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Who was Angela Burke?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 17th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Angela Burke
(Photo courtesy Athena Burke)

Piecing together a picture of who 26-year old Angela Burke was has been difficult. Now I know why.

Today I got a call from her mom, Athena Burke. Ms. Burke, fighting back tears throughout our conversation, said her daughter had just moved to Portland a month or so ago and that she "was lonely and hadn't found her people yet." Given what I know about Angela now, I feel like it would have been just a matter of time until some of us would have eventually become her "people."

Angela was from Albany, NY. Ms. Burke said Angela packed up and moved here after finishing college. "She just did this huge trip and moved out there, she was so brave. She knows a million people out here, but we have no one out there."

Angela Burke's Facebook profile photo.

It turns out Portland was something of a dream for Angela. Ms. Burke, who's technically Angela's stepmother, had a "very hard life." After being in foster care, Athena Burke said her daughter had been through "a lot of very difficult, hard stuff." It took her a while to finish college, but when she did, Ms. Burke said Angela told her she had a dream of, "living somewhere very beautiful and seeing what I can do."

Once in Portland, Angela didn't waste time enjoying our region's beaches and mountains. "She was hiking and camping... Just going everywhere, especially Cannon Beach. She was climbing up mountains... She was just so independent."

With an eye toward getting a degree from Reed College in environmental studies, Angela was working two jobs; one as a house painter and a second job as a barback the the Aloft Hotel at Cascade Station out by the Portland Airport. Angela was on her way home — trying to cross Barbur to get her unit at the Greenbriar Apartments (5132 Southwest Slavin Rd) — when she was hit on Wednesday night.

Athena Burke says her daughter was a "believer in biking and taking care of our earth." As for the advocacy effort that started before this tragedy and has now taken on new importance, Ms. Burke said, "She would be up for this, it would honor her. She's a person who believed in social causes. She would support this. She was always fighting for the underdog."


— Read Angela Burke's obituary from the funeral home in Albany, NY where services will be held this Thursday.

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Comments
  • Jeff December 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    this is damn sad.

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  • Nick December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I only knew her briefly as a friend/co-worker, but she was a person of rare class and intelligence---friendly, a hard worker, and just a through and through great person.

    This is so tragic to me---it's always the good ones to go, it seems. She will be missed, and remembered.

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  • Daniel Evans December 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    THANK YOU, Jonathan, for doing such a great job covering this tragedy. I was wondering who this person was and I think you do a GREAT service in bringing more of the full scope of this event into focus by letting us know more about Angela, rather than her becoming a nameless statistic. I agree with you. It seems Angela would have fit in very well in Portland, found her people there, and been yet another talented and promising asset to the city. It is such an absolute shame and a travesty to loose her in this senseless way. We must DO something about it. One little thing I have done (at your suggestion) was "liking" Friends of Barbur on Facebook. Here is the FB link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Barbur/123436277720183. In this way I can at least keep informed of progress in this area, and lend my voice to the demand for change. There are also many other ways to get involved, but might I suggest this as a small step that people who are saddened by this tragedy can take.

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  • rider December 17, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    This is indeed very sad. It sounds like Portland lost one of its better citizens.

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  • Joe December 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I'm one of Angela's friends from Albany. This news is unbearable. I think I can speak for all of her friends here when I say that Angela is truly one of the friendliest, kindest, finest people one could ever know.

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  • Hart Noecker December 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I'm fond of the slogan 'Cars are coffins', but I hate how often it proves true.

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  • deborah December 17, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    heartbreaking. thanks for making her story known.

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  • sam December 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for this, Jonathan. It must have been hard to talk to her mom. I hope she (and all of Angela's people) find some comfort in knowing this young lady's death has not gone unnoticed here in Portland. She had people, even if she hadn't quite found them yet.

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  • K'Tesh December 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    My thoughts and Prayers go out to Angela and her family.

    God Bless

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  • Maryrb December 17, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    To her family and friends, sorry for your lost. I think she would definitely found "her people" here in Portland. Thank you for doing a story on her.

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  • TonyH December 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I admire Angela. It was so brave of her to just plunge into "the great unknown" and to pursue her dreams. As her passing reminds us, any one of us can depart this existence at any time. It's what we do with the time we have ... and it seems that Angela was on a wonderful path. It's not the results that matter. It's in doing the best we can, and letting go of the results. I wish that I had had some of Angela's 'moxy' when I was her age (heck, I wish I did now!). Bless her. Bless her friends and family. And bless all of us.

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  • pixie December 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Athena Burke and Julia (from earlier thread),

    I'm sorry for your loss and I thank you for sharing your stories of Angela with us. All the best as you heal.

