A multi-agency effort netted 15 arrests, including gun and drug seizures in just four hours last Thursday, September 8th.
The location is likely familiar to many of you: the busy intersection of SE 122nd and Burnside, where a light rail line, bike lanes, and many other traffic lanes come together. Statistically, this intersection is a hotspot for all types of crimes, crashes, and traffic violations. It likely made the list for police enforcement because there were two recent shootings near here last month alone.
In a statement today, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said their Transit Police Division worked with the Portland Police Bureau and TriMet on what they call a “public safety mission.” “During the mission, approximately 20 officers and deputies performed high-visibility foot patrols, provided outreach, made numerous positive contacts with community members and addressed crime near the 122nd Ave. MAX Station and in the immediate neighborhood,” read the statement.
The Sheriff’s Office said in addition to the 15 arrests they handed out 31 warnings, seized drugs, and recovered one loaded gun (that happened to be stolen). To streamline the arrest process, they had a mobile booking system set up in the field. They chose 4:00 to 8:00 pm because that’s when the Transit Police Division says they get the highest number of calls for service.
Funding for the effort came in part from Multnomah County’s Enhanced Public Safety Initiative which was supported by local elected officials to the tune of $4 million last year. Back in April, County Sheriff Mike Reese told us he was very concerned that the Portland Police Bureau chose to de-prioritize traffic violations and said he wanted to see more attention paid to high crash corridors like 122nd Avenue. “You’re going to have an added benefit by putting boots on the ground in those high crash corridors, reducing the potential for really tragic outcomes with accidents and fatalities. And you’re also going to dissuade people from engaging in gun violence,” Sheriff Reese said.
While TriMet ridership is slowly ticking upwards, it remains only about half of what it was pre-pandemic. For some people, the lack of safety on our streets and around transit stations is a big reason they don’t ride more. TriMet launched a “Reimaging Public Safety and Security” initiative to respond to these concerns. Learn more about the effort on their website.