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Fatal stabbing near Steel Bridge closes Esplanade: Will it open dialogue on security concerns?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 4th, 2009 at 10:39 am

The Esplanade near the Steel
Bridge is closed due to a stabbing.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A fatal stabbing that happened late last night on the east end of the Steel Bridge has resulted in a closure of the popular bikeway. Reports from riders commuting to work this morning are that the ramp leading down to the Eastbank Esplanade is closed. The Esplanade is also closed just north of the floating section (and unfortunately there are no prior warning signs until you get right up to it).

Portland Police Bureau detectives are still investigating the scene. According to reports from the PPB Public Information Officer Mary Wheat, the initial call was about a fight and a stabbing. Two suspects have been detained whom police believe are involved with the incident. The deceased victim is a 39-year-old homeless man from the Portland area.

Anyone who rides by this location knows it is a popular spot for homeless folks to hang out and sleep. I wonder if this incident will increase people's concerns for personal safety while riding in this area.

A friend of mine just left this note on my Facebook page after I mentioned the stabbing:

"I’ve had to call the police while I was riding on the east bank esplanade at night once. I rode by one guy holding a knife behind his back, following two people trying to leave the situation. The police got there F A S T."

Anna Griffin, a columnist for The Oregonian who rides by here on her daily commute, wrote about the incident via Twitter this morning:

"Should I be concerned that my regular bike commute route was closed this morning because someone got stabbed? Or should I just pedal faster?"

Even though paths like the Esplanade are significant transportation corridors, unlike city streets, they have no regular police patrols and they tend to not have as many "eyes on the street".

Do you commute through this section of the Esplanade/Steel Bridge? If so, does this incident make you feel less safe? Since it was partly paid for with transportation-specific federal funding, should paths like the Esplanade have a more consistent security presence?

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Comments
  • boriskat August 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I have to say that when I ride through here in the morning, most people I see hanging out by the Steel Bridge are asleep, and when I ride through in the afternoon, there are so many other people around I don't feel uneasy at all. I think that if I were a jogger (especially since I am a fairly small woman), I would feel less safe, but for some reason I feel OK on my bike. Maybe that's foolhardy of me - I guess someone could jump out of the bushes and tackle me no matter how fast I'm going.

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  • f5 August 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I've seen an increase in homeless squatting along the eastbank path over the last five years. I don't understand why people are allowed to camp in the underpass by the firestation and morrison bridge. Not just for general safety of the area, but als when the campers overflow onto the path while boozing at peak commute times. I mean we have the firestation right there, a police precinct a couple blocks away, and the campers are often just standing in the path, boozing, and treating it like their living room.

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  • Mike August 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Other than this incident, what others have there been that would warrant an increase of police presence?
    Is it more important that they are here than patrolling elsewhere?
    The one post-er mentioned that the police were on scene fast.
    I am just wondering about the security concerns. What are they based on?

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  • Peter W August 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Makes me worry about the proposed CRC design (bikes under bridge).

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  • esther August 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Sadly, I think most incidents like these tend to be among people who know each other- I'm guessing the victim knew his assailant, much like the woman who was killed (on or around?) the waterfront by her street "family" some years ago. It makes me sad, but the fact that there are a good nmber of cyclists and pedestrians who are actually using the transportation corridor means that I don't feel this incident compromises my perception of its safety. Hopefully people keep this in mind and don't let that scare them off of trails. Like so many other things, the more cyclists out there, the safer it is for all of us.

    Corridors with very low usage and visibility, though- like the Peninsula Crossing Trail at night- are a very different story. *shudder* that's a good example of a place where statistics-wise, I'm probably not in any more danger, and I've only had relatively positive interactions with the indigent people staying there, but I WILL NOT ride alone at night. Even the springwater feels more dangerous just because its closed in. which is why discussions about the separated path on CRC are so important, because it has a lot of potential to FEEL very dangerous. 'feeling' and 'being' dangerous are two different things with some overlap, but feeling dangerous will always negatively impact cyclist usage.

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  • f5 August 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

    "...What are they based on?"

    They're based on a fatal stabbing.

