Following a thwarted gun attack this weekend and continuing violence in the downtown entertainment district, Portland police are expected to meet with downtown bar owners some time in the next month.
Police are particularly concerned about fights—some of them gang related—taking place in and around the parking garage on the corner of NW 1st and Davis on Saturday nights after local clubs have closed. They say the violence is linked to a number of clubs exceeding capacity and serving too much alcohol.
Police sources say a fight broke out on that intersection last Saturday night, July 8, among a group of Hispanic men—as one man was being beaten badly, another man drew a semi-automatic Ruger and threatened his friend's attackers. When security emerged from nearby clubs to intervene, he threw down the gun and fled the scene.
Three weeks ago, on the weekend of June 17, state fire marshals reported 100 people too many in the Voodoo Lounge on the corner of NW 1st and Couch. (Police, though, are quick to point out that the problem is larger than just one club.) Later that night, seven police officers were called out to quell fighting between a group of known Asian gang members in the nearby parking garage.
Walter Garcia, one of the city's crime prevention coordinators, wants to set up a "bar summit" within 30 days to look at ways of easing the situation.
The move follows an agreement from earlier this year between police and downtown club security, which requires security to wear yellow T-shirts in order to be distinguished from clubgoers.
Retired East Precinct Commander Cliff Jensen says, "[The downtown entertainment district] is where your next shooting or homicide is going to come from. So far, it's bubbling—but one of these days, boom, it's going to bubble until somebody gets shot."