Special gravel coverage

Details emerge from NoPo cyclist attack

Posted by on January 19th, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Since I realize some folks don’t always follow all the comments on every post, I thought I’d feature this one just left by Megan, who I assume to be a close friend of Ashley Gorman and Heather Moles, the cyclists who were attacked on their bikes near Legacy Hospital on January 10th.

It reveals some very upsetting details about the incident:

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

this was definitely 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.”

Come on Portland, we can do better than this!

We’ve also heard from Ashley Gorman that she has set up a PayPal account to accept donations for her medical bills. Money can be sent to Ashley Gorman using her email ashlee2284[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Get well soon Ashley, and please keep us posted on any developments.

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

  • Ethan January 19, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    **sentence deleted by site moderator**

    What does Tri-Met have to say? I would guess that their employee manual says something about leaving the scene of a crime.

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  • Brian E. January 19, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    I wonder if the the bus had a forward looking camera and if by some stroke of luck it caught the action?

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  • pushkin January 19, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    And the police have yet to comment on this situation – absolutely shameful.

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  • jeff January 19, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    I know TriMet buses have cameras inside (my previous employer got the contact to install them), but I don’t know about forward facing ones.

    Needless to say, I’m completely disgusted by this incident and stories of others. I had a similar scare late last year and to see so many other reports is just scary.

    Johnathan, thank you so much for the work you are doing and getting folks organized to help tackle these issues. I just donated $50 to the site and will do more whenever I’m able.

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  • gabrielamadeus January 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    sheesh. I’ve gotten threatend with expulsion from the bus just for talking loudly. An yet this is the 2nd case we hear of a bus driver witnessing an assault, doing nothing, and then driving away?

    I know bus operators have a hard job and there are a lot of great drivers out there, but come on!

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  • anotherbiker January 19, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    What is up with trimet and letting cyclists get beat up? Hell, what is up with a bus load of people letting a couple of teens beat up two cyclists. Honestly we need to take care of each other. 3 on 2 is nasty. 3 little shits against a bus load of people is odds that are more appealing.

    Damn it portland. I have to say these kids who pulled this attack should serve jail time. I don’t give a rip about social circumstances. So what if you are poor, undereducated, a racial minority, etc it is no excuse to run around breaking basic tenents of the social contract. Maybe some public shaming would be good. Jail plus putting the offenders to work sweeping glass out of bike lanes.

    **sentences deleted by site moderator**

    Maybe I’m weak but I’m hoping for some ironic karmic justice to take care of these young assalants.

    What do people do for self defense? The last time I was attacked was in high school and I kicked out his knees side ways and gouged his eyes but those we both lucky shots. At that point I promptly fled. Still my basic strategy (fight dirty if attacked until you can flee) but what do other people do?

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  • Burr January 19, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Each TriMet bus has five cameras, two of which are outside, one on the front facing forward and one facing back on the right side of the bus. The only thing this bus driver did right was to not let passengers off to participate in the assault and then let them back on his bus.

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  • Burr January 19, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    And the bus driver didn’t stick around because one of the primary performance evaluation measures for TriMet drivers is whether or not they meet their schedules.

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  • JeffH January 19, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I previously used the name “Jeff” to write comments here. I see there is another “jeff”, so I am now going to use “JeffH” to write comments.

    Just a heads-up to anyone who notices.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    **comment deleted by site moderator**

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  • Christopher January 19, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Forgive me if i am missing something obvious, but what is the CHL option?

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  • adam January 19, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    **comment deleted by site moderator**

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  • john January 19, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    I recall a person on commented on this on how she was concerned about a person harassing cyclists in NoPo on the midnight ride last year. So this is not a new problem. I’ve always known NoPo can be sketchy even during the day. Hope the victims get some justice…

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  • Burr January 19, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    CHL = concealed handgun license

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  • NEPcyclistic January 19, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    **comment deleted by site moderator**

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  • wtf? January 19, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    cant we get wweek or mercury to cover this? at least if they call the police and trimet looking for responses, maybe the will get something. (or likely “no comment”.) but at least it will draw a lot (more) attention to it. i am pretty darn disturbed. especially as a north portland resident who bikes all the time. with my kid no less.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 6:31 pm


    Excellent. Kinda sad that we need armed patrols, to protect cowed cyclists in NoPo, but it is clear we have a problem and the police are yet again unwilling or unable to do their jobs.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    **comment deleted by site moderator**

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  • Ian S. January 19, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    **sentence deleted by site moderator**

    Vigilanteism is not only ridiculous and illegal, but is also likely to further escalate into violent reprisals against innocent, unarmed individuals.

    **sentence deleted by site moderator**

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  • Jonathan Maus January 19, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    I can’t believe some of you think packing a gun is how we should deal with this.

    That just blows me away (no pun intended).

    **sentence deleted by site moderator**

    I would rather not have any more discussion of guns in this thread.

    Thanks for understanding.

