PPB patrols in Entertainment District ‘a great thing’

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PPB hopes to expand patrol perimeter by February

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Dixie Tavern has been in Portland's entertainment district for 20 years. Co-owner Dan Lenzen said he expected thousands of people to come to the neighborhood on New Year's Eve and was happy to have Portland police patrolling.

“It’s nice to see that police officers are working with businesses to help them as an asset instead of cracking down,” Lenzen told KOIN 6 News.

Whit Femrite of Ridgefield, Washington said he always has a good time when he goes to the Dixie Tavern.

Portland Entertainment District at 9 p.m. New Year's Eve, December 31, 2023 (KOIN)

“That’s why I usually come downtown and I feel safe here,” Femrite said. “It's a really good thing for them to be here just in case something goes wrong.” They are nearby to help anyone who needs it.

After a hiatus of almost 2 years, the Portland Police Bureau has brought back details of the Entertainment District. On New Year's Eve, a team of 6 officers plus Sgt. Matt Nilsen patrolled the area by car.

During one drive, Nilsen told KOIN 6 News he starts by driving around “to see how places are doing, see who's open and who's busy.”

Portland Entertainment District at 9 p.m. New Year's Eve, December 31, 2023 (KOIN)
Portland Entertainment District at 9 p.m. New Year's Eve, December 31, 2023 (KOIN)

At 8 p.m., barricades were erected to close NW 3rd from Burnside to Davis and Couch from 2nd to 4th.

PPB wants to expand its reach by February to cover a wider area. Nilsen said they wanted to “block 4th down to Everett, then block Couch and Davis in 5th.”

Nilsen hopes adding more light will bring even more people back to the neighborhood.

“It’s inviting and if we can do it in this area it will help us,” he said.

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