The violence comes after two Jefferson High School students were shot in separate incidents near the school between October and November.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Officers from the Portland Police Bureau descended on the Argay Terrace neighborhood Friday evening. They were investigating a shooting near Northeast 133rd and Sandy. A 15-year-old boy had been hit by the gunfire and badly hurt.
Approximately 24 hours later, police say, another teen was shot. According to investigators, the 17- or 18-year-old girl was found near North Greeley and Ainsworth, but they believe she was shot elsewhere.
“It’s sad,” said Shon Neyland. “It’s hurtful to see so many caught up in this violence, in this mindset of ‘this is the way out’ or ‘this is the way I survive.’ It’s disappointing.”
The senior pastor at Highland Christian Center is particularly disappointed because the two shootings come on the heels of two other shootings that injured Jefferson High School students outside of the school. The latest was near North Killingsworth and Haight. The other, in October, was near North Commercial and Alberta.
“These types of situations strike home for me,” Freddie Mack of Portland Public Schools said at the time. “I’m a father of a son, and his safety is totally my foremost concern — and I share that concern with families of our PPS students.”
“What we need to do is sound the alarms that we need to take action as a community,” Neyland added.
Neyland knows it is no easy task, but he encourages faith leaders to start up mentorship programs like the one at his church. He says young kids need to be involved in the mentorship.
“When I say young, I’m talking five and six-year-olds and up,” Neyland said. “Once you try to mentor at 10,11,12 … you can, but it’s more difficult because they’re set in their ways.”
There is no saying this would have prevented the more than 1,100 shootings in Portland since the start of the year, but Neyland said that doing nothing is not an option. He insists that something must be done.
“We can change the future so there is hope in this season,” Neyland said. “I don’t want Portland to believe there is no hope. There is hope.”