PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Multnomah County plans to spend $1 million to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations, District Attorney Mike Schmidt said Thursday.
Sixty-five people have died in homicides this year in Portland, approaching the most ever recorded in the city, which was in 1987 when there were 70 homicides. The vast majority of people have been killed in shootings.
Schmidt is still working with County Chair Deborah Kafoury on getting the money approved, though he said his office is already recruiting for the six new positions.
He and Kafoury were among county leaders who spoke publicly to outline initiatives the county is taking to respond and try to stem the violence.
“We felt that it was important for the community to know that Multnomah County is not sitting on the sidelines,” she said.
The county plans to spend $2.8 million in July to hire seven mental health specialists with ties to the Latino, African immigrant and African American communities, Health Director Ebony Clarke said.
The health department’s response to gun violence will also deploy trusted community members “who have successfully learned how to make a shift in their life,” she said.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said deputies have confiscated 719 guns this year, in contrast to the 319 in 2020 and 267 in 2019.