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  • Bob_M August 4, 2009 at 11:01 am

    A few years ago a coworker of mine was forced to crash his bike by a gang of homeless youth. They subsequently beat him up and stole his bike. This was by the cherry grove on the west side of the river.

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  • PDXbiker August 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

    The Esplanade is a safe place to bike, although perhaps less so at 1AM. Be you cyclist or pedestrian, always be aware of your surroundings. If a situation comes up that just doesn't look or feel right, just turn around and leave.

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  • Nicky V August 4, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I ride that route on my commute home every day. The path on the Steel Bridge is relatively narrow so I do keep my eyes open, but I don't think I'd avoid it out of fear of crime or danger. Violent crime seems to be happening increasingly in ALL parts of the city so it doesn't do much good to try and hide from "bad spots".

    What does concern me is my commute to work when I see at least 5 or 6 homeless people lying on the ground COMPLETELY covered in blankets - even during the heat wave. For all I know they could be dead, but if I were to check on each of them, then I wouldn't get to work until noon.

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  • cyclist August 4, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I think it would be a good idea to have a couple of police officers riding up and down the Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor trail, just in case something ever happens. Maybe we could get 5 or 6 officers so that it would be totally safe. We should also make sure that homeless people can't go anywhere that people might ride their bikes, so that cyclists can feel safer. We should send them all to Aloha.

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  • Scott August 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Crossing the Steel Bridge is a twice a day thing for me. I have never been overly concerned or threatened by any population of folks around the area, but I have be surprised at the number of times I have seen the area at the east end of the bridge where there is a switch house used for random transactions (either sexual or drug related).

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  • Esta Nevando Aqui August 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

    @ #10: I've never understood why the PPB doesn't put officers on bikes. Like the cops of yesteryear walking their beat, biking around town is a great way to really see what's going on in the community.

    Yes, I know the PPB has a couple of guys who tool around on the sidewalk in SE on "mountain" bikes, and of course those rent-a-cop jackballs downtown, but I'm talking about cops riding real utilitarian road/commuter bikes (like my Trek Portland) around town in traffic.

    That would make it easy for the PPB to, for example, make a loop around the Esplanade at 1am to see what's going on.

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  • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2009 at 11:24 am

    My bike route to Portland from Vanvouver is a mix of public streets and off street paths (Interstate Bridge, ODOT, Delta Park, Failing Bridge, etc).

    Over the last 10 years of 24-7 riding I have seen many characters on both facility types and yet I have only been hit, phyisically threatened, dog attacked by car drivers and not path users.

    I will not say that there is no threat off street (the quality of bike interstate and bike arterial pathway security can only be improved) but that the magnitude or exposure may be elsewhere.

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  • Dan August 4, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I've had a couple of experiences in this general area that make me more wary when biking through there. The first was a few years ago - I was biking eastbound on the lower level of the Steel Bridge at about 10 pm (late fall/early winter, not a lot of people around). At the east end of the bridge there were 3 guys standing, who spread out as I approached, as if to block me. I sped up, went to one side, and at the last minute they got out of my way.

    The other incident was when I was biking to work at 8 am a few months ago. I had just come off the ramps that go up to the Rose Quarter and I was going south on the esplanade. There was a little group of young guys walking north, and when I was about 20 ft away they all of sudden started brawling, taking up the whole path. Just a fistfight, no one pulled out a weapon. And it didn't last very long - they broke it up pretty quick and the people stopped on both sides were able to get by after a minute. Also obviously it was some kind of personal thing between them; they weren't attacking strangers, but it did make me reflect on the kind of people that hang out down there sometimes and how I don't really feel 100 percent at ease down there at 8 am, much less 10 pm.

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  • bahueh August 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

    folks..more cops aren't going to prevent crimes like this...the police are a reactionary group that respond to events after the fact...criminology 101.

    increased homelessness is a summer fact in PDX...always has been.

    I'm failing to see how this is a PDX cycling news story...because it happened on a well used local MUT?

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  • Bob August 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

    In the past couple of weeks I have twice seen police cars parked on the east side of the trail near the Rose Quarter during the afternoon and witnessed police walking along the Esplanade. Not sure if that was in response to something specific or just part of their routine. In general, I feel safe in that area both as a walker and as a cyclist.

