Hazelwood neighborhood looks to lower its high shooting total in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - A report released a few days ago from the Portland Police Bureau documents how many shootings each Portland neighborhood saw throughout 2022.
The Hazelwood neighborhood tops the charts with at least 129.
Arlene Kimura, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association President, said she believes it’s not Hazelwood residents harming other residents, but instead the violence is caused by those who are passing through.
“Unfortunately, our residents and community members get in the crossfire,” Kimura said.
Most recently, Kimura is referring to the year’s first deadly shooting incident last Monday. It happened at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Northeast Glisan Street.
“Other people were taking out their frustrations with guns,” she said. “He just got in the way.”
She described her neighborhood as “fragmented,” and made up of “immigrants and refugees.”
“They’re just ordinary, blue-collar people,” she said. “They deserve the same consideration as people who have money do.”
The diversity is a draw for her, and part of the reason that she has been living in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. Over those years, she has been watching her community grow more and more.
“Almost everybody knew each other 15, 20 years ago,” she recalled. “It’s just not the case anymore. In past, you didn’t have to be as careful. Now, you actually have to be quite alert.”
Kimura said many in her community aren’t native English speakers, and don’t have the resources to easily report crime. In her words, “they’re very uncomfortable with the police. In fact, most officialdom is not their friend.”
Kimura said, “we have people who get robbed regularly and don’t report it because they’re afraid.”
She’d like to see the ability to report crime become more achievable for all people, and “not just those who speak really good English.”
In her mind, her cautious community isn’t as tight knit as it used to be which has led to increasing violence.
“The perpetrators think they can get away with it because no one is watching,” Kimura said.
To ensure gun violence going into 2023 doesn’t follow suit of last year, she encouraged people to try and help clean up the streets, brighten them up and build a stronger neighborhood.
“Small spots,” she smiled. “You don’t have to fix the entire neighborhood. Just fix your corner.”
Kimura said that can look like picking up some trash or talking with community members to become closer. She hopes that will lead to streets that feel safer again, and perhaps work as a deterrent to crime.
She also noted that it seems as though infrastructure has fallen behind with how dense the population has become. She mentioned dark streets, corners and alleyways that may act as an invitation for those who are up to no good.
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