Freezing temperatures endanger Portland residents
Tonight will likely bring us the third night in a row of temperatures below freezing. Multnomah County, in partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services and the City of Portland, operated winter weather shelters on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The shelters are currently slated to reopen tonight (Thursday) at 8:00 p.m. The shelters can serve a total of 370 people. While the data from last month’s point-in-time count is still being compiled, we know that the number of Portland residents living without shelter has gone up since 2019, when the last point-in-time count occurred. At that point, more than 2,000 people were unsheltered.
While the shelters allow people to bring pets with them, the shelters are not providing food. Mutual aid organizers able to provide meals attempted to coordinate with the Joint Office of Homeless Services but received no response. Local mutual aid groups have provided hot meals, winter gear, and hotel rooms for Portland residents over the past several days. I’m maintaining a thread of resources and ways to support these efforts on my personal Twitter account that I’ll continue to update.
Portland police kill man in Southwest Portland
On Saturday evening, Portland police officers Zachary Kenney and Reynaldo Guevara killed Joel Arevalo in the Southwest Hills neighborhood. The killing took place inside a residential building, which police reportedly went to in response to reports about a disturbance and potentially shots fired. It took the Portland Police Bureau four days to release Arevalo’s name.
Arevalo is the first person killed by PPB officers this year, although not the first person to be killed by area law enforcement in 2022. In 2021, PPB killed four people and shot another four. Portland’s city council is expected to vote later today on a new police union contract that would fund pay raises for police officers, as well as an expansion of PPB.
Kenney is a member of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s Police Policy committee and the vice president of the Portland Police Association. Kenney also wrote an opinion piece for The Oregonian in 2010 defending police offers who shoot people who appear to be unarmed. He was also involved in a 2006 incident where PPB officers reported false information on a use of force report. Guevara joined PPB in 2020, the same year he graduated from the Oregon Public Safety Academy’s basic police class.
The Portland Police Bureau has released minimal information on their latest killing, combining what little information they offered into a press release also covering the unrelated mass shooting at Normandale Park also on Saturday and the also unrelated drive-by shooting that killed one and injured three.
Yurok tribe declares state of emergency over missing Indigenous women
The Yurok Tribe has declared a state of emergency after five Indigenous women have been reported missing in the last 18 months on the Yurok reservation and in surrounding areas. Two more women died under mysterious circumstances in the same time period. The Yurok reservation includes land just south of the Oregon-California border and
The most recent woman to go missing, Emmilee Risling, has not been seen since October and family members are frustrated with the minimal response from both media and law enforcement. Multiple articles have focused on Risling’s struggles with mental health, rather than stories that humanize Risling.
The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. is unknown, though a 2021 report from the National Congress of American Indians estimated that Indigenous women are murdered three times as often White women and that 80% of Indigenous women report experiencing violence. Numbers in Oregon appear to match national numbers, based on a 2020 report from the Oregon State Police. The State of Oregon has taken minimal action based on the report so far.