    JM,

    Thank you for your extensive coverage of this tragedy. Even though the several stories deepen the sadness as I learn more, I appreciate your care about all aspects of this situation, and your desire to gather and share information with the rest of us. Some have a problem with your style of journalism, but most news outlets rarely take the time and initiative to go beyond the surface of current events and get into a deeper look behind what's going on in local news. Your going to the scene at night and sharing that information adds to our knowledge and understanding, as does your efforts to learn more about Angela.

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  • Spiffy December 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    damn, that's touching...

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  • CaptainKarma December 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Tears in my eye. Seriously.

    Maybe we could honor Angela by naming a bicycle infrastructure project after her.

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  • patrickz December 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. Our thoughts are with her family. Very sorry to hear this.

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  • Athena Burke December 18, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Thank you for your support and your wishes for our family. Angie was a brilliant, funny, brave, fierce, loving person. She has 2 younger sisters and a younger brother who looked up to her and she loved them with all her heart. We are grateful for your honoring her and her memory. I wish I could be there at that Vigil...please stand there for all of Angela's family. Thank you Jonathan for your care and your ideals.

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  • Ted Diamond December 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Thank you. Didn't know her, but she's from my home town. I am so sorry to hear this. Thoughts to her family, friends, and all who suffer from her loss.

    Damn.

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  • Dylan December 18, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Angela was adventurist, funny, exciting, and an amazing person. We worked together for a year and during that time i never saw a frown on her face, and if she happened to see one on you she would quickly make sure u were smiling. You will always be forever missed angela and everyone here in albany and at bombers miss you more then words can describe. Sending out love to all her family and friends new and old. If you knew this girl you know how amazing she really was.

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  • JC December 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

    My name is JC and was a friend and co-worker of Angela's from Albany. Everyone who knew Angela knew that she could ALWAYS put a smile on your face and get you to laugh even on your darkest day. She was bright, hysterically funny, caring and beautiful. We will all miss her immensely. I just want to take a moment and say thank you to BikePortland for making people aware that this was a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided. You have all of our support back here in Albany. Thank you again and be safe out there.

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  • A.K. December 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Wow, this is very sad - a young person taken by someone's selfish actions.

    I hope that when it comes time for his day in court, the man who killed her is required to read this and understand the full consequences of his actions.

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  • Cat December 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Angela was one of the most amazing personalities I've encountered in my life and I know that her humor and spunk with live on through every person who loved her.

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  • Mary Woodruff December 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I knew Angela and her sister Annie when they lived here on Cape Cod. She did have a hard life, but you'd never know it. Always had a smile on her face and was very polite and considerate of others.

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  • Margaret Weinland December 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Angela moved to the small village of Petersburgh NY with her parents when she was a teenager and spent some years here. She was truly loved by those who knew her - just a lovely lovely person. She was a very smart, warm and interesting young woman, and I am heartbroken to hear this news. There are many people in Petersburgh grieving for Angie and for her family. Love to you, Mike, Athena, Annie, Christopher, Sarah - I am so sorry for your loss.

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  • Joe in Wilsonville December 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    sad.. yes we will always be your ppl. R.I.P friend
    ur not alone..

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  • mikeinhoodriver December 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    ....as a friend of the driver who hit Angela, I would like to express how awful this accident is. Caleb is a vibrant young man, who enjoyed the recreation opportunities that Hood River has to offer. He is often seen at the local kite boarding beach or riding his Harley around town, when he isnt working as a contractor. Caleb is a very genuine and kind person who would help anyone in need of assistance. However, this tragic event just underscores the importance of making wise decisions. Caleb would never have wanted this to happen, especially at the cost of someones life, but sometimes we have to learn a lesson the hard way. There are many factors that contribute to this accident, but the bottom line is, we all have think about the consequences of the small decisions we make each day, that can end up having a big impact in our lives and the lives of others.

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    • William December 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

      mikeinhoodriver
      ....as a friend of the driver who hit Angela, I would like to express how awful this accident is. Caleb is a vibrant young man, who enjoyed the recreation opportunities that Hood River has to offer. He is often seen at the local kite boarding beach or riding his Harley around town, when he isnt working as a contractor. Caleb is a very genuine and kind person who would help anyone in need of assistance. However, this tragic event just underscores the importance of making wise decisions. Caleb would never have wanted this to happen, especially at the cost of someones life, but sometimes we have to learn a lesson the hard way. There are many factors that contribute to this accident, but the bottom line is, we all have think about the consequences of the small decisions we make each day, that can end up having a big impact in our lives and the lives of others.

      Why did his friend get into the car with him knowing the he would be driving and had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana? His girlfriend to a certain degree facilitated his behavior by agreeing to drive with him, why didn't she absolutely and vehemently protest his irresponsible life threatening decision to drive while intoxicated as he was getting into his car? "He's a vibrant young man", what does that have to do with driving while intoxicated and risking not only his girlfriends life, but the life of an innocent pedestrian? Drinking and driving is NOT one of those small decisions that you mentioned, people just don't get it. Also it is of no interest to any of us readers to know that he drives a loud, attention seeking, obnoxious Harley, what does that have to do with the tragic loss of life in this case? He might be truly a kind and generous person but kindness and magnanimity can't bring back the dead.

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  • suburban December 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Alcohol. Say those three syllables out loud in front of your screen now. Say them to those you love and trust. Say them to people you vote for. This is all you can EVER do in this case.

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  • Mike December 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    God Damn this sucks!! Such a tragic series of events. I am sure he regrets the moment he put the keys in the ignition. May she rest in peace!

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  • malka December 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Thanks to all of Angela's family members and friends for sharing your reflections on this remarkable young woman. May God grant you comfort in this time of great loss.

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  • k December 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I met Angela a few times in Albany and I was just shocked to hear of this news out in my new home. She was such a wonderful person, and I hope that her family finds some comfort in knowing that she was such a special person. Rest in peace, Angela.

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  • MC December 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Angela was a student of mine in High School. One of her greatest attributes was her ability to see good in people. She never bemoaned her lot, for Angela was too busy thinking of others and the greater picture. She was wise beyond her years, had a gleam in her eye that belied a wonderful temperament of spirit and a smile that would light up anyone's day causing one to wonder, just where is that canary?

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  • Lisa December 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I saw Angela's obit in the TU here in Albany and because my sister lives in Portland I looked into this further (out of curiousity) and all I can say is reading this just devastated me tonight. I was visting Portland in June this year and I can certainly see why Angela made it her dream to eventually arrive there. May her Family, (whom I don't know), find solace in the fact that she set a goal and achieved it where many never bring their goals to fruition in 56, 66, or even 76 years on this Earth. Bikers, walkers and EVERYONE out there deserve to be safe while traversing the roadways, don't they? Those who make the foolish decision to get behind the wheel when under the influence rob us of so many innocent and special people-when will people wake up?

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  • David December 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    One more kind and gentle person struck down by a vehicle whose driver did not care about others. May God bless her and her family.

    What will our government do about this constant selfishness of so many drivers that I see daily talking on the cell, putting on makeup, drinking, and much more.

    I am angry over the life taken so irresponsibly.

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  • David December 20, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Thank you Jonathan for informing us about Ms. Burke. Your role in our town is very important!!

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  • Kerrie December 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    This story is so devastating. Her birth mother is my mom's cousin. I can hardly believe that something so tragic could happen to this beautiful soul - just days before Christmas. I can't find forgiveness in me for the man who carelessly took her life while partying (drunk and going over 70 in a 30.... really??) I hope he pays the rest of his life for what he's done to her family, friends, and the rest of the world that will never get the opportunity to meet Angela. May she rest in peace and may her family find some comfort.

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    • sue December 29, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Kerrie
      This story is so devastating. Her birth mother is my mom's cousin. I can hardly believe that something so tragic could happen to this beautiful soul - just days before Christmas. I can't find forgiveness in me for the man who carelessly took her life while partying (drunk and going over 70 in a 30.... really??) I hope he pays the rest of his life for what he's done to her family, friends, and the rest of the world that will never get the opportunity to meet Angela. May she rest in peace and may her family find some comfort.

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  • Nathan December 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I'm shocked. I just found out. I first met Angela the night before we biked 40 miles out of town to camp in the middle of the Mt Hood national forest. Her spirit of adventure was unbridled. She told me how she had just moved to Portland across the country in her little blue bug with a friend and all her belongings. In the small amount of time I spent with her, I could tell she found beauty in small things, humor in life, and loved it all. My deepest sympathy goes out to her family and her numerous friends. Rest in peace Angela.

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  • sue December 29, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Thank you Kerrie. Yes Linda is her mom.

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  • Dont CommunteDrunk January 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

    This is horrible and I feel for the family. I do have to comment though... why is it the bars in metro PDX promote riding with drunk? Heck, a lot of the PDX cyclists I know get high and/or drunk (I'll define drunk as 4 microbrews at 5.0+ alc content) and then drive or ride their bikes home. They seem to think its ok since it is only a bike. The ad above these comments goes along with the theme. HUB's bike bar? come on!

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  • BikerLS January 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

    As a Barber Road Cyclist, I took this tragedy to heart. No matter what we do to protect ourselves and be visible we cannot protect ourselves from a drunk driver. This is a risk we are taking by being on the road and should not be ignored or under minded. But yet my heart goes out to all survivors. We should not cast hate and judgement against anyone. Not only one life was ended with this tragedy. Two lives were lost. Can you imagine the suffering you would have knowing you've killed someone? Every day every moment it would be there. Should we really be adding to this?

    I ask that we learn from this event and express empathy to all those affected by this tragedy. We are asking why, but there will never be an answer.

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