Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Cyclists attacked near Legacy Hospital

Posted by on January 14th, 2007 at 10:41 am

Check out this story I just read from KATU-TV:

Photo from KATU broadcast.

“Two cyclists said they were attacked by three teenagers near a north Portland bus stop on Wednesday.

The women, Ashley Gorman and her co-worker Heather Moles, were riding their bikes home from work when the attack occurred near Legacy Emanuel Hospital.The cyclists said the teen girls were standing in the bike lane waiting for the bus and they had to steer their bikes around the group. The teens may have thought the cyclists rode too closely.

The next thing she knew, one of the teens kicked out Moles’ tire, causing her to fall…That’s when the beating began. Three teens punched both cyclists in the head and dislocated Moles’ shoulder…One witness heard a racial slur aimed at the cyclists, who said they didn’t hear it. The teens were black while the cyclists were white.

The cyclists wonder whether race had anything to do with the attack. They can’t understand what caused it…one witness claimed

“I got bruised up pretty good,” Gorman said. “I got my behind handed to me.””

KATU says the attackers scattered by the time the police arrived.

This really hits home for me. I live in North Portland and I ride by the same bus stop all the time. I’m aware of racial tensions that might exist in the rapidly changing neighborhoods and I always try and make eye contact, smile, and ring my bell at the kids in the neighborhood.

Regardless of why this happened, it’s clear that as cyclists — without a thousand-pound steel cage to protect us — we are much more vulnerable to stuff like this.

Does anyone know these ladies?
Have you ever had a similar experience?
Do you take precautions while riding at night?

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • adam January 14, 2007 at 11:20 am

    maybe this would be an opportune time for kruger to announce a sting on hoodlums who attack bikes.

    waiting? or, you bike nazis, do we have to enforce this sort of thing ourselves?

    what say you cityfolk????

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  • Steve January 14, 2007 at 11:46 am

    It is sad that we have to endure this type of behavior. We DO have to protect ourselves. Ironically, we can not carry pepper gas because it is illegal in Portland. The only other alternative is to obtain a concealed weapons permit and carry high powered “pocket” guns. I’d rather carry non lethal weapons but our hands are tied….

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  • Jonathan Maus January 14, 2007 at 11:53 am


    I respect your suggestion, but I don’t think arming ourselves (lethal or not) is the answer.

    This is Portland, not Baghdad.

    If anything, this incident shows how far PDOT and local bike advocacy groups still have to go to reach out to the black community (and other under represented segments of our city).

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  • john q public January 14, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Steve- carrying OC (pepper spray) is not illegal in Portland from what I understand.

    Jonathan- Do you really think this is an issue of needing to reach out to the “black community”? It sounds like the assailants were scumbags. Personally, I feel that I get a whole lot more respect from black drivers than white drivers. This is (of course) a generalization, but I have been nearly injured much more often by the “white community”.

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  • brad January 14, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    buy the small kryptonite lock and keep it in your back pocket. it’s not illegal, no one expects it, and it’s a mighty strong weapon.

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  • felix January 14, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Illegal or not carry some pepper spray. I used to carry a gun (legally) when I lived in Memphis and I can tell you from experience its a pain in the ass even with a small gun you always have to be aware of it. Arm yourself in your house but in Portland you really don’t need a gun. Pepper spray and a bike make a hell of a weapon.

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  • Justa January 14, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    honestly, i don’t see this as a consciously cyclist-specific incident. it sounds like some bored, pissed off kids taking out their ire on a ‘random, accessible victim’.

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  • Justa January 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    oh, also, as far as self-defense goes…pepper spray is a good one, and personally i like to ride with my u-lock easily available in a pinch.

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  • david January 14, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    unfortunately, this event hits close to home. like jonathan, i try to be respectful and congnizant (ie smiling, nodding, waving, etc) of those with whom i share the road. and yet, on three separate occasions in the past year, i have been threatened with physical assault while riding my bike. the first occurred on the hawthorne bridge, and was instigated by another cyclist (i forget his name, but it was that wackadoo written about in the papers). the second was at the intersection of ne multnomah and 20th – this time by a pedestrian. the third and most recent occurred about 2 weeks ago at the intersection of mlk and fremont. heading home from work on mississippi at about 9pm, a car full of teenage girls – probably in high school – pulled up next to me at the stop light. what started as waving and smiling quickly turned into racial taunts and threats of violence laced with obscene remarks of a racial/sexual nature.
    what i find interesting and disturbing about these events – including the one from the initial article – is that the only common thread is that it is cyclists being attacked (my wouldbe-assailants were of different races and using three different transportation modes). personally, i believe it is because as cyclists, we are extremely exposed to physical attack. in two of the confrontations, i was wearing a helmet, thickly bundled in several layers, straddling my bicycle while waiting at a stoplight, and had gloves on. essentially a totally vulnerable, unmoving target without any means of defending myself (hands in gloves, u-lock in backpack, etc).
    while i continue to ride without a weapon – concealed, lethal, or otherwise – the thought has certainly crossed my mind, and i will likely trade in my large u-lock for a more accessible pocket-sized u-lock some time in the near future.
    furthermore,i reject the notion that simply because i am in portland as opposed to a city with a reputation for violence that i should rely on advocacy groups or municipal agencies alone to protect me. victimization is victimization, whether one happens to be in portland, baghdad, or any other location on this lovely planet earth. ride safely!

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  • PFin January 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Pepper spray is not illegal in Portland.

    So, where did the teens go? Pleeeeeeease don’t tell me the bus driver watched this and then allowed the teens on to the bus. That would be a little too, um, consistent.

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  • beth January 14, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    As someone who has experienced vulnerability in her lifetime for being a member of a minority, I’d have to say that if racial slurs are hurled I’d count the attack as bias-based.

    There are lots and lots of components to the whys and wherefores of this situation. Race is only one of them. I suspect that the growing economic divide is another, and unspecified rage and boredom may yet be two more.

    Because I tend to be more of an opossum than a cougar in my “animal” approach to scary things, I make it a point to vary my routes, and to avoid places where groups of bored teenagers tend to hang out long past any regular bedtime (and/or to no readily visible purpose). If you want to call it fear, fine. I call it common sense.

    It’s sad, but Portland has grown up and become a Big City; a higher incidence of violent crime comes with the territory. All of our best intentions and honorable talk about “liveable” cities (liveable for whom? For how many? At what cost? And, perhaps most importantly, who gets to decide?) will not change that anytime soon, unless we are willing to admit to the social and economic — and yes, racial — biases that we as citizens and elected officials incorporate into our education, employment and urban planning policies.

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  • Thomas Ngo January 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Like Justa, I also don’t see this as an incident targeted at cyclists, but simply a random act of violence like this. Some kids just have a violent tendency towards “keepin’ it real”, and it affects commuters on all modes.

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  • Jeff January 14, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve had friends tell me about being chased on bike by young black kids in NE during the summer, when you see large groups of teens roaming the streets at night. A few others have mentioned having eggs thrown at them.

    But nothing like this.

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  • organic brian January 14, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I would encourage cyclists who don’t have self-defense training (martial arts as an example) to carry some kind of deterrent. Pocket-sized pepper spray cans can be bought at Andy & Bax, I think they cost around five bucks. From what I’ve heard, you would not have to even use them, just show them as a deterrent. Some people will prey on those they perceive as being defenseless, there will always be this type of person in every society and outreach / education campaigns will never change that.

