Oregon : Safety by City
- Baker City
- Coos Bay
- Hood River
- Klamath Falls
- La Grande
- Lincoln City
Just east of Portland, Gresham, Oregon is a vibrant city boasting a rich history, unique charm, and stunning natural surroundings.
Its roots trace back to the mid-19th century when it began as a settlement along a major route connecting Portland to the Oregon Trail.
Gresham’s nickname as the “Raspberry Capital of the World” reflects its deep agricultural heritage.
In its heyday, the city’s fields overflowed with berries, contributing significantly to Oregon’s agricultural industry.
The city’s downtown area exudes a special charm.
Historic Main Street, lined with quaint shops, restaurants, and art galleries, invites visitors to stroll and experience its local flavor.
Vibrant murals and sculptures add a touch of contemporary art to the cityscape.
Beyond the city center, Gresham boasts breathtaking natural beauty.
Part of the city sits on the southern edge of the Columbia River.
Gresham’s location further adds to its appeal.
Situated just minutes from Portland, it offers easy access to the bigger city’s attractions while maintaining its own distinct identity.
The proximity to major highways and the Portland International Airport makes travel and commuting convenient.
Warnings & Dangers in Gresham
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Gresham, but it's worth noting that I've been battling back and forth between a medium risk. The city has a bad reputation in some respects, and there's not a wealth of things to do. Crime data doesn't help, but it also doesn't put it as one of the most dangerous.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
TriMet is the public transportation system for greater Portland. You can see the list of stops on the website to see if it suits your needs. A light rail can also take you right into the city. Taxis and cabs are easy to find here. Rental cars are the best option for those wanting to explore places like Mount Hood, but please keep reading to learn about car thefts and car break-ins in Gresham.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, with 14 pickpockets and purse snatchings reported in 2022. Over the past five years, an average of 17 were reported each year. You are 78% more likely to have a purse taken than a wallet. The higher-than-average overall theft rate also led to this ranking.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Gresham averages 58 inches of rain per year, which poses risks for flash flooding and long-term flooding. It also brings the risk of landslides. While earthquakes are less frequent than in other regions, they can still strike and cause damage. Wildfire risk also looms large, particularly during dry summers and windy conditions, posing a danger to forested areas. Though less likely, tsunamis remain a possibility. There's a medium risk overall.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
Robberies are almost double the national average, and about one in five are highway robberies. It's a medium risk to the extent that you really have to pay attention to your surroundings and not venture into unknown neighborhoods, especially at night.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Being part of a large metro area will put it at a medium risk. However, it's more important to be aware of risks and suspicious activity, so you can report them.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Common scams will be reported through law enforcement websites. You can also review the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau websites for trending scams. While I don't see any scams that stand out as targeting tourists, you should always be aware of deals that seem too good to be true or pressure to pay for something using gift cards.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should use all the smart personal safety tactics as you would in any big city. Nothing in the crime data suggests there's a greater risk for women.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2023 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Any water issues will be reported through Public Alerts. We'll tell you how to sign up for those a little later on.
Safest Places to Visit in Gresham
The Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce is the best website for places to visit in the city.
Travel Portland is the website for the entire metro area.
You can also visit the Historic Downtown Gresham website to see the latest local events, like farmer’s markets and “Third Thursday” community festivals.
Gresham Japanese Garden on Tsuru Island is a beautiful place featuring traditional Japanese landscaping, a teahouse, and a koi pond.
It’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
While it sounds far away since it’s an “island,” it’s actually part of Main City Park.
Main City Park also has a variety of amenities, including a dog run, skate park, playgrounds, and a swimming pool.
It’s a great place to spend a day with the family across 21 acres.
Hogan Butte Nature Park includes views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and the Columbia River Gorge from its perch more than 900 feet high.
Gresham History Museum tells the story of Gresham and the surrounding area.
It has exhibits on the city’s history, culture, and people.
You’ll need a boat to get to Government Island State Recreation Area on the Columbia River, but with three islands to explore, it’s worth the effort!
The islands aren’t developed, so it’s a nice escape from the city without going too far.
Gresham is also just an hour from Mount Hood, with four seasons of activities, from skiing to hiking.
Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in the state, rising more than 11,000 feet above sea level.
One thing I wouldn’t miss if I were you is the stunning Multnomah Falls, just 20 minutes away.
Towering 620 feet among the lush greenery of the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls reigns as Oregon’s tallest waterfall.
