PBOT adds traffic-calming devices outside Jefferson High School to deter violence

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 9:26 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - In the span of a month, three Jefferson High School students were shot on, or near, the campus in North Portland.

The first shooting happened in mid-October, where one student was shot in the leg and the other had their hand grazed by a bullet. In that instance, Portland Police said the suspect was in a car and crashed not far from the scene.

“That was pretty scary. I think we were even out walking that day and saw the car parked,” Aaron, who lives near the high school, said.

A month later, on Nov. 14, a student was shot in the shoulder driving near the school.

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation said Portland Public Schools reached out to them for help, so PBOT added traffic calming devices along North Commercial Avenue before kids returned to school. These traffic calming devices are small speed bumps in the shape of a rectangle that narrow the road down to one lane, forcing drivers to slow down if a car is coming in the opposite direction.

Some parents and neighbors aren’t sure this deterrent will stop shootings, but Aaron and Adrienne live behind the school and say it doesn’t hurt to try, especially because people speed in front of the school.

“I think the intent is a good idea to try and keep cars from speeding through and if that applies to gun violence as well, if it helps, that’s a good thing,” Aaron said.

This isn’t the first time traffic deterrents have been used to reduce gun violence. The Mount Scott-Arleta neighborhood was one of the first to get similar devices. Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office reported shootings there decreased while numbers stayed the same in other areas.

“The kids seem like good kids and they just want to go to school and probably not have a violent thing happen as well. So, it would be nice to see more effort from the city focused on this school,” Adrienne said.