Over the weekend, several people were killed near illegal street racing “takeovers,” where street racers blocked roads and intersections in Portland.
Murders, shootings and street racing weakened police forces over the weekend, preventing them from cracking down on street racing.
The Portland Police Department (PBB) said the events made it difficult for officers to reach areas where people were killed.
Authorities issued a press release saying four people were shot while illegally racing over the weekend.
Police also reported that three people were shot during the Marine Drive street race on Sunday evening.
At 11pm on Sunday, authorities responded to a shooting near NE 1-5 on MLK Boulevard, where hundreds of people took part in illegal street racing.
Authorities said a man was found at the scene, but his injuries were not life threatening.
Another gunshot victim appeared at a Washington hospital in the same condition, while a third followed after being taken to a hospital with unknown gunshot wounds.
KGW media received videos of large-scale illegal racing events in Portland on Sunday night.
However, they have yet to find out if the shooting took place at or near the event. According to KGW, the event angered Portland residents.
Many reached out to the media on Sunday evening to share details about what they heard and saw and asked why the police were doing nothing about it.
Most of the complaints indicated that the racing events took place in northeastern Portland.
Several streets were occupied, and the event blocked the six-way intersection of Northeast 72nd Avenue, Sandy Boulevard, and Fremont Street in the Roseway neighborhood.
According to witnesses, hundreds of people and cars lined up for the event.
The cars were lined up five to six deep on either side of the intersection, making it difficult for anyone to pass.
People also reported “floating” cars, fireworks, and thick clouds of smoke.
There have also been reports of people sitting and standing on the rooftops of nearby commercial sites.
According to KGW, people contacted the police, but without success.
One person said he was told the police couldn’t do anything about it.
The police respond
PBB Lieutenant Nathan Sheppard said officers were unable to compete in road races because they responded to shootings (one of which resulted in the death of a man in southeastern Portland) and other “security calls.”
On Monday, police explained why they were unavailable and revealed that officers responded to three murders and seven more shootings this weekend.
Police also said street racing made it difficult for officers to reach areas where people were killed.
According to Sheppard, street racing events require a lot of officers due to the large number of participants.
There weren’t enough officers on Sunday to respond.
“Although it is the goal of the Portland Police Bureau to answer calls for service as soon as possible after they are dispatched, street racing incidents are typically large crowd control events requiring a large number of officers,” said Sheppard late Sunday night.
“Officers are currently working through several life/safety calls and there are not enough available to safely address the calls regarding street racing. Officers will respond as they become available and it is safer for them to do so.”
Attempts to suppress illegal street racing
In April, police said they would crack down on illegal street racing after numerous street acquisitions in recent years.
They released a statement saying they are “planning and gathering resources to conduct regular law enforcement missions.”
In August of last year, the Portland City Council voted in favor of a new ordinance banning street racing.
Under the order, violators risk jail time and having their car towed, with fines of up to $500.