A string of drive-by shootings in Northwest Portland, Or., have left four people bleeding on sidewalks. The Oregonian says that Tom Frisch’s classic old Portland house was hit. “There were maybe 10 shots,” Frisch said, pointing at newly chipped paint near a second-story window. “If I had been in bed, my head would have been there, right about where the bullet hit.” Without knowing whether the shootings are the result of gang or drug disputes, or a combination, police can’t be certain where to concentrate their efforts. “This is one of those unexplainable upswings in activity,” said gang enforcement Lt. Eric Hendricks.
In the first six months of 2004, aggravated assaults, a key indicator of gang activity, dropped about 20 percent citywide, compared with the same period last year. Gang enforcement officers have investigated about half as many shootings. In an area known as the Alberta arts district, “It used to be like Vietnam around here,” said Earl Clark, who has run Earl’s Barbershop at Northeast 18th and Alberta since the 1980s. “We don’t want that coming back.” Clark said gentrification, new galleries and restaurants, and declining street violence have caused a lot of people to act as if crime has disappeared. “We need to get more involved — everybody,” he said.