Portland breaks 1993 homicide record with five and half months to go

Two more killed during a mass shooting at a homeless encampment

Update – Since writing this article, we have discovered that Portland had 66 homicides in 1987. An even higher number than in 1993. As of August 29th, Portland has had at least 62 homicides. Currently the city is on track to surpass the number of homicides in 1987. Despite having a much larger population, Portland is also on track to exceed their 1987 homicide rate by a small margin. Click here for the latest data on Portland homicides.

Even though nearly five months are left, Portland, Oregon, just set a new all-time high homicide record for 2021. The number of 2021 homicides hit 58 after a mass shooter killed two people and wounded three others at a homeless encampment yesterday.

In 2020, Portland broke the numerical homicide record set in 1993 but did not break the actual homicide rate set in 1993. If homicides continue at a similar pace for the rest of the year, Portland will shatter the all-time-high rate set in 199s. Portland has averaged 7.7 homicides per month during the first seven months of 2021. They only need an average of 4.2 homicides per month from August to December to have the highest homicide rate in the city’s history.

There have been at least four homicide victims in Portland for August so far. The local Portland media has not provided any specific details on the victims yet.

58. Unnamed, August 10th, (Adults victim killed at homeless encampment)

57. Unnamed, August 10th, (Adult victim killed at homeless encampment)

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 its highest recorded murder rate ever at 11.61 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)

1993: 54 (465k people, 11.61 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 all-time high (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