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  • Andrew January 19, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    @ R. Dobbs,
    & Jonathan Maus

    Jonathan, you should be carefully monitoring this string of comments. There are some extremely dangerous undertones being expressed. “Welfare Gangster Shits” as posted, is an very, very racist generalization. The fact that there is discussion about “armed” patrols around NoPo is very concerning. Please don’t let these racist, violent inciting comments stir the pot.

    R. Dobbs, please understand that the words you have written in this discussion are not going to facilitate ANY JUSTICE or ANY FEASIBLE SOLUTION for the victims of the attack or future problems. I hope you do not even consider such a vigilante patrol in any location in Portland, why don’t you do something that is actually effective (and challenging) and go out and be an alternative transportation activist and do some outreach in NoPo, or pressure the police and trimet to hold the attackers (and trimet drivers) accountable.

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  • Andrew January 19, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    You are a good guy Jonathan… took me a while to write that, didn’t see your post.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I’m sorry, you’re all right.

    After we’re done getting knocked off our bikes, beaten and/or stabbed, we should give our predominantly black assailants hugs, bikes and scholarships instead!

    Fact of the matter is that assailants have been almost entirely black and have nearly all made racist comments while committing their assaults against mostly white cyclists. This is not supposition, if you don’t like the facts, stay out of the argument.

    Race is a touchy subject but it was not one that any cyclist brought to the table, it was the racist black assailants who upped the ante.

    However, we do have very specific rights to defend ourselves in this state — which are very different than those in California or New York, where many new Portlandites have immigrated from. You all should be aware of the applicable laws, which is why I posted the excellent packing.org site. Which, Jonathan, deals with laws regarding the use of non-lethal defense as well as big scary guns.

    Be educated, make your own decision. We have a problem in NoPo. I posit that hugs ain’t gonna solve it.

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  • West Cougar January 19, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    I must say I am deeply troubled by this pile-on against someone suggesting lawfully exercising one’s Constitutional Right is wrong, racist, testosterone induced, what-have-you.

    I am doubly troubled that someone suggesting one lawfully exercise one’s Constitutional Rigth be CENSORED!

    To be clear, all that was suggested was that the LEGAL carrying of fire-arm seemed increasingly reasonable. Such a comment does not warrant censorship!

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  • West Cougar January 19, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    For those non-censored folks telling us to bring a U-lock to a knife fight, please explain why a U-lock. Why not a knife to a knife fight?

    At the risk of censorship, why not a gun to a knife fight?

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    And just to clarify, while Oregon law does have specific provisions for allowing lethal force to be used in the defense of another, that would not make a lot of sense in these situations and would likely not be defensible in court. Again, go read packing.org — lots of good information and reference to relevant laws and case histories.

    Neighborhood watch would be a much better idea — although you’d think 3pm on a busy street would have had enough of the neighborhood watching…

    Self-defense is your right.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 19, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    West Cougar,

    No one is piling on. I respect your opinion.

    I simply do not wish to discuss gun rights on this thread.

    R.Dobb’s last comment #23 is a good example of how he can state his opinion, without crossing the line into advocating guns.

    The constitutional right to bear arms rocks but I go with my gut around here and I don’t feel good with leaving that sort of comment on the site.

    Again, this site is not an open, public forum where anything goes.

    I reserve the right to make censorship decisions based on my gut.

    If you think I’m wrong, I’m open to being swayed.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    Finally, a classic quote, which seems very apropos:

    A liberal is a conservative that hasn’t been mugged.

    And for the record, I am a “Gun Toting Liberal”. 🙂

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  • Andrew January 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    **comment deleted by site moderator**

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  • Ethan January 19, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Well, for the record, my tongue and cheek remark was really a reference to a post that was added to the original piece about the incident.

    That said, mention of armed cyclists, in the context of this discussion (wherever your opinion falls) is harldy off-topic. In fairness Jonathan has been very clear (most recently on KBOO) that BikePortland is not, at the end of the day, a wide open forum for ideas. He reserves the right to determine what is and is not acceptable. As for your “litmus test” Jonathan, I would not be reluctant to bring up any of these points in your living room.

    The reality of violence, gun or otherwise, has never been as simple as the left or the right would have people believe. It is a very complicated theme that runs throughout history. Wishing it away, ascribing it to hormonal imbalances, etc are all pretty typical sloganeering, and lack any kind of meaniful insight. I’m not sure what was written after my comment, but coming from a guy who defends the legitimacy of traffic laws designed for cars, this looks pretty weak. You can’t have it both ways.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    **comment deleted by moderator**

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  • Josh M January 19, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Jonathan said:

    “In my opinion, guns (and what they represent) are the problem, not the solution.”

    Whoa, how are guns and what they represent the problem in this case? I’ve not heard of anyone getting jumped because of guns. **sentence deleted by moderator** So I don’t see how guns are the problem here.
    The problem here is “minorities” targeting “white” cyclists.
    **sentence deleted by moderator**

    You can’t attack someone’s idea and then say you don’t want to see anymore discussion on the topic.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    **sentence deleted by moderator** I bet you would just curl up into a ball and get stomped while saying “I’m sorry! I’m sorry” or “I love and respect you!” the whole time.

