Portland officials ended safety measures in Old Town’s entertainment district. Then a teen was shot to death.
On a recent Friday evening, Dan Lenzen, owner of Dixie Tavern in Old Town, packed his pickup truck with borrowed traffic cones and barricades.
He and some of his bar employees fanned out to block a number of nearby streets, a service that the city of Portland had previously permitted and paid for to bolster public safety in the neighborhood’s entertainment district.
Giving bar patrons more room to spread out and preventing vehicles from driving through the area reduced the likelihood of aggression, traffic accidents and drive-by shootings, city and police leaders had reasoned when they instituted the practice on weekend nights nearly a decade ago. A team of officers that patrolled the streets added even greater protection.