    The person / people you allow to get away with assaulting you today could be emboldened to attack me tomorrow, so I really don’t appreciate when people have an attitude of apathy about stuff like this.

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  • jami January 14, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    these specific girls need to go to prison for a good long time, as do the ones involved in this distressingly similar attack the day before:

    i’m sure they’ll get caught. i hope they’re spending their last days of freedom kicking their own selves for a change.

    but what kind of social problems produced so many violent racist asshole girls all at one time? between those two incidents, there were seven, all black, all girls, all teenagers, presumably all raised in portland. what the —- is wrong with them, and what the —- is wrong with portland, then?

    i think beth is right that there are huge education, employment, and planning decisions behind the ongoing race divisions in our city and our country.

    what can we do to fix it?

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 14, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Harassment of cyclists is a vastly underreported crime in Oregon. Many people on the road react with hostility and even displays of deadly force against cyclists. Police are often uncooperative, and the Portland Police Bureau has been reported on this site multiple times in the past few months as discouraging cyclists from filing police reports. It really is a jungle out there, folks.

    We sorely need legal reform. Simple chances to Oregon’s laws would make a tremendous difference. We need: (1) Mandatory passing distance of 5 feet, (2) a rule requiring motorists to pass cyclists using the adjacent lane, not the lane in which the cyclist is traveling, and (3) traffic lanes, not narrow “bike” lanes, dedicated to cyclist right of way.

    Also, we need to be willing to use the civil legal system against those who attack us. The fact that we must defend ourselves to remain safe obviates the need to have a means other than physical violence to settle our disputes. We have to be willing to go through the extra trouble required to do what it takes to show the world that you can’t behave with total disregard for my safety and rights simply because I am riding a bicycle!

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  • adam January 14, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    I am certain the bta and the ppb will be right on this.

    whatever the races were in this episode, I encourage you all to be aware of your surroundings and to not be a victim of any kind.

    I hit a guy with a ulock ONCE who got out of his car and came after me. I intended to lock up my bike and take care of that guy man to man but he was faster than I expected. He recovered most of the use of his arm, I hear, but, it cost me nearly 30 thousand non trust fund dollars and 6 months of stress to defend myself from that little episode.

    most white people and most wealthy people have no idea what harrassment is, so, take it for what it is worth…

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  • adam January 14, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    beth – you said, “It’s sad, but Portland has grown up and become a Big City; a higher incidence of violent crime comes with the territory.” can you support this with any “facts”? I would like to see them, most data I have seen shows a levelling and a decrease in percapita violent crime in portland since the mid 90s.

    **this paragraph edited by site owner**

    jonathan, can you ask the ppb to announce when they catch these perps and how much time they are going to serve?

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  • beth January 14, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    No facts, I’m not a statistician or scientist.

    I have only my personal experience, and so perhaps I need to find a clearer way to express what is an opinion. Apologies for the lack of clarity.

    When I moved here as a child over 30 years ago, there were fewer violent crimes being reported, and I believe there were probably fewer violent crimes happening too. Why? I’m not a social scientist so I can’t prove any of it, but I believe a big part of it is that Portland’s population has grown, the city’s demographic is changing and the divide between rich and poor is growing. Just like anywhere else in the country, our city is having growing pains.

    All the stats in the world won’t help us do a better job of creating educational and economic opportunities for everybody who wants/needs them. I maintain that the solution to these issues lies in a much larger discussion that more of us need to be willing to engage in —
    about the way we choose to create communities (and with whom, and why we prefer to live near people who feel “like us” rather than seeking out lots of “diversity” among our neighbors — this is an ages-old dilemma and it did not start with “smart cities” thinking);
    about they way we get from place to place and why we insist on making the poorest people live the farthest away from realistically available jobs when we plan new neighborhoods;
    about the way we were taught to respond (emotionally, verbally/non-verbally) to people of different races/religions/economic classes/whatever else; and the way that families are less and less able to raise children with a sense of morality and shame and pride;
    and perhaps at the heart of things, about the way we relate to each other, person-to-person.

    These are questions that lie far beyond the scope of this bike-oriented website, but because riding a bicycle for transportation puts me out there in a more exposed, more person-to-person way than driving a car ever would, I cannot help but to think about them and be aware of them.

    No hard facts here — just my life experience. Yours may well be different; and perhaps by adding to the dialogue we can learn more from each other than any numbers can ever teach us. Peace –B

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  • Michelle January 14, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    I know a woman who nearly had her bike kicked out from under her at N Williams and Fremont, or thereabouts. She was waiting at a light and trying to not to be nervous about a group of teens on the curb nearby, when one of them came over and started kicking her wheel. He busted a few spokes but she managed to take off before he succeeded in destroying the wheel. She’s been pretty freaked out ever since. I don’t know if she reported it to the police but I’ll encourage her to do so now.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 14, 2007 at 10:45 pm


    It’s amazing to hear that story. A few weeks ago, when I met with Bjorn Warloe about his ideas to change the red-light law for cyclists, he mentioned something I’d never thought of before.

    He used security as one of the justifications for possibly allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs at night.

    He thinks that because cyclists are so much more vulnerable than cars (especially women, at night, in bad neighborhoods) we should be allowed to go through red lights after stopping and waiting for a few seconds.

    It made sense to me then, now after hearing all this it makes more sense than ever.

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  • Mike Myers January 15, 2007 at 3:04 am

    This is horrible. Even more horrible is the whiny approach some people have regarding this incident. This was CLEARLY a racist attack, and should be treated no differently than if the races in the incident were reversed. This isn’t about “economic imbalance”, the “growing distance between rich and poor”, or anything else. These two women were attacked because they were white.
    The attackers, if caught, should be treated no differently than skinheads.

    I also agree with the posters who suggested non-lethal defense methods, but those don’t help much when you’re blindsided. Keep aware of your surroundings. Don’t get too close to groups of teenagers. Get both feet out of your pedals at stoplights.

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  • scott n January 15, 2007 at 7:57 am

    My wife was assulted near Legacy this Septemer. It was minor compared to the women in this story, but it did shake her up a bit. My friend blogged it and here is the excerpt ;

    “last night: Cars 1, Bikes 0

    BECAUSE, you can’t have someone run up and SLAP you across the face if you are in a car.

    My friend I were biking to a show yesterday evening. We were waiting for a light to change on N. Vancouver when a young woman waiting at the bus stop decided she knew Shannon and needed to slap her. Which she came over and did.”

    My wife had one foot in a toeclip so she fell pretty hard on one knee, her glasses were knocked off and got scratched up. Not the best night for her.

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  • Coyote January 15, 2007 at 8:24 am

    What a grim conversation to be having on MLK day. If I feel like I have to arm myself just to ride my bike to work, then fuck it; I am taking the Suburban. We are not going to make is as a society anyway.

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  • Jim F January 15, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Having that crack park right next door to Legacy probably doesn’t help.

    I have to go up Williams to the Alberta area every day as part of my commute.

    But a looong time ago I realized that Williams was not the way to go — too many problems on that lower stretch around Legacy.

    A better bet is to take Interstate to Mississippi and wind through the neighborhoods. This takes you around the back and allows you to miss the sketchy Legacy area.

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  • West Cougar January 15, 2007 at 9:57 am

    There was also a black on white teen girls beating at a Max stop Thursday night, Jan 11. Also racially motivated.