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  • maxadders August 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I doubt this will change anything-- it's likely homeless-on-homeless crime. if an everyday path user was assaulted, it would be more cause for concern.

    as for now, it's a place where homeless congregate, and as a result, sometimes have conflicts.

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  • ME 2 August 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

    To #10 and 12, the Central precinct has bike patrols and Jonathan had a great story on why the PPB is reluctant to scale up the number of bike patrols throughout the city.

    http://bikeportland.org/2007/01/19/bike-patrol-officer-asks-for-our-support/

    I also use the Steel Bridge and I have never felt unsafe riding past the waves of homeless folks camped out along the waterfront in the morning and in the afternoon.

    I regularly see uniformed folks patrolling that area on bikes, whether they are part of PPB or a security contractor I don't know, but there is some presence there on a regular basis.

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  • bh August 4, 2009 at 11:54 am

    There has been a homeless camp directly under the path at that location for about 5 months now - you can see the blue tarp they hung from the path overhead to create a shelter.

    With the proximity to the bridge and the train tracks right there I'm surprised they haven't been cleared/kicked out before now.

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  • cyclist August 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Nicky V #9: Homicides and total "part 1" crimes (aggrivated assault, arson, burglary, larceny, rape, robbery, theft from vehicle and vehicle theft) are down this year over previous years, at least from January through June (the last month the PPD has statistics for in 2009).

    All stats are from January through the end of June:

    Homicides first half 2005: 13
    Homicides first half 2006: 19
    Homicides first half 2007: 16
    Homicides first half 2008: 15
    Homicides first half 2009: 10

    total part 1 crimes first half 2005: 21,802
    total part 1 crimes first half 2006: 17,995
    total part 1 crimes first half 2007: 18,806
    total part 1 crimes first half 2008: 16,222
    total part 1 crimes first half 2009: 13,996

    So while it seems that violent crimes may be increasing, in fact they are significantly lower than previous years.

    Also, I was joking about the police thing. Twice a week I ride the Springwater corridor trail at 9-10pm and there's nothing dangerous going on there. Just because the folks are homeless doesn't mean they're dangerous or looking to pick a fight with strangers.

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  • Esta Nevando Aqui August 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

    @ #16: Thanks for the link. I had previously read that story and followed ths issue. The gaping holes in the PPB's logic regarding the utility of having officers on bikes are evident from the first few comments on the story. So, with that context (and opinion), I'll add that I still don't see why the PPB can't understand that bikes are the best way to patrol urban neighborhoods.

    And, to clarify, you're saying that you regularly see security or police patroling by bike on the Esplanade? I don't think I've ever seen that.

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  • cyclist August 4, 2009 at 11:57 am

    All of those stats were pulled from the PPB crime stats page:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/police/crimestats/index.cfm

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  • Visitor too August 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Having seen the homeless in the area I am impressed the city provides a site on the east side with some hygenic value. I am naive enough to believe this is positive for the community as a whole.

    With that said the attack is most unfortunate. If the reason for the attack cannot be identified(rationalized if that can be used here) it may be time to increase police and welfare patrols in the area at night.

    I too love to ride this route on hot summer nights. I guess I will be re-thinking that now.

    Ride safe.

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  • Michael M. August 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I would think Anna Griffin should be concerned that someone was fatally stabbed; I would think we all should be, whether we regularly use the Steel Bridge or not. I would think we should all be concerned about the rising number of homeless in our city, while multi-million dollar condo towers financed with sweetheart deals and tax rebates from our city government sit empty and go into receivership. I would think that, but then all the Obama administration (and Bush admin. before it) seems to do is finance foreign wars, hand out taxpayer dollars to banks, auto manufacturers, and programs like "cash-for-clunkers" and set-top box coupons, so I guess I'm not in sync with the general mindset. I mean, why actually try to finance affordable housing when there's a banker who absolutely needs his million dollar bonus this year? Let's just let the homeless kill each other in the streets, that'll solve the problem. If a cyclist or pedestrian gets injured along the way, well that's too bad. Buy a car! Stay home and watch TV! It's the American way.

