Portland BLM riots
© Amy Harris/REX
The city turned over its streets to Black Lives Matter-Antifa rioters last year and allowed the far-left to dictate public policy.
At least a dozen major U.S. cities have set grim new records for homicides in 2021 — and the year is not over yet.

The city that may be the worst among them is Portland — where I'm from.

Portland turned over its streets to Black Lives Matter-Antifa rioters last year and allowed the far-left to dictate public policy.

Elected officials in the 'City of Roses' condemned the police, defunded law enforcement and coddled violent criminals in the name of 'anti-fascism' and 'anti-racism.' Now it's dealing with yet another year of surging murders, shootings, riots, homeless encampments, mass looting and violent criminality.

portland homicides
© Portland Police Bureau
In 2021, Portland surpassed its all-time record for murders at 87 homicides so far, more than a 50 percent increase over last year's high number.
In early December, the Portland Police Bureau announced that it would only be responding to the most serious 911 calls involving life or death scenarios.

'Due to critical incidents happening today and PPB's staffing shortage, officers are responding to Priority 1 and 2 calls only right now and response times may be delayed for certain calls,' wrote the PPB as the police department struggled to get enough officers to respond to a violent armed carjacker on a highway in north Portland.

Responding officers eventually shot out the windows of a fleeing car being driven by suspect Brandon Keck, who died.

The deadly incident that shut down an entire major highway in Portland for hours wasn't the only time in recent weeks that Portlanders in need of emergency help were put on hold.

When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on Nov. 19, Antifa rioters gathered to try and burn down the county jail in downtown as revenge.

'Significant resources have been diverted to address this riot and it is affecting response times. While we have officers assigned to address emergencies citywide, lower priority calls will have to wait for a while,' PPB wrote on Twitter.

Two days after the riot, a Portland woman called 911 at 3:37 p.m. pleading for help because she was in a hostage situation. Responding officers were fired upon at the residence in question, forcing them to retreat and call in specialized units. Ten hours later, officers finally broke inside and apprehended the armed suspect, 29-year-old Davonte Donahue. Mariela Gonzalez Rocha, the young Latina woman who called police for help, was already dead.
portland murder police slow

Ten hours after Mariela Gonzalez Rocha (left) called Portland police in November 2021, officers finally broke inside her apartment and apprehended 29-year-old Davonte Donahue. Rocha was already dead.
Even without an emergency crisis eating up immediate law enforcement resources, the city has struggled to respond quickly to high-priority 911 calls.

Before rioting began in May 2020, the average response time for high-priority life and death emergency calls was around eight minutes.

Now it takes 60% longer. Lower priority 911 calls can take hours and police often never show up, according to public records from the Bureau of Emergency Communications.


Last month, Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also doubles as the police commissioner, ordered the director of Emergency Communications to provide him with data showing how long police were taking to respond following a surge of complaints by residents.

But the mayor should look to himself first for the situation Portlanders find themselves in today.

As 2021 comes to an end, the consequences of the political decision-making by Wheeler and those on the city council to defund and demoralize law enforcement after George Floyd's death is clear: more black and brown people are dying — and few are able to get the help they need when they call police.

From Seattle to Austin and New York City, every American city that defunded police last year immediately experienced surging violent criminality. And even before this year is over, 12 American cities, all led by Democrats, broke their all-time annual homicide records.

Though Portland doesn't have anywhere near as many murders as larger cities long plagued by gang warfare, for example, Chicago and Philadelphia, Portland takes the dishonor of having among the highest percentage increase of homicides anywhere in the U.S. for two years in a row now.

Until recently, the city enjoyed a reputation for being quirky, progressive and safe.

After Floyd's death, Portland's city council hacked away at the policing budget in order to appease the demands of violent far-left extremists who carried out a nightly campaign of terror. The far-left rioters torched buildings, carried out mass lootings, maimed those who dared to stand up and even murdered one man, a Donald Trump supporter.

For their violence and intimidation, the city rewarded them by defunding police to the tune of $27 million and abolished the Gun Violence Reduction Team within the PPB, citing systemic racism.
portland police response times longer
© Portland Police/Twitter
Portland Police Bureau tweet alerting public to delay in police response times due to 'staffing shortage'
Amid months of riots last year that demoralized law enforcement and drove officers to resign or take early retirement en masse, the whole country on average experienced an unprecedented surge in homicide.

From 2019 to 2020, the U.S. on average recorded a 30 percent increase in homicides. That's the biggest jump in murders in a single year since the FBI began compiling homicide statistics in the 1960s.

But in Portland, where the far-left riots were sustained the longest with the moral support of local politicians, that jump was 83 percent last year.

And it became worse.

In 2021, Portland surpassed its all-time record for murders at 87 homicides so far, more than a 50 percent increase over last year's high number.

For a city of 650,000 residents, Portland had more homicides this year than larger cities on the west coast like San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Compounding the problem is that the number of sworn officers in the Portland Police Bureau is at its lowest since the 1980s despite the city experiencing surging population growth for the last 30 years.

Currently, there are around 788 sworn officers in the city, or about 1.2 officers per 1,000 people. Compared to other American cities of similar population size, Portland has the fewest officers per thousand people. For example, Boston has three officers per thousand, Milwaukee has 2.8, and Washington, D.C. has five.

Portland lost 140 officers to retirement, transfers and resignations since rioting began a year and a half ago. In exit interviews released to local journalists, officers who resigned in Portland often cited Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt as one of the reasons.

Schmidt, an outspoken progressive and police critic, came into office during the height of the riots in the summer of 2020 and promptly enacted a policy decriminalizing most riot-related offenses. His successful 2020 campaign was supported by Real Justice, a political action committee co-founded by radical anti-police activist Shaun King.

Over 90 percent of those arrested at the riots last year in Portland for crimes ranging from arson to assault had their cases effectively dropped.
wheeler mayor portland police response times
© Ted Wheeler/Twitter
Mayor Wheeler now says he wants to add at least 300 new officers to the Portland Police. He also proposes rehiring retired officers and offering $25,000 signing bonuses to new recruits. But the efforts are too little and too late.
Unable to deny the bloody consequences of BLM and Antifa-inspired politics in Portland, the city council has attempted to reverse course.

Some of their proposals would be amusing were it not for the number of people dying each week. In October, Portland city council member Jo Ann Hardesty, who was the most vocal about defunding police and called last year's riots 'the new civil rights movement,' ordered the city place more traffic cones in the roads to combat surging shootings. It didn't work.

Last month city council voted to refund police in a new budget that added back $5.2 million to what was cut last year. The Gun Violence Reduction Team that was abolished has also been resurrected under a new name, the Focused Intervention Team — but it's not operational because few officers are volunteering to join.

Mayor Wheeler now says he wants to add at least 300 new officers to the Portland Police. He also proposes rehiring retired officers and offering $25,000 signing bonuses to new recruits.

But the efforts are too little and too late. The bureau has struggled for over a year and a half to find enough recruits.

Meanwhile, a new year is around the corner and another spate of officers are expected to retire.