The Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, included $10.2 million over two years in the mayor’s city budget proposal dedicated to the Office of Violence Prevention for programs and initiatives to reduce gun violence The final 2022-2023 budget will be adopted by the city council next month.
“Violence intervention programs are the backbone of our communities,” said Rachel Saslow, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These groups not only prevent gun violence, but also provide life-saving social services to our communities. This work requires adequate funding. Thankfully, our mayor understands this. We urge the city council to approve this budget immediately.”
In 2021, Portland had a record year of gun violence with more than 90 homicides — making it the worst year of gun violence since 1987. These elevated numbers are not limited to Portland. Across the state, gun violence of all types has ravaged communities. In Oregon, 81% of gun deaths are suicides, and of the 11 congressional districts nationwide with more than 100 gun suicides a year, two of them are in Oregon.
The city budget comes after Oregon state leaders prioritize violence intervention programs. During the legislative session, state lawmakers passed legislation to allot nearly $40 million for violence intervention programs in the state and HB 4045, legislation to ensure Medicaid covers violence intervention services provided in hospitals after someone suffers a violent injury and continues to be at risk. Both measures will be signed into law in June.
More information on gun violence in Oregon is available here. To speak with a Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer about their advocacy this session, please don’t hesitate to reach out.