    **sentence deleted by moderator** These kids are targeting cyclists because they are “easy”, not because they want to fight to the death for something the cyclists have. They are the cowards here.


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  • brad January 19, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    what should be done to protect one’s self then…nothing? curling up in a ball?

    anyone who advocates not fighting back when you are attacked has clearly never been assaulted before, or they wouldn’t make such an ignorant argument.

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  • Jeremy January 19, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Why do I feel like the comments for this story are heading downhill fast? I understand folks are upset at the happenings, but the tone seems to be getting more and more uncivil. I can be as ornrey as the next guy (and have), but the arguments for and against guns are polarizing. Gun rights/restrictions is one of the major issues that are used to divide people (with abortion, religion, etc.)

    I’m hoping to see more information from other parties on this attack, but everyone should have the right to ride free from fear of assault by anyone. Everyone should be able to defend themselves, but you may run into someone bigger/stronger/faster/better armed. What then?

    I appreciate Jonathan putting up this blog, turning it into a real information source and his growing into a significant journalist for the bicycle community. What makes it great is it is not just a place for information and news, it is a place he has opened up to us and made into a community. It’s probably up to us not to screw it up.

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  • Eric H January 19, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Between getting beat up, or ticketed by the police, or run over by a car, why bike anymore?

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    @Eric H

    Because in between the beatings, arrests, and months spend in traction, it is still great exercise and a lot of fun! 😉

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  • West Cougar January 19, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    I reserve the right to make censorship decisions based on my gut.

    If you think I’m wrong, I’m open to being swayed.

    With all due respect, I seriously question your gut. We have one person calling another racist. We have another suggesting the CHL amounts to vigilantism. Still another is advocating U-locks as legitimate self-defense. None of this gets censored. Yet, a couple people suggest lawfully exercising one’s 2nd Ammendment Right, a right you yourself say “rocks”, and that deserves censorship!?!

    To be clear, I am not questioning your right to censor. I am questioning your choice of *what* to censor.

    I’ll say a place where espousal for the lawful exercise of Constitutional Rights (hey, notice no scare quotes) is deemed beyond the pale, but flagrant and incendery ad homenium is OK, is not a place I’m inclined to bother with.

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  • SKIDmark January 19, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    The reason there is hostility between blacks and whites is because the myht that all white people are rich continues to perpetuate in the black community. It will take more black leaders (besides just Jesse Jackson) within the black community saying that the root of oppression is not white people, it is rich people before the problem starts to subside. All poor people regardless of color need to stand together and fight back against this country’s march towards being a third world. You can’t really do that here in Portland, it is the most socially segregated city I have ever lived in.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 19, 2007 at 8:49 pm


    This thread has proven extremely difficult for me to moderate.

    Please understand that this site is run entirely by me and I do not have the capacity to always stay on top of the moderation and always make the right decisions.

    Racism and the right to bear arms are topics that are much too complex to effectively discuss electronically… that’s why so many blogs and forums devolve like this.

    I do not wish to squash anyone’s opinion… but I have a very low tolerance when people make personal insults to fellow commenters and especially when violence is alluded to in any shape, way, or form (no matter how subtle).

    I realize talking about guns does not equate to violence… but in my opinion it is too close of a line.

    I received a phone call from one commenter and got some constructive criticism about how I’ve handled this situation.

    I have gone back and tried to moderate things as fairly as possible (even deleted my own “guns are the problem” reference).

    I respect the right to bear arms… but I will not allow any topic or commenter to de-value this space that I’ve worked so hard to create.

    Remember, I am one person. I am not perfect but I do my best to keep things constructive and welcoming. After 13,000 comments this is the first time I have had to deal with this issue… so I think I’m on the right track.

    Let’s please be careful how we write about these issues… remember that context and tone is extremely misleading online.

    I disabled comments on this thread for a few minutes, and then thought better of it… please prove to me that I’ve made the right decision.

    Thank you for all your contributions.

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  • Caleb January 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Bleh. Seems like a whole bunch of (eloquant and passionately put, but very very tired) arguments, which have zero do do with bicycling in portland. Your chances of getting mugged on bike in the mean streets of p-town are in the get-struck-by-lightening category. The interesting thing here is not all the fear everyone seems to have, but the failure of our system to deal with _this one event_ (and maybe one or two similar events).

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  • SWR January 19, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    It’s just shocking that these women have to bear the medical costs resulting from this attack. Here in New York City, the City bears the cost of medical treatment for crime victims. In fact, victims are encouraged to get medical assistance so that DNA evidence can be harvested. Unfortunately Portland Police don’t sound like they’re actively persuing the culprits.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 9:01 pm


    A couple of points:

    – This is a thread about a violent act and many other eerily similar violent acts. Thus, violence and ways to mitigate it are very topical to the discussion, like it or not.
    – The difference between the right to bear arms (in self-defense) and racism, is that one is legal and constitutionally sanctioned and the other is not.