The icy cascade plunges in two tiers, offering breathtaking views from various viewpoints along the accessible trails.
Places to Avoid in Gresham
Since crime rates and hot spots can change quickly, I’m not going to give you potentially outdated crime information.
What I can tell you is this – the police department has about the most robust tool I’ve ever seen for current crime data.
The Gresham Police Transparency Portal offers real-time data, and you can sort it however you’d like.
There are particular crime categories you can choose or look at the overall heat maps for the city.
Zoom in or out to see whatever view you prefer.
Overall, the places to avoid are neighborhoods where you don’t have any reason to be.
Also, if you see a crime happening – like a car theft – don’t intervene.
Call the police.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Gresham
- Gresham has its own police department. Follow them on Facebook @greshampolice or call (503)618-2318 to ask specific safety questions. Emailed questions can be sent to GPD@GreshamOregon.gov.
- Sign up for Public Alerts through the City of Gresham website. They use the Everbridge program. You need to be aware of weather dangers, earthquakes or volcanic activity. While you’re on that site, read the city’s emergency management plan.
- If you are the victim of a crime such as a car break-in, vandalism, or hit-and-run without injury, you can file that police report online. If a crime results in injury, involves drugs or includes a weapon, you’ll need to call for a police officer.
- The city has a newsletter emailed out each month. Signing up for this before your trip is a great way to stay informed about community events and safety threats.
- Anglers need a license from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. You can purchase that license online. If you plan on boating, a non-motorized boat waterway access permit is also required.
- “My Gresham” is a problem-reporting tool offered by the city. This is where you can report an issue like graffiti, broken tree branches, or missing stop signs. What is particularly great about this tool is you can also see other recent reports.
- This is a bicycle-friendly region. You should read the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan before you ride to learn specific rules in this region. The website also has a helpful tool called “Plan Your Trip.”
- Winter visitors should check the “Snow and Ice Plow Routes.” It would be helpful to find a hotel along one of the priority roads.
- With the amount of rain in Gresham and the Portland area, it’s important to know you should never drive along a flooded roadway – even if it “doesn’t look that deep.” Always assume a flooded road is washed out underneath and unsafe for travel. Just six inches of moving water can carry a car away or knock over a person.
- An average of three cars are stolen each day in Gresham. Yes, PER DAY. Kia, Hyundai, Ford, Honda, and Subaru are the most stolen car models.
So... How Safe Is Gresham Really?
Greshman is in this unspoken battle with Portland about which city is “the literal worst,” but I’m just going to focus on the facts of Gresham.
First, the violent crime rate as of 2022 was 6% higher than the national average and 3% higher than the state average.
Less than one in four crimes happen against strangers, making it safer for a tourist.
In addition, 38% of violent crimes happen in homes.
Looking at robberies, highway robberies make up 17% of all thefts.
Even with a robbery rate almost 50% higher than the national average, the raw number is 28.
You can lower any risk by not carrying valuables, staying aware of your surroundings, avoiding unknown neighborhoods, and staying in well-lit, secure areas.
It’s really that simple.
Theft has become a bigger problem, with a rate 6% above the national average.
The real kicker here is that 44% of thefts are related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
Lower that risk by locking your car doors, never leaving the car running to “warm up,” and removing personal items from vehicles.
“Safe Gresham” is a program created to reduce crime by involving community members and organizations to work with police to make the community safer.
Time will tell if that program works.
Use the transparency dashboard to find more recent crimes, and you should have a pleasant experience in Gresham.
Just don’t let your guard down.
How Does Gresham Compare?
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All international visitors must show a passport that isn't within six months of expiring and a visa (or visa waiver) at customs and border patrol upon entry. You can start with the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website.
Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here. Portland's airport has a currency exchange in the baggage area. You can also use a local branch of a bank if you're a customer.
You'll want waterproof layers due to the number of rainy days in the area. Bring rain boots too. Even with summer temperatures near 81° F, it will still be muggy. Plan for anti-frizz hair products if needed. Bug spray is going to be your best friend here.
Portland International Airport is 30 minutes from Gresham. Check traffic before you go since that time can be doubled in rush hours. Be sure you're looking at PDX airport times, as there's a Portland International Jetport in Maine (across the country) with an airport code of PWM.
Comprehensive travel insurance is the best value to cover any emergencies, weather issues, delays, or cancelations during your trip to Gresham, Oregon.
Gresham Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oregon - Safety by City