business and bars and restaurants and coffee shops, and this doesn't help," Browning said.

In addition to the letter writing at Parkside, some of the proceeds from the sale of food and drinks will be going to Neighbors Helping Neighbors, an organization that works with the houseless community.

RELATED: 'Just dropping it in our laps': Neighbors surprised by city's plan to put homeless villages near them

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