    Anyhow, thanks for removing the ad hominems.

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  • R. Dobbs January 19, 2007 at 9:04 pm


    The interesting thing here is not all the fear everyone seems to have, but the failure of our system to deal with _this one event_ (and maybe one or two similar events).

    Did you RTFC? There have been many, many events like this in NoPo. This is a common trend, dude. Not a one-off, hence the outrage.

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  • Caleb January 19, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Mr. Dobbs, I did RTFC, although, I’ll admit to having skimmed the exceptionally off-topic ones. I don’t interpret the information as an epidemic worthy of outrage. It looks much more like a systemic failure which should be carefully investigated.

    And, I still think that getting mugged (bike or no bike) in p-town is /highly improbable/. I’ve lived in portland my whole life, in all different parts, and I’ve never feared for my safety.

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  • lianagan January 19, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Self defense is as good a reason as any (along with the rest of the debris and obstacles that show up in bike lanes) to leave a bike lane and take the lane to avoid confrontation. Maybe it should be written into that law. Never hesitate to leave a bike lane if necessary.

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  • sheldon January 19, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    Wow Jonathan,

    Threads like this are a sign of the growing success of your site. Guys Jonathan is providing a community service. He posts the stories, tracks down the details, manages the servers, etc. Your messages are entertaining, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what Jonathan does.

    If you have a problem with how he choses to moderate, email him personally, instead of starting a public flame war. If you still don’t like it go somewhere else or invest some time to start up your own cycling site.

    I’m disturbed by so many threads here. Can anyone really say what % cyclists in NoPo have been attacked while riding? You here about the high profile events and there have been several, but is it a grave situation that warrants people packing guns while riding?

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  • conquistador January 19, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I have to say I support Jonathan’s censorship. I would have censored some of R. Dobbs’ remarks as well, but not because of the pro-gun stance. The remarks were nakedly racist (equating the race of the perpetrators with being poor and in a gang) and a borderline eliminationist.

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  • Ian S. January 19, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    My kudos and apologies to Jonathan et al. This thread clearly touches on sensitive, polarizing, and volatile issues. I, for one, did not take the time to edit my comments before posting them and instead reacted poorly and hastily to the comments of others. You should be commended, Jonathan, for asserting control over this thread before it further de-volves and welcoming us all to remain reasonable and responsible with our words.

    Since some of those comments to which I reacted have since be removed, I am at a loss to explain with complete accuracy what it was that angered me. However, I would like to address some of the previous and subsequent comments. Hopefully, without further spiralling the conversation.

    Regarding West Cougar’s comment,
    “We have another (person) suggesting the CHL amounts to vigilantism.”

    It was not my intention to suggest that at all. My decision to use the word “vigilantism” was brought on by this comment from R. Dobbs,
    “Kinda sad that we need armed patrols, to protect cowed cyclists in NoPo, but it is clear we have a problem and the police are yet again unwilling or unable to do their jobs.”

    This comment was directed at Adam as an invitation to meet the “need” for said “armed patrols”. It is my opinion that arming oneself for personal protection is perfectly legal and acceptable, but that arming oneself and “patroling” implies an intent to seek out violence rather than defend against it. Furthermore, the notion of such “patrols” being necessary because of a perceived lack of police involvement serious toes-the-line with taking justice into one’s own hands.

    As a frequent visitor to North and Northeast Portland, I can honestly say that I would feel much safer without armed patrols by citizens, be they cyclists or not.

    Getting back to the point of this article, I think that it is important that we be made aware of incidents such as these. Not only does this allow us to each act accordingly in our efforts to be safe, but it brings to light the need for proactive improvement in our community. You are right, Jonathan. We can do better than this. We can continue to put pressure on our police and our elected officials to do what is necessary to effectively discourage these types of incidents. We can pressure them to allocate resources to programs that meet the goals of creating liveable and safe communities. We can take them task publicly, in forums such as this, when they do not do their jobs properly. We can also encourage our fellow community members to stand up to this type of violent behavior and protest. If just a fraction of the witnesses to this incident (or god-forbid the trimet driver) had bothered to say something, yell something, or get involved in some way, it seems likely the outcome could have been altered for the better.

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  • bjorn January 19, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I just wrote commissioner adams asking him to look into this further. I’m concerned for all the reasons that have been previously listed. Unfortunately the police seem very uninterested in investigating attacks on cyclists. I was involved in a collision that was intentionally caused by a motorist who thought I should be riding on the sidewalk last summer around 64th and Fremont. I called the police when after causing the collision he got out of his car and started chasing me around the vehicle yelling at me for riding on the street. I waited an hour after calling 911 and no officer ever showed up, my attempts to report the incident afterward were met with the runaround. They basically told me that they didn’t care because I hadn’t been injured, I eventually gave up.