    Three occurances in one week’s time. That is highly suspicious. I wonder if the Portland Police are investigating these as a larger pattern or conspiracy? Anyone know how to inquire about such with the Portland Police?

    And finally, on MLK Jr. Day it is hard not to reflect about the state of the black community today. It is such a tragedy. Ironically, as the opportunities to the black community have grown since the 60’s the social dysfunction within the black community has grown right along with it.

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  • Anonymous January 15, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Shame on those kids.

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  • Anno January 15, 2007 at 10:39 am

    It seems many of us are jumping to conclusions of race based voilence without knowing the facts of the event. We have a few sentences from a news report, but no knowledge if the attack was race motivated.

    When we are fearful or confused it is easy to jump to quick conclusoins, especially when we become fearful.

    What I understand from the report is that two women on bicycles were attacked for what seems like unknown reasons. This was a terrible event, but let’s not jump to conclusions about the motivation for the attack just because we are angry or scared.

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  • jami January 15, 2007 at 10:43 am

    there’s danger in generalizing these bad kids to the whole “black community.” i’m sure many very nice black people are shaking their heads and saying tut-tut with the rest of us.

    it’s the ones who aren’t. over the years, most white people have learned that it’s not okay to be, raise, date, or befriend a racist. that’s why skinheads are now a tiny and pathetic little crowd getting chased out of even idaho. perhaps as a result of these incidents, a few more black parents will teach their kids that all racists, not just white ones, are disgusting and creepy.

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  • R. Dobbs January 15, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Please, I have been yelled at by black kids while riding all over N. Portland, and the comments were indisputably racist in nature. Let’s not fall all over ourselves to apologize for the culprits in these racist assaults.

    You know in your heart of hearts you wouldn’t come to the defense of suspected white racists if the roles were reversed.

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  • Andy January 15, 2007 at 11:51 am

    From the KGW story…

    “They set out to rob someone,” said Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, “And they told detectives they chose this victim because she was white.”

    The girls were arrested, but NOT charged with a hate crime.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Just want to let everyone know that I am moderating comments on this post with extra care.

    What’s interesting to me is how the bicycle is likely a symbol to neighborhood kids about the major impacts that gentrification is having on their community.

    Let’s face it, there may be thousands of cyclists riding around Portland every day…but very few of them are black.

    How can we change this? Many N and NE Portland neighborhoods are predominantly black. How do we change what bicycles stand for in those communities?

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  • Matt Picio January 15, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    In response to Andy’s comments:

    I’m glad they weren’t charged with a hate crime. I think it sets a very dangerous precedent to base the severity of a crime on what that person *thought* before they committed it. We’re not trying to restrict thought, we’re trying to restrict behavior. Prosecute the person for the assault, or whatever the original crime is.

    As for weapons, commented on earlier by Jonathan and others:

    You are responsible for defending yourself. It’s great when you can get the cops to show up to defend you, but that depends on how far away they are when you need them, what they’re doing at the time, and whether you can summon them via 911 or other means. Your only guaranteed defense is yourself. Take responsibility for yourself: learn a martial art, carry pepper spray, carry a gun (with proper permits) if you have to. Whatever you choose as your method for defending yourself, be ready to use it, know it inside and out, and get training on how to recognize a dangerous situation and how to handle it. And if you choose a weapon like pepper spray, a knife or a gun, remember that anything you hold in your hands can be forcibly taken from you and used against you or others.

    Choose your method of defense, get trained in it, and keep up your skills. Above all, understand and accept the consequences of its use.

    BTW, for those defending themselves against an attacker, Oregon law says the maximum range for self-defense is 21 feet. Beyond that, the law does not consider them an imminent threat.*

    *Don’t believe me – look it up for yourself. Be knowledgeable, be aware of your surroundings.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 15, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Please note that Andy’s comment above references a separate incident.

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  • Matt Picio January 15, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    “How can we change this? Many N and NE Portland neighborhoods are predominantly black. How do we change what bicycles stand for in those communities?”

    We change it by encouraging more cyclists to ride in those neighborhoods. The problem with racial issues (and really, with any “group” issue) is that we’re all seeing each other as members of a group rather than as individuals. When we as individuals take the time to talk to someone for 5 minutes, they stop being a member of a group to us and become an individual in our eyes, and we do the same to them.

    Instead of being black, white, red, yellow, driver, cyclist, pedestrian, equestrian, male, female, gay, straight, bi, transgendered, Christian, pagan, Buddhist, libertarian, democrat, republican, or one-armed Bavarian quilt makers, we (and they) become Bob, Sarah, Havel, Latitia, Robert, Anna, Kumori, and Mitch. Who are you more likely to be nervous of in your neighborhood – some big unshaven guy on a bike who you’ve never seen before, or Bob Jones, a cyclist who rides down the street every day, who’s got a temporary job because he was downsized from the company he worked at for 10 years, and is having trouble making ends meet? Same guy, but 10-30 minutes into a conversation with him.

    Basically, we do it by riding in those neighborhoods more, and doing what many on this list do best – bike fun.

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  • Gregg January 15, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I don’t know NE too well but it seems that the locations of this incident and the one at the Rose Quarter MAX stop are pretty close geographically. I can’t help but wonder if the attackers are the same people.

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  • Jasun Wurster @ MLK & Killingsworth January 15, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Gee those low home and rent prices in the North come at a cost? Golly why can’t we all just get along?

    Face it there is a reason why the North Portland is the way it is, there is a longer history of oppression and racial discrimination that goes back longer than the the bike lanes on Williams and Vancouver. Also if you look around to other parts of the city the North kinda gets shafted. Southeast Uplift is great at getting ‘their share’ … and maybe more. The Downtown\Perl and South Waterfront appear that they are going to be Urban Renewal areas for ever … thus preventing other areas from getting nice subsidized condos. Downtown has the Clean and Safe program to prevent homeless from drinking in public but the PPB had to cut its Youth Gang Violence program. Look how different a school in the North is to a school in the Southwest.

    I totally agree with Matt’s point about talking to people and becoming a part of the community that you live in. Be a part of the neighborhood watch, talk to your neighbors and take a sincere interest in their welfare by understanding their past. I would further suggest to be an advocate in local government for financial assistance go to those who need it … as opposed to those who profit from it. Bicycle advocacy is great and all … but there are also other larger issues in this city that might deserve more attention than being the “#1 Bicycling City in America”.

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  • MJ January 15, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I couldn’t find the news story but wasn’t it about a year ago a white male got beat up by a group of black youth on the MAX because his bicycle was in the way?

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  • gabrielamadeus January 15, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    How can we get more NE residents to shed 2 wheels and 2000 lbs? I don’t know, but over the summer there were kids 8-18 all over our block… riding their bikes! We had an informal repair shop in our basement, every neighborhood kid knew where to come to get their bike fixed, the only hitch being that THEY had to do the fixing, we only showed them how. Sure, we lost a lot of tools and had to have an endless supply of bikes and tires (they love to skid!), but the kids had a great time, especially modding them out with spraypaint and 2 diff wheel sizes!

    In a few years these will be the same kids that know and influence aggressive teens like those we’ve been hearing a lot about lately.

    Reguardless of race, as adults we tend to get stuck in rut and are unwilling to make a big change like using a bike primarily or even recognize those that do. Kids, however, are the adults of tomorrow, and they already love riding bikes! We just need to stop them from forgetting that when they turn 16.

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  • Gregg January 15, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    And another thing, a good place to submit info about crimes like this is to the SPLC’s Hatewatch program They do good things with the data.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that hate crimes are not isolated in local information sources like the PortlandMaps site ; probably because they are federal crimes.

    Jonathan, what’s the code to make HREFs??!!? Is it something special?

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  • Andy January 15, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Matt, Punishments for crimes are often decided with the motivation in mind, why should this be any different?

    Should a person arrested for stealing a loaf of bread because they were starving be given the same punishment as a theft made with reselling for a profit?

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  • Jonathan Maus January 15, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Here’s the story about the cyclist who got beat up on MAX back in August 2005.

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  • West Cougar January 15, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Good memory MJ/Jonathan. I was going to mention that as well…

    Here’s a somewhat harrowing, first-person account:

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  • Chris Sullivan January 15, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Major MAX stops seem to be prone to crime in general, not just those in Nopo. Take a look at the Google Earth crime overlay on Downtown, Lloyd Center, and the MAX stop at 205/84 are far worse than anywhere else.

    It’s probably wise to avoid major stops altogether, if possible. And if and when we offer bike lanes, it’d nice to avoid those spots as well.

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  • MJ January 15, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Geez, I hope I’m never in need when mister Barkernews is around…

    I just read that account all he was interested in doing was saving his bike, he seemed to care less that another cyclist was being beaten to death only feet from him.

    “No, I didn’t think about helping the guy”

    “That’s when I turned around and saw my beautiful bicycle. The kids had all gathered in the back of the train to beat the living shit out of this poor man.”

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  • adam January 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    as far as changing what bicycles mean, why don’t we all chit in and buy EVERYONE in the city who wants a bike a bike? maybe sam can find some money in the billion dollar budget? heck, it would cost less than a tram…

    then, the rich people with money can give what they have(money) and the rich people without money can get what they need(inexpensive transport).

    it is easy if you want it…

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  • R. Dobbs January 15, 2007 at 6:37 pm


    as far as changing what bicycles mean, why don’t we all chit in and buy EVERYONE in the city who wants a bike a bike? maybe sam can find some money in the billion dollar budget? heck, it would cost less than a tram…

    Remember yellow bikes? They all got stolen and sold in San Diego.

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  • Pete January 15, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    It seems that this incident is prompting others to follow the lead of the girls.

    Whether it is thought to be “funny”, a way to seem tough, or acting out against any number of unspoken racial, economic, etc., tensions it is still a completely unaccceptable behavior.

    Tonight at 6:30 or so while riding home from my work, which happens to be only 3 blocks from where the prior incident took place, I was faced with a similar situation.

    I was riding in the bike lane on N. Williams approaching the intersection with Skidmore – where I normally turn right to head home. An ethnic youth ran directly into my path and and started yelling and motioning as if he were going to try and hit me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have room or time to move out of the way because of traffic, so I had to continue straight ahead – figuring that at least a full-bore collision would disarm him to some extent.

    Thankfully he jumped back out of the way at the last minute, but it startled me pretty well and I ended up catching a pedal in the corner and nearly losing control. All the while his friends were jeering things to the tune of “Take that f-er” and “I’m going to f- your s–t up”.

    Its an upsetting trend and is unfortunate that we as cyclists now have to add one more thing to the list of dangers on the road.

    Be safe out there, keep your wits about you, and unfortunately try to avoid people at bus stops, intersections, etc.

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  • david January 15, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    In response to Jonathan’s comments:

    “Let’s face it, there may be thousands of cyclists riding around Portland every day…but very few of them are black.

    Is anyone aware of ridership data that supports this? I know the PDOT bike counts – probably with good reason – don’t include observations about race or ethnicity, but that data might be just as useful as knowing whether the observed rider is male, female, w/ helment, w/o helmet, etc. Anyone?

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  • Burr January 15, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Hard to believe anyone could actually have made any money reselling those yellow bikes anywhere, let alone hauling them all the way to San Diego to do so.

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  • R. Dobbs January 15, 2007 at 7:30 pm


    Hard to believe anyone could actually have made any money reselling those yellow bikes anywhere, let alone hauling them all the way to San Diego to do so.

    Whether or not they made money selling the bikes is not the point, they all did in eventually get stolen or destroyed. Other community bike programs in large cities have suffered the same fate. For instance, in Cambrige, UK, all the bikes were stolen on day one of the program.

    Anyhow I did hear that a truckload of them got rounded up one day and the thieves attempted to dump them in SD. Just because you are a thief, doesn’t mean that you are a smart thief.

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  • Coyote January 15, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    In response to comment #34:

    Matt, those are words spoken by a relativley healthy and young man. If your perspective was different, your observations may falter.

    What do you tell your Mom when she wants to ride to the store? “Mom, your Kung Fu skills are waning, perhaps you should carry a gun. You never know when you will have a death match in the Freddy’s parking lot.”

    If it is not safe for the weakest among us, then it is not safe for any of us.

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  • barkernews January 15, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    “Geez, I hope I’m never in need when mister Barkernews is around…”

    You’re right, I wimped out that night. I still think about it. But it’s a lot easier to say that now, a year later, from the comfort of my home.

    At the time I was amidst a violent throng of kids who were mostly bigger than me. There were a dozen of them and one of me. They were all angry for some reason. I was scared. Should I have thrown myself into the middle of them and gotten my ass kicked too? Maybe so. I’ve never been in a fight in my life. I guess it never crossed my mind.

    I’ve been in the middle of angry mobs before. I’ve been in the middle of war protests that turned bad because of a few losers who wanted to taunt the cops. I’ve seen the mob mentality at its worst. I knew how what little chance I had against that group of crazed teens that night.

    Call me a coward. That’s fine. In retrospect, maybe it would have been better to get my ass kicked so I could post on this forum in pride.

    But think about what you would have really done on that MAX train in the middle of the night.

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  • Josh M January 15, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I don’t know how many of you have ever lived in North Portland, i am guessing the ones saying we shouldn’t throw the race card are those who have never lived in these areas.

    I first moved to Portland in 1998 or ’99. I moved in with my mom. She lived on the corner of Willis and Hunt. This was one block south of the infamous “villa”(which no longer exists, they tore it down and built condos a few years ago). They had recently built a Police station in this area because of the crime problem. My mom had moved in there only a few weeks prior. We moved in because it was cheap(around $900 something for 2.5 bedrooms) and we had no money. My mom is handicaped and her boyfriend only made about $1400 a month. The first week I lived there our front window was shot out while I sat in the living room, moments later we heard racial slurs directed at us.
    I was beat up twice walking home late at night after getting off the bus. W/ all the racial slurs directed toward me, it was obvious it was because I was white. I started carrying a knife w/ me because of this.
    Racial comments were very common from the kids in the neighborhood while walking by my house and my mother or I were in the back yard. They would even mess w/ my dog because of this.
    I eventually moved away and back w/ my dad where I grew up. In 2004 I moved into NE portland in the arts district. I didn’t have anywhere near as many problems, but there was still the occasional racial insults thrown my way. I had more problems w/ the crackheads breaking into my house or accusing someone in our house of stealing drugs from them.

    I am not surprised this happened, and I wouldn’t chalk it up to kids being kids. When was the last time you heard of a bunch of white kids in Beaverton jumping two cyclists at night?

    It’s just the problem they’ve been ahving w/ large groups of kids during the summer going through the NE neighborhoods effin’ stuff up.

    I’ve even had someone run into the Know one night and tell us some black kids were trying to pull people off their bikes down the street. We all jumped on our bikes and rode down there. They all ran away when they saw 15 kids on bikes coming at them.

    I have my Ulock in my pocket for protection, but it was mostly from angry drivers. I am usually riding too fast to deal w/ people.
    Some people carry the collapsable batons, they’re easier to weild than a ulock.

    The thing w/ carrying a concealed firearm that even w/ the permit, they’re not allowed downtown. Just a note.

    Anyway, stop blaming society.
    These are just punk ass kids being racist, whether they’re white or black. I am pretty sure that if the kids on the bikes were black, they wouldn’t have had any problems.

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  • adam January 16, 2007 at 12:17 am

    well said, josh m. I am lucky enough to have grown to be a physically imposing person. I don’t have trouble walking down dark streets alone because I know who to look at and how to look at them…in the past, I had the pleasure of getting jumped and rushed and whatever else you want to call it by people of all color. quite the learning experience, I assure you. this is why I don’t flinch when people like Micheal(his girlfriend works for sam!!) try to get in my face. whatever…

    R Dobbs – as far as yellow bikes, yeah, I hear you – it is also frustrating to me that not everyone is ready to really share yet. but, all kids should have a bike, right? everyone of them.

    for portland, I was thinking more along the lines of:
    hey, if you live in portland and you are a kid of under 16(or whatever) and you go to school and promise to try hard to stay out of trouble, then, here, have a bike! it is now their bike. “they” can learn how to care for it. “they” can learn how to be safe. “they” can ride with “us” whenever. be careful in the SE, though, they are afraid of the nonwhite.

    bikes are cheap. portland has 10000s of bike laying around waiting to be given to kids. we can get city money and private money and use things like local bike shops, community knowhow, ccc, etc to make this happen very easily. who is going to step up?

    unfortunately, I did not get to do this kid bike giveaway project before I left. I barely had time to move into a place near alberta…oh well, at least one of you can make this happen if you want it, I am sure of it.

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  • thomas January 16, 2007 at 9:02 am

    It is a little disheatening to hear about these past attacks. I had a similar situation happen to me where I was riding down dekum st and had to ride past a group of teenage boys at a stop light. One of them ran up to me and tried to kick me off of my bike. Luckily, I was able to catch myself before almost wiping out and was able to ride away. I always wondered if they were trying to steal the bike, or were just looking for a fight. Kids these days…

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  • K January 16, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I just read the link to the barkernews max account. I’m horrified. There’s something borderline sociopathic about watching another human being being beaten to shit but only being concerned with the state of “my beautiful bike”. It’s not entirely suprising in a community that places immediate judgement on the person based on what their riding. So out of curiosity- if it had been a cyclist on a vanilla instead of a “low-end mountain bike” would you have gotten involved even if for no other reason than to save the bike?

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  • John January 16, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Very sorry to hear about this incident.

    I once had some teenagers yell really loud to scare me when biking by that some bus stop. From then on, that block became my least favorite spot on my commute.

    I know live closer in (near NE broadway) thus I don’t bike on that stretch of williams as often, so I haven’t had any incidents recently.

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  • R. Dobbs January 16, 2007 at 11:52 am

    @Josh M

    I’m sure it’s just because we don’t have enough social welfare programs for these poor, disaffected, black youth. Maybe some collective white bloodletting is what it will take to “bring up the people”.

    Next time I witness a racist attack, I’m going to give each one of those disenfranchised youth a bike, a hug and a scholarship! After all, it’s the Portland way!

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  • R. Dobbs January 16, 2007 at 11:54 am


    Walk the talk. The CCC has massive annual bike giveway programs. You should go volunteer instead of pining for change that you yourself won’t make happen.

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  • adam January 16, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    I volunteered about 600 hours last year in portland for bike related stuff. right now, I am on vacation. no pining here, josh, just regrets that I could not do all that I had hoped during my time there. no big deal, there are plenty of other cities….

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  • R. Dobbs January 16, 2007 at 12:45 pm


    Good on you then! Enjoy your vacation.

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  • andy January 16, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    I encountered the same group Pete did on Monday night (see post #48). One of them came out into the bike lane as I was approaching and started saying something; I wasn’t going to take any chances, so I pulled out of the bike lane and turned the corner without stopping on the red. I thought about calling the cops to check them out, but then decided I was just being paranoid. Maybe I should have, though.

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  • adam January 16, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    this is a tough one – the point of the bike giveaway project was not to encourage racists acts of violence like this one appears to be, but, rather, to reach out to people of all types and all colors to demonstrate caring and love before anger and boredom take people to the point of attacking random strangers.

    these attacks are inexcusable – I would like to see these girls sentanced to at least 2 years of community service in addition to having to compensate the victims in some manner. get well soon, ladies.

    finally, Andy is right, we should all start calling the cops more – they are supposed to be at the public’s service. we need to complain loudly and formally. I filed about 10 reports with the cops from some guys in a car stopping to want to fight me to commendations for decent cops behavior on mass rides. none of them go anywhere but at least I am on the record(not that you can obtain the records without extra time and money…)

    complaining and filing requests will not help protect ourselves, only we can do that, but it will lay the groundwork for a lawsuit that I am going to spearhead later which will bring down the current regime. I have had enough of kruger and bike stings and fixie harassment.

    anyone want to run for head of city bike culture?!? demand more from your servants, when they fail, and the current ones will, we can then humiliate them further(haha, “retired” former head of bikecops) take their pensions, take their jobs, etc. it will be fun!

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  • A January 17, 2007 at 11:30 am

    My partner was one of the attacked in the above article. We just bought our first home in NoPo last April. Of course one of the things that brought us to the NoPo area was affordability, but just as high on our list was the diversity of the community.

    Unfortunately, we can’t get over the fact that this was such a random act of violence. My partner is originally from San Jose. She was raised by a single mother. As a Caucasian, she was the minority in her high school. The school’s pregnancy rate was higher than it’s graduation rate. She was one of four in her graduating class to go to college, (on an athletic scholarship). There she faced a different challenge- being the low-income kid at a prestigious university. These experiences and one incredibly loving, nurturing mother, made her into one of the most socially conscious, community oriented and politically aware individuals I know.

    Of course I am biased, but it is beyond our scope and saddens us to no end that there are kids out there who our society has made feel so helpless, lost and angry. It also completely bewilders us that it took two passersby to step in. Not the bus driver, (he didn’t even honk), not the people at the stop, and not the police.

    The police were given physical evidence that could have helped in identifying the assailants. A police report has yet to be filed within the police department. The 911 operator was told that the girls could still be seen walking down Graham- two police cars came to the scene first- then one left to search for the attackers. They were not found.

    The fact that we are such an individually selfish society, where no one wants to step in and come to the aid of another, yet we claim to be the most advanced nation in the world; continues to blow my mind.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to Ashley for turning her bike around and coming to Heather’s aid. Without your initial intervention, who knows what that girl would have done to her. Thank you to the two gentlemen who did happen upon the incident after it started and immediately stepped in. And thank you to the pregnant female witness who so wanted to help, but feared injury to her unborn child. I hate to think where this attack would have gone without the help of these individuals.

    However, the fact remains that my wife was cursed at, her back tire knocked out, hit in the head, tackled while our friend was taken to the ground and repeatedly beaten and kicked,; all while several onlookers and a city employee choose not to help. Sickening, and I think a true testament to where we as a “Socially Conscious, Peace, Love and Happiness” Portland, really rank.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 17, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I agree with your sentiments. It is truly sad that people simply stood by, or walked on, without offering any help.

    It’s also very, very sad that racial (and other) prejudice still exists in our society.

    And I think it’s almost as sad that you seem to be apologizing for the actions of the assailants, rather than holding them squarely responsible for their own behavior. Surely society shapes who we are. Just as it shaped your partner to be “one of the most socially conscious, community oriented and politically aware individuals” you know, it can, and does, shape people to be violent sociopaths (or to be completely desensitized to violence). But you don’t know the assailants, so you don’t know that’s what has happened. Yet in referring to them you say, “there are kids out there who our society has made feel so helpless, lost and angry.”

    I understand that you want to understand how people can simply watch someone suffer or attack someone for no rational reason, something certainly alien to you, and to many of us. But if we blame society for everything, then everyone, as individuals, becomes blameless, or at least their actions are more easily condoned. We cannot allow that to happen if we ever hope to achieve the sort of society you and I want. Individuals MUST be responsible for their own behavior — including, perhaps, their failure to help others — if we are ever to have a civil society. Otherwise, there is no incentive to do anything other than please oneself and blame it one “society.”

    This attack was the fault of the attackers and no one else.

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  • adam January 17, 2007 at 5:25 pm


    also, K, unless you are willing to serve as bike vigilante on a train, please keep your judgements on a civil level. even the most seasoned fighters do not like their chances against more than 3 or so. especially in a train where you cannot get separation.

    unfortunately, these things happen all over – there are places in san jose(heck, what about east palo alto?!) that you do not want to be in alone, I know that much.

    I don’t know why these(seems like 3?) girls did such a stupid and pointless thing. they probably don’t either. maybe it was one of those days that they were just looking to take it out on somebody. I don’t know. We will have to wait sometime and even then, I doubt we will be satisfied with their answer. I would like to see a sincere apology from the assailants, right now, for starters.

    the cops will deal with the girls in their normal way…I am a little surprised that there has been no report, but, to the cops, they think this sort of thing is “routine”.

    at any rate, lets be thankful that some individuals DID take action and prevented further injury(the mentality that these girls displayed sounds like it would have gotten worse before they ran away). and, let’s rally around that nice person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. offer her a bikepool or help with medical bills or whatever she needs.

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  • OR Native January 17, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Maybe news like this will drive the property values down, so that some of us who were actually born here can afford a place of our own!

    Hah! I kid I kid! Sorry about your beat-down, hope you recoup quickly.

    Portland isn’t all “peace and love” like you saw in whatever brochure they airdropped all over California. It has changed a LOT in the past five years, but the undercurrents are still there.

    Be safe!

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  • Greg January 18, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    A group of three teens jumped out at me around SE 45th and Powell while I was biking a few months ago. I avoided falling and made it out of there alive. I called the cops afterwards and they asked me “so… what do you want us to do about it?” I asked them to at the very least document it and possibly send a car out there to make sure it didn’t happen to someone else. Then, on halloween, I was biking from ~30th and Alberta down to Sellwood, and a similar thing happened to me with two adult males. I found myself wishing I had a weapon but also glad I didn’t. I’m glad I have not fallen or been pushed off my bike in such an incident yet. Damn scary though.

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  • sanita January 19, 2007 at 1:55 am

    re: OR Native

    I am at a loss of words to your response, and believe me, it is taking the utmost level of maturity to leave this response without insult or personal attack. I am in disgust with your offering of condolence to these two women.

    What happened to these people attacked is horrible. And I hate the fact that such an incident leaves me feeling evermore on the guard and feeling the need to carry some sort of weapon to defend myself for simply living my life.

    There is no excuse for this behavior. Absolutely none. And frankly, I care not for the excuses made for the attackers. Perhaps it brings comfort to search for a reason, but sadly, it will bring you nor the victims anywhere closer to said resolve or comfort.

    I am so sorry and my heart goes out to the victims of this senseless, worthless attack.

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  • Josh January 19, 2007 at 9:14 am

    As a resident of North Portland, I have also had similar, though not as extreme, run-ins with the teens that live there. The most extreme instance that happened to me was along the same stretch of N. Williams where a group of teens at a bus stop threw handfulls of washers (or screws, nails, whatever) at my cycling companion and I.

    Knowing the two victims personally, and seeing what they have gone through, I consider myself very lucky that I was riding fast enough to get by, that the teens I encountered weren’t standing in the middle of the street (like they ALWAYS seem to do), and that I was wearing my helmet.

    Heal fast Heather and Ashley!

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  • J.Lu January 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Jeez. People should just stop riding bikes. I mean, between cops, little black girls and the snow, it’s The City of Portland and God’s not-so-subtle way of telling you to buy a dammed Hummer. Now, stop your bitching, suck it up and get down to the dealership.

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  • Matt P. January 19, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Andy said:

    “Matt, Punishments for crimes are often decided with the motivation in mind, why should this be any different?

    Should a person arrested for stealing a loaf of bread because they were starving be given the same punishment as a theft made with reselling for a profit?”

    Different situation – in your example the difference is one motive is survival, and the other is malice/profit. In my example, we’re punishing someone more harshly for breaking the nose of a man because he’s black/white/red/yellow/Armenian/German/Whatever than someone who breaks someone’s nose because he slept with the guy’s wife. In both cases, hatred is the motivating emotion. Why is the object of hatred so heinous?

    I’m not going to say that it applies in all situations – I think there are exceptions to every rule. But I believe that by and large, we should base punishment off the damage that was done rather than the intentions behind it. Someone committing a crime to maintain their own (or their family’s) survival should be one of the exceptions where we grant some leniency. (and even then, not always. Twisting your own example, what if he stole an invalid’s insulin to save his daughter’s life, and the other person died from the lack of insulin – then what do you do?)

    One size rarely ever actually fits all.

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  • Megan January 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Just wanted to clear some of the details of this attack:

    this happened in the middle of the day, around 3 p.m. in front of a bus stop full of people.

    this was definately aimed at BIKERS, because they were screaming at them to get out of the way of the bus, while they stood in the middle of the bike lane to push them out into the street.

    THE POLICE HAVE NOT FILED THE REPORT AS OF TODAY. the sargeant john birkinbine who was called to the scene walked away with the cd player that had finger prints of one attacker. WHERE is the CD player NOW? good question. They could have found one of these girls in the system with it…

    The bus driver, a city employee, DID NOT CALL 911 while he had a front row seat at the show. HE also drove off with all of the witnesses, while the attackers took off on foot.

    The police left Ashley on the sidewalk with her bike and a dislocated shoulder while they “searched and wrote the report” right?

    One of the girls had a knife, so for everybody who thinks your ULock is going to save you… be sure you know how to make contact with it, otherwise, your attacker might just pull out something they know how to work.

    We’ll have more updates soon, and if anybody has any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask ( I know you won’t).

    Ashley and Heather both work at Urban Grind Coffee House in Northwest Portland. Feel free to stop in to make a donation. We’re looking into a Paypal account for those of you who can’t make it in.

    Thanks everybody

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  • Matt P. January 19, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Responding to this quote from Coyote:

    “Matt, those are words spoken by a relativley healthy and young man. If your perspective was different, your observations may falter.”

    I am a relatively young and healthy man, but that doesn’t invalidate my comments. If I were an old woman, and wheelchair-bound, my method of defense would be training myself to be aware of my surroundings, avoid being alone or outside of public places, bring a friend, and have a cellphone handy. If I had enough strength, I might own a gun. If I had enough health, I might learn a martial art.

    My point was that YOU (every one of us) is responsible for your own (our own) defense. Don’t passively take in your surroundings, pay attention to what goes on around you, understand the patterns, the flow. Defense is only partly a weapon. 90% of it is perception, decision and reaction – the weapon merely allows you to do what you cannot do through pure strength alone.

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  • Ashley Gorman January 19, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I appreciate everybody’s concern in this unfortunate incident. I think it’s great that we can all come together on this site to discuss our experiences. An account has been opened through Paypal under my name, for any donations towards the medical bills that have accrued. Thanks again for your concern.

    Ashley Gorman

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  • Matt P. January 19, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Josh M. said:

    “The thing w/ carrying a concealed firearm that even w/ the permit, they’re not allowed downtown. Just a note.”

    That’s not true. Don’t believe me, though, look up the law yourself, or talk to a lawyer. There are many buildings in Portland, especially downtown, where weapons are not permitted to be carried, even if you have a CHL (Concealed Handgun Licence). Weapons are prohibited in all government buildings – federal, state and local. Private property owners can make their own restrictions, but if you carry, generally all they can do is ask you to leave the property (and if you refuse, they can call the police).

    It’s mandatory to take a training class to obtain a CHL, and they cover this aspect in the class. (in Oregon, at least) If you’re considering it, definitely learn you local laws – they vary heavily from state to state.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 19, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    KATU-TV just called and they are doing a story on tonight’s news about all the reaction to this incident.

    They’re on their way to my place in NoPo right now to do the interview.

    They also hope to talk with other cyclists that have been in similar situations.

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  • J. in Cleveland January 19, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Gawd. I need to share this thread with my friends here in Cleveland who want a giggle. And I need to share it with a bunch of pie-in-the-sky public planners and policy geeks.
    This has opened my eyes to the irony and misguidedness in the rest of the country’s perception of Portland as some kind of bike-friendly model community and cycling mecca.
    Three teenage girls can terrorize Portland. Hee! (Do you all wear beanie propellers on your helmets and have bells on your handlebars? Ding! Ding!)
    The navel-gazing philosophers who want to get off their Sevens and Serottas to “open a dialog with the black community” are a hoot. Haw!
    Even funnier are the cave people contemplating vigilante death sentences (against teen girls?!?) because y’all seem to think cyclists are somehow especially sacrosanct or vulnerable! Hee-Haw!
    (And use pepper spray from a moving bike? Against what? The people in front of you, where you’re about to ride? Ouch. So let’s see: I either cruise into my own cloud of pain or it’s too late, because my girlie attackers are already atop me.)
    The root of this issue isn’t in race relations. It’s in cyclist/community relations. And if you supposedly enlightened people want more attacks and more hostility, go ahead and advocate for more or wider bike lanes to widen that gulf even more.
    That way, the hostile public minority (bike haters, not blacks) can harass you even more each time you assert your rights and ride outside the bike ghetto to which you’ve allowed yourself to be condemned.
    Over here, we share the road — or we’re learning to try, at least. We’ve supposedly been too short-sighted and bike-unfriendly to build a bunch of bike lanes. As a result, our motorists increasingly expect to encounter bikes, and they’re learning to deal with us, and vice versa.
    I ride in traffic daily and have never been hit, doored or bumped. I haven’t been cut off in two years. I rarely even get honked at. Had only one soda bottle pitched my way.
    The “secret” is to drive your bike like any other vehicle, not in bike lanes — especially ones usurped by gangs of hostile black teens or other pedestrians (who have the right of way, whether black, white, young or old).
    Lose the foolish mindset of looking for other people to solve your problems and treat you like children, as suggested by this earlier post by an apparent member of the biking elite effites:
    “We need: (1) Mandatory passing distance of 5 feet, (2) a rule requiring motorists to pass cyclists using the adjacent lane, not the lane in which the cyclist is traveling, and (3) traffic lanes, not narrow “
    ‘bike’ lanes, dedicated to cyclist right of way.”
    No, you need none of that. What you need is some bike-handling skills that keep you in the flow of traffic and out of gangs of menacing pedestrians at bus stops.
    If you want to be children, go ride on the sidewalk. Put on your training wheels. If you think you want “safety,” go ride with the elderly on the bike path in the park (so you can run into a dog leash, a rollerblader or a baby stroller — yeah, THAT’S safe! Be sure not to get your pink Barbie handlebar streamers tangled!)
    On the other hand, if you want to be cyclists, assert your right to a share of the road — and assume the responsibilites that come with it.
    Oh, and one more thing: Either grow some stones when girls attack you, or else learn to ride faster than them — or at least faster than the person you’re riding with.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    @J. in Cleveland

    The “secret” is to drive your bike like any other vehicle, not in bike lanes — especially ones usurped by gangs of hostile black teens or other pedestrians (who have the right of way, whether black, white, young or old).

    Weeeeeelllll, not in Oregon. Only bikes have the right of way in bike lanes, and legally we have to ride in them if they are available.

    Also, IIRC peds don’t have any right of way in oregon, except at crosswalks & intersections.

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  • Todd from vancouver January 19, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Hmmmm….’J in Cleveland’ sounds like ‘he’ is an effective cycling trainer for the LAB:

    “No, you need none of that [bike lanes]. What you need is some bike-handling skills that keep you in the flow of traffic and out of gangs of menacing [girl] pedestrians at bus stops.”

    Sounds like another good idea…to push for the replacement of traffic signals with roundabouts…then no late night “signal stalking”.

    I doubt the city of Cleveland has seen the increase in bicycle traffic that Williams has shown just in the last year per PDOT counts…Jonathan what was it an increase from 1000 to 2000 bikes per day? It is to a point of where pedestrians or transit riders may be feeling out numbered when the weather is fair along some of these bike corridors.

    Perhaps the mapping programme would either add an overlay for these ‘bicyclist unfriendly zone’ or programme their mapping to deviate away from them based on time of day or self selected vulnerablility toggle. Just as pedestrian mapping activities do for kids who walk out of their way to school to avoid the house with the big dog.

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  • Matt Picio January 20, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Portland IS a bike-friendly community and a cycling mecca. What we ALSO are is a community. There are maybe 200 regular posters to this forum, probably much less – about 20-50 of us are the most “active”. So, you’re basing your comments on a sample size of 50-200 people. Portland recorded 12,000 daily trips over the bridges into downtown, and as many as 6% of all vehicle trips are by bike. There may be as many as 20,000 regular cyclists in Portland (meaning they ride 3 or more days a week), so you’re basing your remarks on a sample set that represents at most, 1% of our cycling population.

    And while we’re at it, I notice from a casual Google search that Cleveland has a lot of bike issues, mainly due to the “crazy quilt of local laws”. We don’t have that here – we have maybe a dozen local laws, mainly regarding riding on sidewalks downtown. The bulk to our cycling laws are at the state level, and uniform regardless of the municipality.

    Last, Portland’s bike community is a family. Not the family you choose for yourself, but family as in “relatives”. We’re all related, not by genetics but by virtue of riding a bicycle. Like any family, we bicker, we argue, we talk about stupid things, and for every cherished Aunt Mabel there is a weird Uncle Joe. The 200 of us that regularly post here represent at least 300 different opinions (some of us shift opinions in the SAME ARGUMENT), so don’t expect us to all automatically know “what the bike community needs” or to all agree.

    Cleveland is not superior. It’s just another city. They do some things better than Portland, and Portland does some things better than Cleveland. Be thankful that you don’t like in Detroit, where they have “REAL” bike issues.

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  • Rick January 20, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    One of the key problems here is well-meaning white liberals thinking that as long as they’re not prejudiced (“look, we’re even moving into black areas!”), then everyone else feels the same way. It’s absurdly naive to think this way. Blacks in traditionally black areas feel threatened and resentful when they see “their” neighborhoods being “taken over” by whites and other non-blacks. This, coupled with a sense of powerlessness, makes violence an easy way to express the anger. Of course this way of thinking is absurd and no less offensive than when whites used to rise up against blacks moving into “their” neighborhoods.
    I have twice in the last year been physically threatened and verbally insulted with racist epithets when I have ridden my bicycle through Holladay Park near Lloyd Center by groups of black teenagers. I am not white, but Latino. Until we have a larger community approach to confronting and resolving these issues, I just avoid riding through areas where I know there are large concentrations of black youth. Others who wish to assume naively that blacks are incapable of racist violence in Portland are free to do otherwise, but should not come crying when they are attacked. Inviting violence is not the answer.

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  • Jason January 21, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Why doesn’t the media calls these what they really are: HATE CRIMES. Interesting when whites are attacked it’s just another assault. Reverse the race roles in the recent bike attacks and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would bring a protest to Portland. That is an extremely racist neighborhood and as a caucasian I never feel comfortable there. Black people are exteremely antagonistic towards any non-blacks there. THESE ARE HATE CRIMES PEOPLE!

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  • Morgan January 22, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    I’m wondering if this is a trend. About a month ago my boyfriend and I were riding North on Williams and just before we hit Russell street, 3 black males in a car hurled an egg at him. At the time it was just annoying but now I’m beginning to worry if it’s safe to ride in that neighborhood.

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  • Linda February 11, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve lived in NE Portland for 12 years and seen it change a lot. I also have ridden my bike for transportation for the majority of my life. Yes there are areas in NE, past and present, where it’s best not to walk or ride, because they are “trouble areas”. Past and present.

    I am a White female. There are so many comments here that speak to White privilege that it’s hard to know where to start. But I’ll try to make it simple. Black folks have been riding bikes in NE Portland, and still do. But they’re not “cyclists” and they don’t ride the way most of the “bicycle community” rides. You’ll still see them, the ones that haven’t been pushed out, they are usually riding on the sidewalks or slowly on the streets. They aren’t trying to win the speed contest.

    There is a lot of resentment in NE Portland of the young, White, affluent, and mainly young people who have moved in, brought their culture with them, and “taken over”. Have you heard the phrase
    ” The White Tide has come”?

    The bicycle culture is part of it.I’ve had conversations with Black folks, often older folks, about how difficult it is to drive with all the cyclists speeding by.

    It’s offensive that there is an assumption that Black people don’t ride bicycles. But it’s an attitude that the newcomers to NE seem to have. They seem to “have the answer” for everything. Youall are now here, so let’s begin. Did you not know you were moving into a community where people have lived for sometimes many generations?

    Whites seem to think they have to, and can, set the agenda for everything. In this case, you want to set the agenda for how to ride bikes. Yes of course the violent attacks are wrong; most Blacks would agree, I would imagine,but there’s more than an element of retaliation here. If it’s a “steal your fancy bike” to a more generalized rage of “you came in and took over the neighborhood” certain young people have had enough. They are doing something that is wrong, but I just don’t think you folks understand the feelings beneath it.

    Jonathan Maus says that, and he doesn’t want to be misunderstood, that whites ride the bikes and Blacks seek the crimes of opportunity. What a racist comment right there in the Portland Mercury, in plain sight? What’s up people????

    Think about the real “crime of opportunity” – gentrification.Its more than just “some resentment”. Black teenagers who are striking back are doing it in the wrong way, but there’s a real reason underneath. It might be a good idea to get serious about what gentrification is all about, instead of just acting like, oh well, we’re here now, so everybody should just accept it.

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  • Wyatt February 12, 2007 at 7:40 am


    Why do you insist on capitalizing “white” and “black”. It is odd.

    And this “white priviledge” theory sounds like a whole lot of guilt projection.

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  • Jonathan Maus February 16, 2007 at 4:28 pm


    You bring up some great points.

    I’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks as I’ve tried to write and talk about this issue.

    I regret my statement in the Mercury and I wish I has chosen different words. I often struggle (and sometimes fail) to find the right words for the complicated thoughts flying around my head.

    Regardless of what I was trying to communicate, I now realize I need to stop making statements that generalize entire communities as having one behavior or another.

    I agree with you that perhaps feelings of gentrification have contributed to some of these attacks. But who’s to say even gentrification is all about just blacks and whites? Blacks can be rich, poor, cyclists, or non-cyclists just like whites, latinos, whoever.

    What I’m trying to say is that I have begun to stop seeing things in terms of white, black, cyclist, motorist, etc… and have started to think of things in terms of our community.

    Why do we say someone is a “commuter” if they drive a car to work, but we say they’re a “bike commuter” if they use a bicycle?
    Why do we always refer to the “black or latino community” and you rarely hear something refer to the “white community”?

    I think it’s because the dominant paradigm or majority usually gets the default language, and minorities (which both cyclists and ethnic communities are) get the labels. While I understand the reasons behind why we use labels to identify things, I think they end up hurting the minorities so much that they remain minorities and can never achieve the status or respect given to the majority. OK, I’m digressing perhaps…

    In the end, it’s our community where these issues exist and it’s up to us, the community (all of us!), to try and make them better.

    We’re all in this together. Sounds cheesy but its true whether we want to believe it or not.

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  • Marc R February 21, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Hey folks. Not sure if anyone is still reading this but.. I’m glad that Linda said some of the things she did. G-d knows I wouldn’t want to be attacked by anyone, have my tire kicked out from under me, etc. It reminds me of the old saying,”A Republican is a Democrat who’s been mugged.” But it is my understanding that after decades of racist exclusion from Oregon, black Portlanders have been forced out of one neighborhood after another.. by flooding, by ‘urban renewal’ just across the river from downtown, and now by gentrification in NE Portland. And where did the black business districts go as this happened, in a country which has been so inhospitable to black wealth accumulation.

    With respect to gentrification, here’s my question: don’t the many white people who seem to move to NE Portland partly because they seek ‘diversity’ realize that they might be part of the problem and not the solution? That the more pressure is put on rents and housing prices in NE Portland, the less people of modest income will be able to live there?

    Once, a very nice young white woman who lived in a NE Portland house with her boyfriend told me that a big reason she liked living in NE Portland was something like so that she could get a little ‘flavuh.’ I couldn’t believe this when it was so obvious that some peoples’ seeking after ‘flavuh’ was helping to speed yet another black diaspora, this time to far East Portland and beyond.

    I’m quite certainly oversimplifying things here, and should not be painting all the cool white people in NW Portland with the same brush. But, while not claiming any moral superiority, my natural reaction is to not want to move to NE Portland and contribute to a re-fracturing of Portland’s black community.

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