Mayor Ted Wheeler Welcomes Global and Local Violence Prevention Experts to Coordinate Portland's Summer Gun Violence Reduction Efforts  

News Article
Shareef Khatib, Julian Massenburg, Mayor Wheeler and Kandel Ashley.

Today, the Mayor announced a newly appointed team to lead Safer Summer PDX, an upcoming action plan to prevent and address gun violence over the summer months. The team will work with Portland’s Community Safety Division (CSD).  

Safer Summer PDX builds upon the continued investments Mayor Wheeler has prioritized for community safety and sets the foundation for an upcoming Emergency Declaration focused on reducing gun violence. The Wheeler administration and the Portland Police Bureau will continue working with City Council offices, community groups and service providers to ensure a unified approach to this issue. 

“The summer months historically see a tragic surge in gun violence in Portland and across the nation. In order to effectively help address the problem at-scale, we must take coordinated action with experts and the local community,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “I am proud to welcome this distinguished team of professionals with a wide range of experience in strategic violence prevention. Together, we will continue to work to save lives and make for a safer Portland.” 

Portland’s Community Safety Division (CSD) serves as a newly expanded hub, linking citywide partners of Safer Summer PDX, including the Office of Violence Prevention and Crime Prevention who are now managed under CSD. This work supports the Portland Police’s Focused Intervention Team and Enhanced Community Safety Team who respond to active shootings, crime scenes and gun-related investigations. Safer Summer PDX will partner with bureaus to collaborate on place-based strategies to combat gun violence. Mayor Wheeler is aligning these partnerships and programs to apply best-practices and an evidence-based approach to gun violence citywide. 

Team members Shareef Khatib, Julian Massenburg, and Kandel Ashley provide diverse, hands-on experience addressing violence locally and internationally. This partnership connects local professionals with a global expert to bring a fresh perspective on these issues. 

Shareef Khatib has over 13 years' experience leading and implementing counter-violence, social, and democratic transitions in complex and dynamic environments. He has managed counter-violence project teams in Afghanistan, Iraq, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Southern and Sudan. He has advanced degrees in Local Government Management, Public Policy, and Medical Science. He was born in the UK, to Palestinian immigrants, and this upbringing helped shape his public service career choices.  

Since 2013, Julian Massenburg a Portland native, worked on the Communications Team in the City’s Office of Management and Finance. Julian attended Portland Public Schools and received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In 2021, he was tapped to assist with forming the City’s new Division of Community Safety and has played a key role in the division’s start up. Julian’s knowledge of Portland and ability to navigate the unique structures of our City Government, combined with his lived experience as a native Portlander who grew up in and lives in areas most affected by gun violence play an important role in the implementation of Safer Summer PDX. 

Kandel Ashley, also a Portland native, lives NE Portland. He has been working for the City of Portland in the Mayor’s office since 2021 as the Constituent Service Director. Before coming to work for the Mayor he spent 5 years working with youth and young adults at NAYA, (Native American Youth and Family Center) who were at high-risk of becoming involved in gang or gun violence. Kandel plans to use his relationships with community members and partners to strengthen connections between the city and the community to deter gun violence through the Safer Summer PDX initiative.