Mayor: No new money needed to fund anti-gang task force

Thom Jensen (KATU) |  Oct 4, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a 19-year-old man was shot and killed in Old Town last week, Portland’s mayor is working with police to get a special youth gang team up and running again, and to pay for it he said no new money will be used.

Mayor Sam Adams said the city would use savings created by his new police chief’s management style and by shuffling resources.

The mayor’s plan comes after the shooting of Andre Payton, who was gunned down while partying with friends early Sunday morning, Sept. 26 at Northwest Second Avenue and Couch Street.

Police said at least 68 shots were fired. They said it was a gang shooting.

Payton’s family says he was not involved in gangs but they acknowledge many of his friends were gang members.

In 2007, the Youth Gun Anti-Violence Task Force, or Y-GAT as it was known, was eliminated due to budget cuts.

Adams said the team is a vital resource for identifying youth at risk and getting guns out of the hands of gang members. He said when it was cut, gang violence increased, he said bringing it back is the most important step in reducing gang shootings.

“We’re going to find the money in dribs and drabs and prioritize the restoration of Y-GAT,” he said Monday. “It is the single-most effective deterrent to illegal gun violence and illegal gang activity.”

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