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  • swpdxbikecommuter August 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    #15

    It's a cycling news story because it is a heavily used commuter route. And like so many this morning, I was late to work because of the closure. Unfortunately for me, I ride eastbound and had a heckuva time on the top level eastbound sidewalk, with several dozen riders coming at me on the narrow passage. I wish we had bike traffic reports...or that there had been some sort of signage on the Esplanade encouraging riders to take another route, and where exactly the closure went to and from (ramps up to the Rose Quarter closed as well). Dang.

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  • Lance P. August 4, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I typically feel safe in the area as well. I would add that around a month ago, my brother told me a story about how when we was going under the steel bridge on the west side a man charged him with a knife in open view. He was on his bike and was able to out run the guy but still.

    I wish that there were more services for people with mental issues. If we get more cops out they just move or spend the night in jail. If we can get services to them, they may end up being able to cope with society.

    Anyway, that's just my take.

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  • Steve Bozz August 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Considering this is the first incident I've heard about in years, I think statistically speaking it's still a very safe space to ride, walk, run, etc. I think it's very simple to conclude that because this path is not near a road or car traffic, this is why such a crime could be committed. I think that's hogwash! Does anyone really think a passing motorist is going to see two men in a knife fight and stop to help out? I do agree an emergency callbox at this location would be beneficial. I agree with an earlier poster who asserted that the proximity to car drivers tends to be more menacing than any other path/road sharer.

    To address the homeless population concern, the reality is that the entire shelter system is grossly inadequate. If you become homeless tomorrow because you didn't get that last paycheck and are now evicted with no one to turn to, you'll be on the street anywhere from 30-90 days simply because that's how long the waiting lists are. Until we have adequate shelter, transitional housing, and permanent affordable housing, people will have to find places like the Esplanade to sleep.

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  • Rollie August 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I think Esther's right, most of these are between people who know each other. Which might only mean they buy drugs from each other, but yeah. So I don't think there's a huge risk unless you engage with these characters. But there's always some risk no matter where you are, so it's good to be prepared regardless. Don't rely on law enforcement exclusively unless you absolutely have to.

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  • Mr DeJerk August 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I used to ride from Oaks Bottom and through the whole Eastbank esplanade every night past 1AM, and never had problems.
    This is an isolated incident, as we all know, and freaking out over it is just, well, freaking out.
    And, as usual, the less police presence, the safer I feel.

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  • yamric August 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I ride this route 5 times a week. I have never had a negative encounter with the homeless individuals around this area.

    Rather than try to get a greater police present in the area I would like to see a video surveillance system with perhaps a speaker system so the police could warn individuals that they are being monitored.

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  • Meghan H August 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I have had one scary experience on a multi-use path in the ten years I've been riding around Portland. Under the Steel Bridge one night, someone tried to move in front of me, saying "I need a new bike." I was able to swerve around and get away quickly, but it did leave an impression.

    I think minimizing some of those dark spots by adding more lighting would go a long way toward both making paths like these safer as well as making people FEEL safer after dark.

    Regular bike patrols by police would also help, I would think.

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  • JE August 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    This is the future of the CRC's bike path.

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  • Steved August 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Let's not forget to grieve and give condolences to the family and friends to all those affected by this tragedy.

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  • Kimberlee August 4, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Ever since that man was attacked and beaten on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge a few years ago, I avoid the lower deck after dark and use the Broadway Bridge instead. This tragic incident just reinforces that decision. It is too isolated down there. This is why I am skeptical about the proposed lower deck bike/ped facilities on the CRC.

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  • bahueh August 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    JE...don't be so dramatic and fearful or attempt to incite fear to promote your personal beliefs and agenda...a final design hasn't even been agreed upon.

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  • Q`ztal August 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    On a callous self serving cyclist note:
    Is this area still closed to bike traffic?
    The city admits that they consider this a major bike thoroughfare.
    If a stabbing happened on Division during rush hour would they leave the road closed for hours inconveniencing so many important voters and endangering their children walking in the adjacent neighborhoods?

