City of Portland launches Ceasefire program to curb gun violence

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Today, the City of Portland announced a partnership with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) to launch and implement a focused deterrence strategy to reduce gun violence called “Portland Ceasefire.”

The program centers on collaboration among Portland’s Community Safety Division and Office of Violence Prevention, City leaders, the Portland Police Bureau, and community groups.

Sierra Ellis, former interim manager of Portland’s Office of Violence Prevention, will serve as Portland Ceasefire’s program manager.  

“Ceasefire’s success hinges on collaboration, coordination, and trust from all of our partners. We acknowledge Portland’s gun violence problem did not arise overnight and its resolution will take time,” said Ellis.  

While many elements of the Ceasefire model are already in place in Portland through the Office of Violence Prevention, the partnership with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform will provide a stronger framework to tackle Portland’s growing gun violence epidemic.  

"Portland Ceasefire works to unify the efforts of the community, law enforcement, and other government partners to engage directly with those at highest risk of carrying out or being victimized by gun violence," said Mayor Ted Wheeler. "This subject matter expertise will be invaluable to guide us as we build and implement a comprehensive program tailored to Portland."

Once implemented, the Portland Ceasefire model will follow these steps:  

  1. Work with partners to identify people who are at the highest risk of committing or being a victim of gun violence.
  2. Establish direct and respectful communication with these individuals.
  3. Offer these individuals services, opportunities, and support through multiple programs, including the Office of Violence Prevention’s Intensive Case Management Program. These services help individuals move to a safer location, complete a diploma or GED program, find a job, receive training, enroll in mental health treatment, and more. Recent investments doubled the Office of Violence Prevention’s case manager pool from 12 to 24 managers.  
  4. Unite the entire law enforcement community with the singular objective of reducing gun violence by prioritizing individuals who inflict the most harm upon the community and refuse to engage with services.  

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the City to help implement this Ceasefire strategy to combat gun violence and increase public safety,” said Keiland Henderson, Violence Program Reduction Manager with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. “This is not a law enforcement-led or driven strategy. It is an equal partnership with direct support provided by a host of community-based organizations at its core.”

Portland's contract with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform lasts through April 2024.  

Along with the Portland Ceasefire partnership, Portland is making a historic $4.5 million investment over the next two years to fund Street Level Outreach workers and violence interrupters through the Cure Violence model, a public health approach to reducing gun violence.