Despite Mayor Sam Adams' push to negate gang violence, Portland saw eight deaths related to gang violence in 2011—the highest in over a decade. The majority of these deaths were youth. In response to this morbid boom, Portland-area pastors joined together today to sign a new protocol for gang-related funerals, nixing gang attire (specific colors, bandanas, hats, etc.) and other items "glorifying gang life."
"As community leaders Pastors have come together to take a stand against violence," wrote the Portland Police Bureau in a press release. "Sadly, many times this stand comes at a time of crisis and in the face of senseless tragic violence where there is a loss of life of a young person."
The pastors hope that banning gang-related regalia will combat the looming influence gang culture has on local violence and deaths. The pastors signed this Covenant for Violence at 10:30 this morning.
According to police stats, Portland gang shootings are already up from last year at this time (36 compared to 57), with an even spread of activity across the city. Yikes. For now, Mayor Adams has kicked off his program to distract kids from gang involvement this summer (Operation Safe Summer—which sounds more like an FBI operative than some laid-back puppet classes for youth) in parks across Portland. Let's hope for change.