Increased Gun Violence in Gresham, Oregon


Gresham sees an increase in gun violence.

The recorded number of shooting instances in Gresham, Oregon has risen 200% since last year according to the Portland Tribune. From January to March of last year, there were 28 shootings reported. This year, in that same time frame, there have been 86. This violence causes fear in Gresham residents.

In June of this year, there were two fatal shootings in one weekend. Fox 12 interviewed a father living in the area who said, “the street he lives on feels like a war zone.” There is no data for this year but in 2021 there were eight shootings that caused deaths. Even without fatalities, shootings can cause injuries. Last year, 57 shootings caused injuries. 

More recently, there were seven shootings reported on the weekend of August 5th. The first incident was on Friday, May 5th at around 8 pm when shots were reported fired at Carl’s Jr in Gresham. Just one hour later gunfire broke out in downtown Gresham. Gresham Police recovered 52 bullet casings, but luckily nobody was injured. That same night, at 11 PM, shots were heard coming from a parking lot at 3356 S.E. Powell Valley Road. Just the next day, Saturday, August 6th, a drive-by shooting happened on Northeast 169th Avenue. A woman watching TV in her home got shot in the head as a result but was taken to a hospital and expected to survive. On Monday, August 8th, a shooting occurred in the Arco parking lot off Powell Boulevard. A stolen vehicle involved in the shooting was found abandoned just a few blocks away with blood on the interior. No arrests have been made.

The Gresham Police Department is working to make Gresham a safer place for its citizens. A community violence prevention movement called Safe Gresham has been created. Safe Gresham focuses on collaboration, intervention, and prevention. They work with the Gresham community and the police department to find solutions to safety issues. They also have a Multnomah County Regional Community Violence Forum that people can participate in. Safe Gresham provides youth violence support. Gresham’s mayor Travis Stovall says that many young adults and teens get involved in gun violence in Gresham. He stresses that we need to get to the root of the gun violence issue and help kids before they go down that path. Gresham police have focused on getting help to neighborhoods with high crime rates. 

The Gresham Police Department is also trying to work on internal problems so it can better serve the community. Staffing shortages make it hard to have officers that can cover all these shootings. Trying to hire more has been a big focus of the police department. Gresham also doesn’t have the general fund they need to work at their full potential. Hillsboro has nearly twice as much funding as Gresham even though they are about the same population. The Gresham police department has proposed public safety levies in the past but voters turned them down. Now, they are considering proposing a public safety levy in 2023. 

With increased gun violence in Gresham has come increased fear among the community. The police department is aware of this and focusing on this issue to make Gresham safer for its residents. The goal is just to decrease the number of shootings and bring the stats back down to how they used to be.