For a solid year Portland media claimed that the previous homicide record was 54 in 1993. Suddenly, every Portland media outlet is claiming that the city had 70 murders in 1987. None of these media outlets have given a source for this claim. We e-mail several and have not gotten any responses yet. The entire state of Oregon only had 153 homicides in 1987. That would mean Portland would have been responsible for 45.8%. It is true that Oregon had more state-wide murders in both 1986 and 1987 than it did in 1993. 45.8 would still represent a spike in Portland’s share of the homicides, which typically ranges from 30-40%. Though well within the realm of possibilities.

Currently, we believe that the figure of 70 homicides in 1987 is incorrect, though 1987 did have more homicides than 1993. We looked at old Portland media articles and found that 1987 was being reported as an all time record years ago, but that the number was previously reported to be 66. The figure of 70 might be a county-wide or “metro area” figure. Or some media outlet may have invented the figure of 70 and then other media outlets simply copied the erroneous number.

Also note that in 2019, Portland authorities made the rules stricter for what is officially counted as a homicide.

If 66 is the correct number of homicides that occurred in 1987, then Portland is still on track to exceed this both in total homicides and homicide rate in 2021.

In early August, Portland police announced that only 15 suspects have arrested for 2021 homicides so far.

62. Unnamed, Male, August 27th, (Suspect: Tera A. Harris, 49, Black female, vehicle used as murder weapon)

61. JaMarie Herring Sr, 25 year old Black male, August 22nd (Suspect: Rolando L. Mingledoff Jr., 22, Black male)

60. Jonathon “Johnny” Polanco, 30 year old White male, August 20th (Suspect: Unidentified Black male)

59. Quaii Snider, 37 year old Black male, August 17th (Killed in a homeless encampment)

58. David Turner, 45 year old Black male, August 10th, (Rapper affiliated with Wutang Clan, killed in mass shooting)

57. Odion Turner, 42 year old Black male, August 10th, (Rapper affiliated with Wutang Clan, killed in mass shooting)

56. Unnamed, August 8th, (Adult victim murdered on a public bus)

55. Unnamed, August 7th (Adult victim found murdered behind Portland school)

54. Quinton Bryce Miller, White male, 37, July 24th (Stabbed)

53. Joseph Dewey, 38, White male, July 17th

52. Makayla Maree Harris, 18, Black female, July 17th

51. Tyler Morlock, 27, White male, July 1st

50. Alex Hensley, 28, Black male, June 28th

49. Olance A. Upton, 47, Black male, June 25th

48. Alexander Douglas Martinson, 19, White Male, June 19th (Suspect: Jaizion Propps, 20, Black male)

47. Evelin Navarro-Barajas, 23 Hispanic female, June 18th

46. Sergio Hunt, 17, Black male, June 17th

45. Wiliam Kendrick, 36, Black male, June 17th

44. Unnamed, June 8th

43. Mitchell Nacoste, 31 Black male, June 6th

42. Kendall Gragg, 27 Black male, June 6th

41. Donovan Lenford, 24, June 6th

40. Eylon Willis, 23 Black male, June 6th

39. Gary O’Connor, 45, June 5th

In 1993, as the so-called “Crack Wars” raged across the country, Portland had a murder rate of 10.8 per 100k. Unless homicides drop, Portland is on track to experience a homicide rate in the neighborhood of 15 per 100k for 2021.

Before August 2019, Portland counted negligent vehicular homicide as part of their overall homicide count. This means the homicide counts for 2019 and earlier could be lower if the new rules were applied.

1971: 15 (384k people, 3.9 per 100k)

1987: 66 (450k people, 14.7 per 100k)

1993: 54 (498k people, 10.8 per 100k)

2008: 24
2009: 21
2010: 23 (about 584k people)
2011: 19 (forty-year low)
2012: 25
2013: 16 (forty-two year low, the lowest murder rate in modern history for Portland, about 607k people, 2.64 per 100k)
2014: 26
2015: 34
2016: 20
2017: 25
2018: 36
2019: 35
2020: 57  (about 659k people, 8.65 per 100k)*

At the end of 2020, the official number of homicides was 54, which was a tie with 1993 for being the highest in Portland’s history. However, now the Portland Police Bureau is reporting 57, which would make it an all-time high.

Average yearly homicides from 2008 to 2017: 23.3

In 1960, the entire state of Oregon, with 1.77 million people, only had 43 homicides. Today, Portland is estimated to have .65 million residents.

In 1971, the entire state of Oregon, with 2.16 million people, had 70 homicides. Portland, with 384k, had 15 homicides that year. 

The population increase since 1990 has been primarily Latino and Asians. Whites have declined as a percentage of the population since 1940. Blacks began declining as a percentage of the population since 1990.

According to the Portland Police:

Individual Shootings (first five months):

2021: 453
2020: 200
2019: 189

Individual Shootings per entire year:

2020: 891
2019: 381

Total Homicides per entire year:

2020: 57 (57 would mean 2020 was an all-time record by 3)
2019: 35
2018: 26
2017: 25
2016: 16

Portland will almost certainly set a new record for homicides, by a large margin, in 2021