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  • brad January 20, 2007 at 12:53 am

    that’s a good point bjorn…if the police would take action on situations involving cyclists, maybe people would think twice before instigating them. i read somewhere(i forget where) advice that if you are involved in an accident/incident while on your bike, that you not mention that you are on a bicycle when you call the police, and imply that you are a driver. that is sad, but good, advice. and that is sad.

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  • Mr. Know it All January 20, 2007 at 2:30 am

    This whole situation is a shameful commentary on the state of our city, state, nation and world.

    I ride MAX occasionally and many times when I do there is a total asshole riding the train making other people uncomfortable. They may be cursing offensively and loudly, perhaps making racist remarks or threatening people or talking about some unpleasant crap that noone should hear. Why do they do this? Because the person is an inconsiderate asshole. Everyone will sit quietly and DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT (me included), so why should they quit doing it? What should I do? If I say: “Your language is offensive. Can you please tone it down?” there is no way to predict what type of reaction you’ll get from them.

    This same type of behavior is demonstrated by many people in their cars – being inconsiderate to other drivers or cycists – hell, some people have loud “runt-mobile” exhausts so their CARS offend other people with the loud noise. Ever see a cop giving one of those runt-assholes a ticket for illegal exhaust? Someone get some stats on that.

    Inconsiderate behavior is an epidemic in our society.

    The appropriate response to the MAX assholes would be to beat the shit out of them and then throw them off the train. Think they’d come back for more? I have my doubts. But if you did that guess who would be in trouble – that’s right- you, the good samaritan that just taught a scumbag a valuable lesson that his parents didn’t bother to teach him. You’d likely go to jail!

    It seems like you can’t win. Our society is too far gone.

    I recommend that you be prepared to defend yourself in whatever way you feel is best for you because in a nation of rampant inconsiderate asshole scumbags it is just a matter of time before you will have a need to do it.

    It’s sad. Maybe the cops should get off their asses and stop harassing bicyclists and start riding MAX and busting assholes. Think a cop on every train would help? I’ll bet it would. Think it’ll happen? Nah, it’s safer to give girls on bikes tickets.

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  • Dabby January 20, 2007 at 2:36 am

    This is not a new problem in the neighborhood.
    I personally recall rolling by Overlook park in around 87, hearing some one scream at me, then a volley of shots my way, through which I zigged and zagged. ( I guess that is what you should do.)
    I rode to a pay phone ( no cell back then) called the man, then rolled back to watch them get busted….

    As horrible as this is, the real answer is not more violence, or packing heat.
    The real answer is just realizing that this is going to happen, paying attention, and rolling on the other side of the street when you see groups of teens or such hanging at bus stops.
    I have seen this as a problem for years, and just put alot of space between me and them.
    In the area of this attack, there are two full lanes plus a bike lane.
    I am sad to see this happen, but strangely, I am not suprised to see it happen.
    At any time, in any part of Portland, Beaverton (oh, I shudder mentioning Beaverton), or Tigard, this can happen.
    No longer are there dangerous, and in the same way, safe parts of Portland.
    Be prepared.
    Ride Bikes, Throw Bricks!
    Dabby McCrashalot

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  • Wyatt January 20, 2007 at 8:48 am

    There is an AMAZING amount of censorship going on. I would like to know what is being deleted.

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  • Wyatt January 20, 2007 at 8:50 am

    nevermind. i should learn to be patient and read entire threads.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 20, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I think sheldon, #47, has it right:

    (1) threads like this are a sign of the growing success of bikeportland.

    (2) Jonathan is providing a community service here.

    (3) Despite a lot of constructive discussion, there are some really uncivilized, hateful, personal attacks posted regularly on here (many by the same people), as well as on virtually every other place where people gather on the Internet. Although the government may not be able to quash this sort of thing, Jonathan is not the government, so your First Amendment rights do not apply here. If you want to have an IDEA heard, I have no doubt Jonathan will let you speak. If you want to spew hate, then you’ll have to go elsewhere. Thanks for holding the line, Jonathan.

    (4) Really, the issue is whether this sort of violence means we need to arm ourselves in order to protect ourselves.

    Since first moving to PDX eight years ago, I have been blown away at how little violence there is. I am also quite surprised at the racial naivete of people who have never really lived in a multicultural society. Yes, black people can be prejudiced, too. And it’s equally as bad for us all as when practiced by white people. I know many Portlanders will find this shocking.

    I have been the victim of racist attacks while living in the South. I have also been the victim of plain ol’ “give-me-your-money-or-your-life” attacks. At no time have I gotten a timely response from police to these incidents. My experience is that this is typical.

    Sadly, the law allows the proportional use of force in self-defense. You’re legally permitted to use only that force necessary to repel an attack. Why? Because the law acknowledges that enforcement cannot be everywhere at once. Yes, you are occasionally — and too often for my taste — the only thing standing between your own injury or death at the hands of someone else.

    In my opinion, allowing people to carry guns due to a historical artifact of law (allowing colonists to defend themselves from the Crown) only makes matters worse. But that’s the way it is, so you sometimes are given a very simple choice: live or die.

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  • Richard S January 20, 2007 at 10:27 am

    As we discuss this particular issue (personal safety), it occurs to me that we really have no idea how prevalent the problems are. I personally ride through this area regularly on my evening commute, and haven’t had a problem. Others obviously have. Does this happen often, or just occasionally? Is it a recent phenomenon, or consistent over time. (I bike commuted rarely in the past three months of 2006 because of illness).

    So, without this data, it will be harder to get specific action. Perhaps a poll would be useful. Jonathan, if you’re interested in setting one up, email me offline.

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  • brad January 20, 2007 at 10:44 am

    “Sadly, the law allows the proportional use of force in self-defense”. (from #56)

    Haven’t been assaulted lately, have you? You think it’s SAD that people are allowed to defend themselves? **sentence deleted: please do not make personal insults**

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  • janis January 20, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I see that there is a lot of emotion being written on this thread. Seems to me that if people are really serious about solving this issue perhaps someone should call a meeting instead of everyone just writing comments. Then people can work towards a solution, and hopefully work with all the involved communities.

    That way people can express their opinions and Jonathon won’t have to be in charge of the conversation.

    So…who’s stepping up?

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  • Elly January 20, 2007 at 11:10 am

    I’d like to second Janis’ suggestion about taking concrete action, and to add that there are already numerous groups in Portland working to, variously, reach out to disaffected youths and keep them off the streets, make neighborhoods safer, improve pedestrian safety, ease racial tensions, and educate people about self-defense techniques.

    Interested cyclists (and groups of cyclists) would be well-advised to reach out to whichever of these sorts of groups most appeals to them, and either volunteer with them as individuals, or work with them.

    Maybe this should be a different post. I’m strongly in favor of folks knowing how to defend themselves, the confidence that comes from that often being the best defence, but it’s sad to see issues that adversely affect the entire community being seen as purely self-defense problems.

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  • R. Dobbs January 20, 2007 at 11:13 am


    Ah, you again. OK, one more time, from the top:

    I never equated race with socioeconomic status or gang affiliation. Other people on these threads had speculated that this was related to an increase in gang activity.

    I really don’t think that is a matter of debate that NoPo has had long-standing gang-related violence with victims and perpetrators who are:

    a) Black


    b) Poor

    If you took off your rose-tinted glasses and had a little more than the gentrified history of NoPo at your disposal, you would not have your panties in a wad over these statements.

    You can call me a lot of things, but racist is not one of them.

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  • R. Dobbs January 20, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Just to clarify for the armchair rainbow warriors out there:

    Most gang members in NoPo are black, but most blacks in NoPo are not in gangs.

    OK? I’d draw a nice Venn diagram for you, but I don’t think this should be that hard to grasp.

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  • ian m. January 20, 2007 at 11:24 am

    funny how the cops have time to hand out brake tickets to fixed gear riders like they were tossing out candy at a parade, but not enough time to help a biker when they’re attacked…

    nwa had a song i think is appropriate. i think you know what i mean…”and i say it with authority”.

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  • anotherbiker January 20, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    This is a bit off topic but I think worth saying. In any given day how many thousands of bikers ride through all areas of portland with out any problem.

    One or two or even ten attackes are a drop in the bucket. Still any attacks are too may but it is still thankfully a very small problem.

    I am for sure not going to start “packing”. I’d rather ride, be aware and not be too worried. Maybe I’m asking for it but I refuse to live afraid. It is far too nice of a day, year, place and world to stop riding a bicycle. Ride on, be careful and hope for the best.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 20, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    As someone trained in the methods of social science, I’m sympathetic to the argument that we really don’t know the prevalence of attacks against cyclists here in Portland. Without a more rigorous method for collecting data, the testimonials collected here on bikeportland are merely graphic anecdotal evidence that cause people to overestimate the frequency of these crimes and serve to inflame the passions of those who already feel understandably under attack for daring to use bicycles on the roads.

    With that said, I think the actual prevalence of these crimes is unimportant for the specific point I am trying to make here: One is too many.

    As janie and Elly have said, it’s important to recognize that this is part of a broader social problem. If you want to have a society where things like this don’t happen, then you have to take responsibility for making the change. You have to be part of the solution.

    Lest you think I’m being hypocritical, I’ll tell you personally what I do: I represent people who cannot afford an attorney for free. I have spent ~100 hours doing this since November. I have helped people who have been attacked, as well as people who have been swindeled out of money. And yes, I’m proud of it.

    I also donate money to Portland Impact, a local non-profit that works on poverty relief and mentoring of at-risk youth in Portland. In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that my wife works there.

    But their programs are great because they make a difference for people. If you wanted to help you could mentor a kid. You could even look into getting him or her a bike and go for rides together. Heck, if you wanted to do that, I would think we could even find a way to reduce or eliminate the cost of the bike.

    In my opinion, doing something like that is to carrying a gun as eating well and exercising is to taking diet pills.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 20, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Yes, I do think it’s sad that the law allows the use of force in self-defense. As was obvious to anyone who read my post, I HAVE been assaulted and I see no current alternative to this policy.

    But I wish we lived in a world where that was not necessary. I will continue to wish that and nothing anyone can say will ever change that. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

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  • jami January 20, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    i’m perfectly happy if those little jerks think we have guns. some of us really do. best not mess with burr, r. dobbs, or west cougar, little haters. don’t know who they are? perhaps best not to mess with any of us.

    i’ve written trimet, the police, and katu to see if they can get the bus footage of the attack. i hope i have the details right — it sounds like it was a 4-fessenden bus on n. vancouver near legacy emanuel january 10 at around 3 p.m. i don’t really know how one gets trimet to hand something like that over, but i really want to police to catch those little racist f—ers. it sounds like this exact same bus stop has been the site of at least three similar attacks. why not make this the last one?

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 20, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry tough guy/gal, the police will not make the TriMet video public until they complete their investigation.

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  • Another Dreamer January 20, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the healthy perspective Attornatus_Oregonensis, the opinions expressed on this post have seriously put me in a bummer mood lately. It’s just too easy for everyone to jump to a violent “solution” these days. All of those who do I think are grand examples of the violence to solve all problems, to express all frustration. This whole debacle has really shown the extent of how jaded we all have become.

    I wanted to say I can empathize with the anger and frustration out there on all sides. I have put people in the hospital. I have responded a million times with hate, rage, violence and frustration… the scariest thing is… it is SO easy to do, it is so easy to stump some one out and project all of your anger at them. But, the real challenge is finding non-violent ways of getting your shit done and your points made.

    To all of those who wish to carry guns riding through NoPo, maybe you could set up some community outpost so folks can meet up and get to ride with each other get to know their community and have safety in numbers. Nothing good has ever come from packing. Anyone else out there have some other options for safe (safer) commuting in our city that take a little effort, heart and compassion. Let’s here them!

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  • NEPcyclistic January 20, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    In response to Janis and Elly’s (#59 & 60) posts. I would show up to meeting and express my opinion. Although I don’t know how, or have the resources to start a meeting. Perhaps there is some sort of town hall meeting that can be arranged, maybe at a local church or parish, and inform the media and police of such an event, and film the “town hall” meeting. That way, if the people came in numbers it would make an impact. With the lack of police involvement for accidents and attacks on cyclists, maybe it would be eye opening for those that aren’t aware of what actually happens from day to day. And yes, maybe these aren’t frequent events, but when one happens, those in jeopardy will get a faster, more timely response. See close calls, about the accident on swan island.

    I would help in arranging a meeting in anyway I can. But i don’t have a name in the community, and more than likely be overlooked. But if someone who has some power and pull to arrange something of the sort would be awesome.

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  • jami January 20, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    attornatus, i’m not a tough guy/gal, but i’m glad some people are. i’m more on board with your analogy about staying fit/fixing the underlying problems versus taking diet pills/carrying a handgun.

    but i am not convinced the police are investigating at all in this case. my experience with police has been like that of jeffrey lebowski (el duderino), when the cop laughs his ass off at the very notion of “leads.”

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis January 20, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Is this, ah…what day is this?

    If the police are not investigating, then the individuals who were the victims can obtain the footage through subpoena as part of a civil suit. They can then turn the footage over to the prosecutor, who cannot simply ignore indisputable visual evidence of a crime. I’m sure the victims will take care of this. And if they don’t, then perhaps your efforts are better spent on the preventative side of things rather than at attempting to get the video yourself without any currently clear right. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go after the video, just that there may be more effective ways to achieve your objective in the short-term.

    For example, you could take a ride through the area where the attacks occurred, find a community center or church big enough to hold a meeting, reserve it, and then distribute flyers , post notice to the bike sites, and invite the chief of police, Randy Leonard, etc.

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  • Mr. Know it All January 20, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Did Tri-met wait until after the investigation to release the video of the bicyclist that was beaten by the bus passenger with the approval of the Tri-met driver who then drove away?

    Or was there no investigation?

    It is too bad that we sometimes need to defend ourselves. That IS a sad thing. But it’s a fact of life. I’m glad I can own and carry a concealed handgun if I choose to do it. If I rode through unsafe neighborhoods reqularly I’d be packin. No question. I do want it to remain illegal for CRIMINALS to own guns and I want the punishment to be stiff.

    Carrying a handgun is a pain in the butt because you then have to always be careful you don’t take it someplace illgal, and you have to worry about it being stolen or found, going off because your pencil got stuck in the trigger, etc.

    Those small cans of pepper spray would be easier to carry. You could keep it in a pocket where it would be warm enough to work when needed. Even with spray you have to be careful that it doesn’t “go off” by accidently pushing the button, getting too hot, etc……

    I would definately recommend pepper spray to anyone who rides through less safe areas. Especially females, but really for anyone – males are being attacked also. And I’d always have a cell phone and be wearing shoes I can run in. Spray the attackers and get away.