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  • armando August 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    i ride this route back and forth several times a week with my son on a tag-a-long for the morning and evening commutes. i don't feel threatened by the homeless people in that area, but i am on the lookout for unsafe activity, whether it be from the homeless, or the zooming cyclist, or wandering jogger, or oblivious pedestrian. danger exists everywhere. stabbing often happen in homes, it's just this victim(s)home was probably the esplanade.
    i agree with post # 25. why didn't the police(or trimet) post signs or notices that the lower esplanade bridge was closed? i only figured it out as i was riding east down to the path. then the ride over the broadway bridge was much more dangerous with cyclists not taking it slow, and joggers taking the whole narrow lane. more traffic control was definitely necessary in this situation.
    i would have been really bummed if i was riding north on the east side, and then hitting the tape just before the bridge.

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  • armando August 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    i ride this route back and forth several times a week with my son on a tag-a-long for the morning and evening commutes. i don't feel threatened by the homeless people in that area, but i am on the lookout for unsafe activity, whether it be from the homeless, or the zooming cyclist, or wandering jogger, or oblivious pedestrian. danger exists everywhere. stabbing often happen in homes, it's just this victim(s)home was probably the esplanade.
    i agree with post # 25. why didn't the police(or trimet) post signs or notices that the lower esplanade bridge was closed? i only figured it out as i was riding east down to the path. then the ride over the steel bridge was much more dangerous with cyclists not taking it slow, and joggers taking the whole narrow lane. more traffic control was definitely necessary in this situation.
    i would have been really bummed if i was riding north on the east side, and then hitting the tape just before the bridge.

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  • armando August 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    sorry for the double post. i changed broadway bridge to steel and didn't catch it in time.

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  • redhippie August 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    It is amazing to watch the homeless population of Portland grow in the summer. We are a vicitm of our own charity towards the homeless. The more social services and charity we provide, the more people show up to take it.

    I don't know the solution. To shut our community's eyes and buy the homeless bus tickets to another town is not the answer, but the status quo isn't either.

    Last week, there was a homeless on homeless stabbing in front of my building by pioneer square. It seems that since "sit-lie" law got repealled, that more and more homeless are out in force in areas like the square, park blocks or the esplanade. It makes me afraid of these areas and I suspect other people feel the same way.

    I think we need to get sit-lie back in place and create a place where the homeless can go to straiten out their lives. If they don't want to engage in soceity and clean them selves up, well maybe a bus ticket is the last charity they should get.

    my 2 cents

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  • Scott Mizée August 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    When I was there at 8:30 this morning, the Officer I spoke to said it would be open again in an hour. Can anyone confirm the re-opening time?

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  • Mike August 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I still feel safe. This does not affect my mindset about the East Bank Esplanade at all.

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  • Donna August 4, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Scott - I tried to ride across the Steel ped/bike deck around 12:45 this afternoon to get to a meeting & it was still blocked off. When I headed back downtown around 2, it was open.

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  • Scott Mizée August 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    ah... Thanks Donna! Good to know it is open again for the afternoon commute.

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  • Donna August 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    As for personal safety - I'm not particularly spooked by this incident or the Eastbank Esplanade in general. I tend not to ride alone there at night, though. Maybe if I were a guy I wouldn't be so hesitant.

    That said, patterns can change and especially during economically uncertain times. While I don't think extra patrols are necessary right now, I would hope that someone with the PPB keeps track of such crime patterns. If they did change for the worse, it would be good if someone brought it to the attention of the people who could do something about it.

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  • Q`ztal August 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Violent acts are occurring around us all the time.
    When we hear it on our favorite news source we become aware of it.
    When we see the actual location of of the act it becomes more real for us.
    But don't believe that violent and fatal things aren't occurring around us every minute of every day even in our sleepy little hamlet, Portland Oregon.
    Be aware of your own safety and look out for your self. The police can't; the police won't; the police shouldn't.

    If the Police were to be required to shut down a road for a few hours whenever there is a vehicular related death would society be more aware of the costs of the >40,000 annual deaths caused by said vehicles?

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  • cj August 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I was literally a couple hundred yards away when this incident took place. My friends and I were enjoying the beautiful night down on the float, just like we do at least once a week, completely unaware of the horrible situation that was occurring very close by. We were heading back to our NE neighborhood a few minutes later when we greeted by a policeman and the crime scene tape. Spooky.
    This event, though very sad and alarming, has really not altered my sense of safety while riding on the Esplanade at night. My interactions with people who sleep outside are usually positive and most of the time they simply ignore me and are intent on retreating to their camps. I feel more threatened and anxious by motorists and their lack of concern for bicyclists on a day to day basis.

