Nicknamed the “Rose City” and known for its once laid-back lifestyle and far-left politics rivaled only by Seattle to the north and San Francisco to the south, Portland, Oregon is now becoming infamous for its rising body count.
According to the most recent population estimate, more than 645,000 people reside in this city at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Portland closed out 2021 with a staggering 90 homicides, breaking the previous record of 70, way back in 1970, according to Willamette Week. That’s far more than the 43 reported in Seattle for last year.
Homicide didn’t take any time off over the New Year’s holiday weekend, either. Willamette Week is reporting that Portland chalked up two murders just hours into the new year
KOIN News us reporting that 2021 “was the most violent year on record” for Portland.
What has happened to the city? In 2020, Portland was rocked by almost nightly violent demonstrations as anarchists exploited the protest movement following the death of George Floyd while being held down by a Minneapolis police officer. At one point, then-President Donald Trump hinted he might send in federal officers since one of the targets of protesters was the federal building.
In a year-end review dated Dec. 17, National Review was hardly flattering when it noted, “Portland’s approach to governance over the past two years has been a paradox: an unholy marriage of lax prosecution of real crime and draconian crackdowns against law-abiding small-business owners and citizens.”
According to NR reporter Nate Hochman, “ The district attorney for Multnomah County, where Portland is located, declined to prosecute 70 percent of cases related to Black Lives Matter protests (in 2020), and the Portland Police Bureau leaves 911 callers on hold for hours.”
Meanwhile, the Democrat-dominated Oregon Legislature clings to the notion that tougher gun control laws affecting honest citizens will somehow discourage criminals from creating chaos. The Police Bureau seems overwhelmed, and the mayor and city government seem determined to not create waves.
National Review’s article opened with a brief recounting of how former bike shop operator Dylan Carrico Rogers “slept in his bike shop with a shotgun.” He called the crime situation in Portland a “free-for-all.”
It is not clear when the city began its descent into the abyss but it has been exacerbated by city policies that, like Seattle and San Francisco, seemed to attract a growing horde of drug abusers and other derelicts.
As Rogers observed to NR, “Grocery-store workers are getting attacked, because we have drug addicts that are literally walking in and doing these blitz raids.”
The most recent estimate of active concealed carry licenses in Oregon, by the Crime Prevention Research Center, is more than 300,000. This is about half the number of active concealed pistol licenses in neighboring Washington. Oregon does not recognize out-of-state licenses or permits.
What Oregon does recognize is bad publicity, and reporting a record number of homicides in the state’s premier city is the kind of publicity from which a municipal government hides.
With two murders (so far) in just the first hours of the new year, the next 12 months is unlikely to be pleasant. City officials can’t blame Trump, and they cannot blame law-abiding gun owners. And they are unlikely to blame themselves.