August 11, 2015
For more information, please contact:
Justin Pabalate, Executive Co-Director, Development and Community Relations
4115 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97217
C: (707) 845-7080 | W: (503) 234-7837 ext 100
A teenager attending a private family celebration at Q Center on August 7 was injured in a shooting incident. We are greatly relieved to learn that the young man is well enough to have been released from the hospital, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to him and his family for his full and speedy recovery. We are sickened by this incident of gun violence at a family event, and we are grateful for the immediate assistance from Portland police and the subsequent outpouring of community love and support.
In seeking to learn what steps we could take to better understand and help reduce gun violence in our communities, we contacted former Q Center Board Chair Antoinette Edwards, who is Director of the City of Portland Office of Youth Violence Prevention. Director Edwards connected us with representatives from the Portland Police Bureau and the Mayor’s office, who have provided further context for this incident. We are also engaging with the Boise Neighborhood Association, Q Center’s surrounding neighbors, and other community leaders. As this update is being sent, we are having a safety assessment performed by Portland’s Crime Prevention Coordinator and we will be implementing her recommendations straightaway. We are committed to restoring a sense of safety to our neighborhood and to fostering community healing as we move through this terrible incident.
We will host an open meeting, for all affected, at Q Center on Wednesday August 12, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Please join us. Antoinette Edwards, a representative from the Portland Police Bureau, and Q Center’s staff and board of directors will share what we know, answer questions, and invite community feedback and reflection about what has happened. We’ll discuss ways to prevent future violence in our community, and we’ll explore the responsibility and role of Q Center and community members in addressing local violence.
We cannot overstate how deeply we appreciate your continued outpouring of support. Thank you.
Here are a few questions that we’ve been frequently asked regarding Friday’s incident:
What was the event?
The event was a private celebration for a local family who had rented space at Q Center after hours. It was a dance party for young people honoring a visiting family member. Elder family members were present and alcohol was not served. As is Q Center policy, a Q Center staff member and a volunteer were on hand. The family also had hired staff to secure the party.
Are private events common at Q Center?
Yes. Q Center regularly rents out rooms to private parties. A private event rental must not conflict with Q Center’s own scheduled activities and we require anyone renting or using space at Q Center to sign our Code of Conduct and Non-Discrimination Policy agreements. Event rentals are part of Q Center’s community engagement plan as well as being an important source of revenue for Q Center.
An argument between two youth led to a shooting, which happened as the party was winding down. It happened very quickly, which didn’t allow time for de-escalation tactics from Q Center’s trained staff or the hired security team.
Was it a hate crime?
No. The shooting was the result of an argument between two individuals.
Were people from Q Center’s programs targeted or otherwise involved?
No. Q Center’s regular programs were not involved in any way. This was an after-hours private family event that took place after Q Center’s regular programs were concluded for the day.
Was there a security system in place? How did the weapon get into the building?
Q Center staff and a volunteer were present and hired security was at the door. Attendees were patted down and screened with a wand in an effort to prevent anyone from bringing alcohol or weapons to the party. The North Precinct Police Commander has assured us that this incident was in no way the fault of the family or of Q Center. Even with pat downs and metal detectors, someone who is determined can get a gun into a secured space. We will continue to evaluate our safety policy and procedures at Q Center, and we’ll work with our neighbors, community leaders, and other community partners to ensure secure and positive events at Q Center.
Have regular activities resumed?
Yes! Your outpouring of moral support, the efforts of several volunteers, and the immediate response by board and staff has made it possible for us to clean up and get back to work and play.