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  • Steved August 4, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    "I feel more threatened and anxious by motorists and their lack of concern for bicyclists on a day to day basis."

    +1

    Excellent wordage!

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  • Kevin Wagoner August 4, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I commute this route nearly every day. It feels safe to me. I am sad to hear this happened.

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  • naomi August 4, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    It's really important to remember these types of crime are not random and usually involve transients and possible vendettas they have with one another. Despite this stabbing I do not feel unsafe... if anything, a lot of these "unsavory" transient types who hang out in this area are actually surprisingly polite -- moreso than you can say for the herds of suburban moms and their suv strollers who clog this area on the weekends! :P

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  • Blah Blah Blah August 4, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Ride the Springwater from Sellwood to 205 at night and you'll think the Esplanade is a cake walk.

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  • Lidwien August 4, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I too ride this route a lot, sometimes several times a day, and I usually feel safe. When riding or walking between the Steel and Hawthorne Bridges, I will take the eastside during daylight hours (because the westside often gets congested, especially when there is a festival going on), and the westside in the dark. As a female, I will not ride the Springwater or any other off-road trail by myself at night. I objected to having an under-deck trail on the Sellwood Bridge because of this very issue of real or perceived security.

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  • bicycletothesun August 5, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Simple: Carry your own knife for protection.

    Police are worthless. Don't have these scum patrol the path. All they'll do is pull over random cyclists for riding too fast, etc.

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  • Steven J August 5, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Same spot I had a 1 1/2 pvc pipe broken across my back last fall. Punctured a Lung.
    when you make the turn to do ramp & over Rail yard you have to slow down.

    couple of days before the police had a man in cuffs over on the west side. (day before stabbing) this was same guy that pissed and moaned about my bike light being too bright as he tried to sleep on a park bench.
    I now bring a collapsible baton with me on my early morning rides.
    A chain with a lock on it would also work.
    Police 101 is correct.
    They are reactionary.
    I'm moving to the Responsive category.

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  • Steven J August 5, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Naomi # 50,

    These events also tend to involve crime of opportunity. That includes whomever happens along.
    Many of them are angry at the world.

    There was a time when the campers would "police" themselves. when this kind of thing happens it brings unwanted attention upon the camps and displacement.

    I've noticed a dramatic increase in homeless camps along the Springwater between Ross Island & Sellwood bridges.
    It's so quiet along there @ 3-4am I can hear em getting drunk up under the Bridge.

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  • Ryan August 5, 2009 at 9:57 am

    ..."I would like to see a video surveillance system with perhaps a speaker system so the police could warn individuals that they are being monitored."

    Seriously? Can you say BIG BROTHER?

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  • Mike August 5, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Doesn't sound as though there is an overwhelming concern for safety and security. A few people for sure, and their concerns are valid, but does it require more of a police presence? They responded very quickly, more presence would have the same outcome. Perhaps the additional $$ should be spent on helping the homeless, not further policing them.

    And as far as this being "the future of the CRC", I have to say not bad. Considering how many homeless there are in Portland, and the fact that we just came off a week of record breaking temperatures, 1 fatal incident (that did not involve a cyclist) every few years? Taking that into consideration with the statistics provided by cyclist (20). I would imagine it to be much higher, especially with Jonathan's headline.

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  • Anonymous August 5, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I don't like to take the under-bridge routes primarily because homeless people block the bike and pedestrian paths. For example, if you want to go up the ramp from the west side of Front Ave you often need to take a pedestrian path that's unlit and usually strewn with sleeping homeless people by 5 PM on winter nights. Really dangerous! One night I saw a biker accidentally roll over a sleeping person and fall off his bike.

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  • chelsea August 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    i feel fine riding in that area. things happening in more isolated areas tend to worry me more. that being said, i know from experience that i'm far more like to get run over on my commute than stabbed.

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  • Max S. August 8, 2009 at 10:29 am

    @58,

    I feel the same way. I'm not worried about getting stabbed, but I am worried about colliding with someone who is sleeping and injuring one or both of us.

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