PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Neighbors speak out after an illegal street racing event blocked an intersection northeast of Portland for about three hours on Sunday night.
Tire marks, and even tire threads, can be seen everywhere at the intersection of northeastern Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and northeastern Columbia Boulevard. The intersection is surrounded by fast food restaurants and a motel called the Portland Inn, which also provides housing for low-income residents.
Michael Gilbert, who lives at the Portland Inn, said the street racing event ran from around 9 p.m. to around midnight. According to him, the police came out and just watched.
“The traffic has been blocked all the way down this way and all the way down that way,” Gilbert told FOX 12.
Portland Police said they received calls of vehicles turning and blocking the intersection, even fireworks. Police told FOX 12 that an accident had been reported but no one was injured and that “due to congestion and crowds, police and medical staff had not entered.”
FOX 12 asked the police if they should have intervened. They said if there was an immediate threat they would have done it.
FOX 12 also received the following response from police: “Staff on duty must weigh the circumstances across town as they consider how to respond. Part of this consideration includes the resources available. Incidents involving an immediate threat to the safety of people are a priority, but they have to take into account the available resources so that any action they can take can be carried out safely. These are tough decisions to make. “
Gilbert said he understands the police have limited resources and doesn’t know what the solution is. One of his neighbors at the motel, who says he’s been abused in the neighborhood, says the police just don’t want to help his inner city.
“Don’t say you’re out of guns when it’s actually the location and the area. When we have someone wielding a gun here, we call the cops and they don’t go. don’t show up… you don’t want to deal with that part of town, ”Todd Kepus said.
Both men say they felt trapped in their homes last night by those who took to the streets. “They’re shooting fireworks, and I can’t figure out if it’s fireworks or gunshots, so we’re just staying in our room,” Gilbert said.
For months now, those who live and work in North and Northeast Portland have called on the city to do something about the problem of illegal street racing. Companies say some of their night and night workers cannot leave work without fear of being hit or killed by street runners.
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office said it plans to present city council with a draft proposed ordinance to combat street racing this month. The mayor’s office said it was still reviewing and finalizing the proposal.
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