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Update on a bike harasser named James

Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 at 6:33 am

Back in May, someone named Erica posted a topic in the Forums about a cyclist named James who harassed her on her morning commute. Her post has sparked tons of discussion, both in the Forums and in the comments of my post about women and creepy cyclists a few weeks ago.

I’ve been following the thread in the Forum and recently a Portland police officer with the username “PoPo” chimed in. James seemed familiar to him so he did some investigating.

Turns out he’s about “90% sure” he has a positive ID on the guy and he’s encouraging anyone who comes in contact with him again to call 911. Read Officer Pickett’s post for all the details.

I’ve received quite a bit of emails and feedback about this incident and I know several ladies have been messed with by this guy. It would be great to get him off the streets.

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  • Kirsty June 23, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    After reading the forums, it has become apparent that i have had an encounter with this person too. It happened a couple of months ago, as i was riding my bike alone, heading eastbound on the Hawthorne overpass over the MLK/Grand area. It was nightime, & i saw a long bike shadow approaching me from behind, cast in the dark by the streetlights. I didn’t think anything of it, figuring the biker would overtake me on the bikelane, & just carry on pedalling. The next thing i know, there is a hand on my back, & this man biking next to me is telling me he “figures i could use a hand” biking up the hill & that he’s going to give me a push. He seemed friendly enough, so initially i just sort of laughed & told him i didn’t need a hand, figuring he’d laugh too & then stop, & carry on his way. But he wouldn’t stop pushing me up the hill whilst biking next to me. I asked him firmly to stop a couple of times, to no avail. He just kept yelling at me that i needed a push. Eventually i just screamed at him to get away from me. He took his hand off & started yelling at me about how he was only joking around. As he biked away down the MLK offramp, he kept swearing at me & using rude hand jestures. Being a girl, new to Portland, alone at night, in the dark, up on that overpass, with that man, shook me up pretty badly at the time. Being elevated, that’s a lonely stretch of road at times. It would be nice if this harrasment issue could somehow be resolved. The descriptions others have given of this man match perfectly.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross June 23, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    I’m beginning to think this isn’t a bicycle thing anymore but social commentary on the plight of the mentally ill. He just happens to be a bike rider. Lets try to help the PPB get him off his bike and into therapy without more drama. I wonder if there is a mug shot from his first arrest?

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  • Drama Queen June 24, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    To “Dr” Ross:

    “‘plight’ of the mentally ill?
    What about the plight of women who just want to ride their bikes but have do deal with this crap?
    “without more ‘drama’”?
    Are these women, who have kindly shared their very disturbing experiences, being dramatic?!

    If you care so much about this creep, why don’t you go out there, take him off his bike and offer him some therapy youself, “Doctor”…

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  • Dr. Mark Ross June 24, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    drama queen, did I not ask to see a mug shot?

    the problem is voters didn’t want to pay for mental hospitals — as a consequence, many were emptied. The voters aren’t keen on building prisons eithers, and when they do, sometimes they decide not to fund them, so exactly where are we supposed to put “james” after we catch him? If he’s busted in Multnomah Co he’ll be out in no time at all.

    I’m looking at the big picture here, you on the other hand, have a narrow focus and expect “immediate solutions” that society isn’t willing to provide. I have bigger concerns, for instance, the woman that wants to WALK without fear, the grandmother that needs help without fear of being ripped-off, children that need a safe place to play and grow up without being molested . . . you get the point.

    I’m on your side, I’ll be on alert for this “james” guy, but stop being so dramatic and ask yourself if you’re part of the solution (a voter voting FOR prisons, mental health faculties and more law enforcement personnel). If not, perhaps you’ll reconsider your position and help keep the “james” off the street.

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  • Rob June 25, 2006 at 7:41 am

    A co-worker had an incident last week that smacks mightily of this guy! He crowded her and wouldn’t let her pass, then began loudly scolding her about “moving over”. Only after another cyclist rode up behind and started yelling at the guy did he leave her alone, and that was only so he could switch his attention to the samaritan, whom he began lecturing about the need for clipless pedals (!). This guy wore no helmet, was somewhat scruffy, and had a collection of stuff on his rack.She didn’t recall what make or color his bike was, but the similarities to these other incidents makes me pretty certain it’s the same fellow.

    This guy needs to be removed if only to save him from himself. One day he’ll single out the one person who’ll forcefully introduce him to her U-Lock!

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  • lianagan June 25, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    From all the postings it seems like this guy is probably living under or hanging out regularly at the downtown bridges so let’s all be alert and give officer Pickett the info he needs.

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  • Erica June 27, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Please do contact Officer Pickett at the contact information he provided in the forums.

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  • crankers July 16, 2006 at 7:19 am

    Is James Jason?

    Quote:
    “he’s also “ride-by” groped more than 40 women from his bike.”

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  • Erica August 4, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    James is not “Jason”.

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  • tonyt August 4, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Hey Drama Queen and other people more intent on slamming other people than contributing to the dialogue; chill out, grow up, or at least go pick up a book on manners.

    If you wouldn’t talk to someone like that in person, than perhaps you should hit delete and think really hard until you can come up with something real to contribute. Why do people find it so easy to be so rude over the internet?

    Let’s make this site a place for ideas, not banter befitting a high school detention hall.

    Oh and Drama Queen, it’s not an either or propostion. We need to get him off the street AND into therapy or if it’s warranted, more full-time supervision. If you’ve ever known anyone suffering from mental illness, it’s as real and as debilitating (if not more so) as any physical disability. It’s mental illness, not a character flaw.

    Thanks to all who make this a great site. Especially Jonathan. Yea Jon!

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  • jami August 16, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    the willamette week has done some good reporting on james’ situation:
    http://www.wweek.com/editorial/3241/7887/?SOURCE=RSS

    the unpaid $6 oregon health plan premium is frickin’ heartbreaking. i’m going to call ohp tomorrow and see if random strangers can get his bill caught up. if anyone else can think of how we can get this guy his meds in some sort of reliable way, i’d like to help him.

    it’s clear that he’s done some really scary stuff to a lot of nice women. maybe we can keep it from happening again by helping him stabilize.

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  • Erica August 16, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you for posting that link, Jami. All I want is for James to get help. I don’t know what I can do to help.

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  • jami August 17, 2006 at 10:23 am

    erica, my impression has been that you want to help him. the health care system is hard for people who have everything going for them, so i can certainly understand how he’d miss a payment (they don’t have automatic debit!).

    i called ohp, and apparently random folks can send in payments on other people’s accounts. they’d like to have his i.d. number, but barring that, they said his full name (james heidtbrink) would probably work.

    the address to mail checks is:
    OHP
    PO Box 3949
    Portland, OR 97208-3949
    http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/healthplan/data_pubs/faqs/faqclientprem.shtml

    i’m gonna send in $36 in the hopes that it pays off what he owes and gets him set for a few months. i’ll let everyone know what happens.

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