A Vancouver man was found dead with a gunshot wound just after 2 a.m. Thursday in North Portland.
Officers were called after someone saw the man bleeding and unconscious in the street near North Bruce Avenue and Hudson Street.
The victim was identified as 19-year-old Dalton Marshall. He suffered at least one gunshot wound. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Police believe Marshall was socializing along North Interstate Avenue in the hours before he was killed.
Police did not have any suspect information or any information about a motive.
“It’s really heartbreaking to me that somebody died on our street,” said Sara Henderson, who’s lived less than two blocks from the scene of Thursday’s shooting for six years.
She says when she heard what happened, she didn’t know what to think.
“Was it one of our neighbors? Like, how? Nobody heard anything,” she said.
Police say the city’s growing population and rising rent prices have broken up old neighborhoods where crime used to be more concentrated and scattered offenders across the city.
It’s a sharp contrast from the handful of violent hotspots that existed years ago.
“We could put a bunch of resources in that area from probation to enforcement and put a cooling effect on the community that is involved in these crimes. Today, those areas don’t exist the way they used to,” said Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau. “So it’s much harder from an enforcement strategy standpoint to send people to a neighborhood when the gunfire happens everywhere from St. Johns to Gresham into downtown.”
It’s harder still, when it comes to combating gang violence.
So far this year, Portland police have responded to 160 instances of gang violence.
That’s up from 109 last year.
Criminologist Randy Blazak says many of Portland’s gang-plagued areas have been injected with new neighbors and more money. Often, he says, the new residents expect the neighborhood to come with a clean slate.
But in these cases, change is a slow process.
“Often the gang is the most stable institution in the neighborhood. When there isn’t a lot of other stable institutions, the gang is the kind of go-to thing that’s always there,” he said. “And so it makes it hard to change. Institutions are hard to change. They’re not changing overnight… So, if you’ve had a gang in a neighborhood for a couple decades, it’s not going to go just because property values go up. It’s going to linger for a while and be a creature of that neighborhood,” said Blazak.
Marshall is the fourth person who died after being involved in a shooting in Portland in the past week. Police have not said whether his death was gang-related.
On Wednesday, one person was shot and killed near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland.
A man died after being shot in the head in Northeast Portland Saturday night. Police are investigating both of those deaths as homicides.
On Nov. 6, an armed, suicidal man was killed by police after he fired several rounds near Good Samaritan Hospital.
Marshall’s death is the 29th homicide in Portland this year, not including three officer-involved fatal shootings.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous.