Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 11th, 2014 at 9:57 am
Users of the popular Sandy Ridge MTB Trail System are speaking out about an unidentified couple they say has repeatedly threatened and assaulted people during and after their bike rides.
According to allegations, an “older couple” has hiked up the mountain bike trails from the parking lot and “accosted” riders.
Members of the Sandy Ridge Trailhead Mountain Bikers Facebook group have been discussing the incidents since last month. One member of the group, Brian F., described an incident he claims took place on February 26th:
“last night the crazy gun toting, bear mace your dog couple struck again to my friend m***** in the lower parking lot. the woman maced ender, the dog… the older man has pulled his weapon on 2 of my friends in the parking lot and the woman carries a can of bear mace, they dont like dogs or bikers and hike the trails.”
Following this incident, the couple was followed home and their address was reportedly handed over to law enforcement.
Another Sandy Ridge trail user we’ve been in contact with via email said several other groups of riders have also had confrontations with this same couple. It’s not clear why the couple is targeting mountain bikers; but some suspect they are particularly annoyed with the riders’ off-leash dogs (UPDATE: We have heard about more incidents and it is now clear they are directing their rage at mountain bike riders in general, and not just dogs).
(It’s worth noting that the Sandy Ridge Trail System was developed by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the Bureau of Land Management specifically as a mountain bike riding area. As such, it has become a very popular regional riding destination and it’s not that common to see people hiking on the trails.)
We first heard about the incidents last week and we are still following up with local authorities to learn more. There are three agencies that have jurisdiction at and around Sandy Ridge: The BLM, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Water Bureau.
The Water Bureau has a stake in Sandy Ridge because of it’s proximity to the Bull Run watershed. Their public information officer, Tim Hall, said he’s been notified by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office about the situation, but so far he’s not aware of any trail users that have come forward to file an official complaint against the couple. Hall confirmed that Water Bureau security guards are aware of mace being used on a dog and officers have interacted with the couple. Hall says the couple hike the trails a lot and “They’re fearful of the dogs going off leash.” Hall added that Water Bureau security officers have passed the case on to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
Clackamas County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Griffin told us he’s aware of the incidents in the area; but that there is not active investigation at this time. (Some of the trail users are skeptical about law enforcement getting involved because no one has gotten hurt yet.) We’ve left a message with the Sheriff’s Office public information officer to learn if any other other investigations have been opened.
We’ll continue to follow this case and post updates as warranted.
In the meantime, if you have come in contact with this couple or if you have more information about these incidents, please call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at (503) 655-8211.
UPDATE, 3/12 at 11:00 am We can now confirm that the CCSO has an open and ongoing investigation into this matter. That being said they urge everyone who has had interactions with this couple to call and file a report.
UPDATE: A reader has shared another encounter with this same couple.
On May 12th 2013 my family and I had a run in with them and I can tell you that friendliness was not on there minds.
I had just gotten to the end of the trail by the yellow gate near the old parking area. I was the first one to the bottom so I turned and looked up the trail to watch the rest of my family come down. I heard the couple yelling so I looked to my right and saw the them walking towards me from the main road. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but my focus was on my daughter her boyfriend and my wife and two dogs who were just coming down. As we exchanged hi fives and started to talk about what a great day it was we herd a fast clicking sound. We looked and saw the woman had a stun gun and was walking towards my dogs.
I have two miniature Australian Shepherds that don’t even weigh 20 pounds each. this woman was not afraid of my dogs she was pursuing them with a weapon.
We yelled at them to leave the dogs alone and then there focus shifted towards us.
They were at this point within a yard or two from us screaming and yelling incoherently when my wife said don’t shock my dogs and the woman then pointed the stun gun at her with her finger on the trigger sparkling it and taking steps towards her. Then my 16 year old daughter yelled leave my mom alone. The woman then went after her.
I had had enough!
I picked up my bike to use as a shield and that’s when the guy pulled the gun and stuck it in my face. I stood there yelling at my family to leave. Once they were clear I started to tell him to relax don’t shoot me. That’s when I noticed his eyes bulging and he was hyperventilating. I walked backwards dragging my bike until I got to the trail that leads back to the big parking lot. I jumped on my bike with my back turned to him expecting to be shot as I road away.
These people are using being afraid of dogs as an excuse to carry out violent confrontations with mountain bikers
The police were called and a few weeks later we went to the police station and did a line up.
It is extremely disappointing to hear that it has happened again.
I can tell you that in no way are these people victims!