PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Grim statistics from Portland police shows a drastic spike of gun violence in the metro area. This year alone, police say they've responded to more than 1,000 shootings. Now, local organizations are banding together in hopes of restoring peace in the city.

The Better Portland campaign and the World Deliverance Church hosted a conference Thursday to address the gun violence in Portland.

Reverend Dr. Mark Knutson, Chair of Lift Every Voice Oregon, spoke about two state measures that aim to prohibit the sale of large firearms and promote common sense gun laws.

"Mass shootings happened everyday in our cities. We have students in preschool to PHD's who have never lived without the fear of shootings or gun violence," said Knutson.

The first state measure - Initiative Petition 17 - bans the sale of large capacity magazines and requires a permit to purchase. The second - Initiative Petition 18 - bans the sale of assault-style weapons.

Both measures have cleared the secretary of state's office and have been given ballot titles and language by the attorney general. Now, the measures sit in front of the Oregon Supreme Court for approval. Once approved, the effort to get those measures on the Nov. 2022 ballot will begin.

"We'll need 112,000 signatures for each, and we're going to do that with all volunteers, especially young people across the state," Knutson said.

Despite Portland now passing the 1,000 marker for shootings in 2021, Knutson says he still believes there can be change.

"We believe in prayer, we believe in action born in compassion," he said. "Action born of compassion, of peace, of hope - profound hope that things can change."

Community leaders say they will be hosting events throughout the year to incentivize people to help end gun violence. The next event held will be the Better Portland Stop the Violence, Community and Youth Rally. The rally will be start at 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

'We believe in action': Community leaders discuss gun violence in Portland

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