Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 18th, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(Photo: Bob Cummings)
On Saturday night, someone tried to load a stolen ghost bike onto a TriMet bus. Unfortunately for them, that bus happened to be operated by Ryan Ferro, a 38 year old Portland resident who also happens to be an avid cyclocross racer and someone who cares about what ghost bikes symbolize. Here's what happened (as recounted to me by Ferro)...
"I just want you to know that that bike was put up for someone that was killed. It belongs somewhere else and it needs to go back."
— Ryan Ferro, TriMet bus operator
Ferro was driving the number 75 bus northbound on SE Cesar Chavez Blvd when he pulled up to the Belmont Library stop at SE Taylor. As a passenger began to approach the bus, he put a bike on the front rack. The bike old and in disrepair and was painted all white. It looked like a ghost bike to Ferro (
the ghost bikes that marks the 2003 crash of Orion Satushek and Angela Leazenby are just two blocks away at SE 41st and Belmont). (Update: A reader has confirmed that the ghost bike usually just one block away at Cesar Chavez/39th and Salmon is missing).
Ferro confronted the man about the bike. "Do you know that's a ghost bike?" he asked. The man said no. According to Ferro, the man said his friend gave him the bike so he could fix it up. After that brief conversation, Ferro recalls, "He then bee-lined to the back of the bus, so I just closed the doors and kept driving."
Ferro was sure the bike was stolen, so he called TriMet dispatch to ask for help. Because there was no way to prove the theft and the suspected thief wasn't being unruly, dispatch advised Ferro that there wasn't anything he could do. Ferro says at that point he just kept driving and watching his mirror. "I thought he'd get off at some point and reclaim the bike." He drove all the way to St. Johns before the man got off and went to the front of the bus to pull the bike off the rack.
Ferro decided to open his doors and confront the man again, saying, "I just want you to know that that bike was put up for someone that was killed. It belongs somewhere else and it needs to go back." The man said once again that his friend gave it to him, but Ferro interrupted: "It needs to go back," he repeated. Then the suspected thief seemed to give in and went to lean the bike up against a nearby pole.
When Ferro protested that it didn't belong on the pole, the man finally confessed that he had stolen the bike. "I think he felt bad, but was afraid to admit what he did." Then, at Ferro's urging, the man loaded the ghost bike back onto the bus rack so Ferro could take it back to the yard (Central Station).
Not knowing what else to do with the bike, Ferro logged it into the lost and found room where it now resides along with a bunch of other bikes and various items.
Asked why he took such a stand for the ghost bike, Ferro told me, "I live in that neighborhood and I see it all the time. People need those reminders."
I have not checked the Satushek/Leazenby location, but I suspect this bike was taken from there. However, after comparing a photo of that location with the bike in this story, I'm not so sure. If anyone can positively identify the bike in this story, I'd really appreciate it.]
Update: Thanks to commenters below, it seems likely that this ghost bike came from Cesar Chavez and SE Salmon. One reader has confirmed that the ghost bike typically in that location is currently not there. Thanks to everyone for input. I'll try to return the bike tomorrow.]