Illegal Sideshows and Takeovers Are Spreading to Portland, Oregon, Too

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People in California are familiar with the latest form of illegal street racing, sideshows and takeovers, where huge groups of people gather around stunting cars and close down roads and intersections. It’s a serious problem for local communities, and unfortunately, it’s spreading. A new story in The Oregonian shows just how much street racing is affecting the Portland community.

On Sunday nights in particular, participants come out and do stunts with their cars, like burnouts and donuts. From the story:

Across Portland, such gatherings play out frequently on Sunday nights, though they fly largely under the public radar as most people are home and fewer officers are on the streets. At the most popular event, called T5 by participants and police because of its proximity to the Port of Portland’s Terminal 5, up to 1,000 spectators regularly flood onto sidewalks and empty parking lots as a couple hundred cars descend on the area.


The outlet notes that, since 2015, four people in Portland have been killed in street-racing incidents. A recent high school graduate was struck by a racer recently and ended up in a coma. She’s still in the hospital.

The racers have shut down a bridge, there were races where shots were fired. And another racer also tried to hit a police car. It’s out of control.


Part of the rapid growth of the street racing has to do with the fact that these drivers know that the police can’t do much about it, according to The Oregonian. The Portland Police Bureau is apparently “stretched thin by other overtime demands, has limited resources to combat the racers. And safety concerns hinder officers’ ability to chase racers when they flee.”

“The cops are never going to stop us,” an unnamed racer told the outlet. “It’s the adrenaline that keeps everyone coming back.”


They also come back for the social media notoriety, another common theme that we found in our street racing story from last month. They take to YouTube and Snapchat to document their antics.

Local businesses report property damage as a result of the races. Others are trying to offer legalized events for safer racing, though those options are usually expensive and don’t offer the same kind of rush. People in the community are very worried that more will get hurt until something changes.


It’s an excellent feature about a very real and dangerous problem. You can read the whole thing here.

(h/t to Ryan!)