    If you do carry either one and you use it on someone remember to say things like: “I feared for my life. She reached in her pocket and I thought she was pulling out a gun. He was coming right at me. I thought I saw a gun.”, etc. Just like the cops do when they kill someone with no justification. Hell, it COULD be true. Noone can say you DIDN’T think those things because in fact you may have actually done it!

    I would have to recommend staying away from any people who you think may cause a problem as the first line of defense, but you can’t always do that because they can be anywhere with no warning.

    Neighboorhood patrols might work too. For those who are good fighters it would be good to get two or three of you together and go cruising the bad areas. If there are bad people there and they attack you teach them a lesson. Better yet, send out one or two females as bait and have 6 or 8 bad guys following along a couple blocks behind. If the bait is taken, move in, make the bait safe, subdue the attackers or at least get their ID (wallets, etc), then call the cops to haul away the bad guys. Then write about it on the internet so we can all learn the locations to avoid. The cops should be doing this EVERY night but they’d rather set up stings to harass cyclists who run stop signs/light or that ride bikes they don’t like. Maybe some of you can get them to help.

    Don’t think from any of the above statements that I dislike cops – I don’t. They do a great service when they are doing legitimate police work. Their jobs are no fun and are not safe and they deserve our admiration when they are serving and protecting. I do dislike cops who abuse their power and who waste their time doing things they shouldn’t be doing or when they don’t do their jobs; and from the information on this site there is WAY too much of that going on towards cyclists.

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  • beth January 20, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I have to say I am really disturbed by all the talk of guns. I’m even more dismayed by the underlying tone in some comments, about how self-defense is every individual’s responsibility and if you get stomped it’s somehow your fault for not being “strong” or “tough” enough in an increasingly cruel and unforgving world. Not said directly, but the tone sure feels like it’s there and it deeply saddens me.

    One of the reasons I gave up my car 17 years ago was that for me, it was part of a larger desire to live as peacefully as possible. For me, that meant putting aside the things in my life that put me in an agitated, angrier state of being (this included the car, a job I hated, and girlfrend who was, among other things, rather fond of guns).

    For me, traveling by bicycle is a deliberate attempt to create a little more peace, in myself and the world around me. I can’t see that any connection between bicycles and guns as proposed in this discussion promises to be a good one.

    I am SO dismayed by where this discussion has headed.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 20, 2007 at 9:48 pm


    I’m also a bit bummed at some of the reactions, but that’s just my personal opinion.

    As you saw way up in the comments, I deleted many references to what I felt was dangerous language.

    I am OK with people advocating self-defense… nothing wrong with that. But there is a line as to what I feel is healthy and constructive for the greater good of our community.

    I feel it’s important that we come together to discuss these issues in person…

    On that note, I am working on finding a location and setting a date for a North Portland neighborhood meeting. Please stay tuned for details.

    I hope you will all join us.

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  • P January 20, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    I only got so far with these but did want to comment that the state has a Crime Victim’s Compensation program that should cover her medical bills provided she has filed a police report and cooperates with the investigation. there is no guarantee of pay out but it is worth a try. check the google oregon and crime victim’s compensation….

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  • Mr. Know it All January 20, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    I would sure not fault any cyclist for being “stomped” as someone said. Once in a while even the World Champion gets “stomped”.

    There’s always someone out there that is bigger and badder than you are. Unless you’re packin and they aren’t! God made men: Colt made them equal.

    I am a believer in the right to carry a gun for law abiding citizens. I really don’t think it’s necessary for most cyclists to be doing it but I am all for it if a person is safe about it and if they think they need it. There may be some people that need it (going late at night regularly through a bad area, etc) but for most I doubt it’s needed. I don’t do it but I am glad to know that I can if needed. This is especially important to me since Bush stole an election (twice), has taken so many rights away from us, detained people without recourse, and since we’ve seen the rampant abuse of power by the local sherriffs/police. I think our guns may someday keep an evil government in check. The last 6 years has made that possibility seem very real.

    It’s not something to get upset about, it’s just a good idea to be aware of what’s going on and understand that there is a reason for the right to self-defense, etc….

    First line of self defense: stay out of danger areas.

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  • Another Dreamer January 21, 2007 at 9:45 am


    Your comments were fabulous, they made me smile.


    Thanks for taking the initiative, your site here is a powerful community building tool.

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  • Rick January 21, 2007 at 11:50 am

    i am very interested in the north portland meeting. however, i suspect that few if any blacks will show up. blacks are not the ones riding bikes in any noticeable numbers here. i suspect it’s simply not one of their cultural values – all the pro-bike propaganda for which portland is famous comes from and is heard by only one small segment of the white population here.
    perhaps some class analysis would help, since bike riding seems still to be largely a pastime of whites in a certain political or socioeconomic stratum. poorer people with kids can’t manage with a bike – they need a car to get around with the family and do the day to day shopping and tasks the household requires. other cultural values are at play too – i know as a latino, bike riding is largely perceived as what you are forced to do when you are too poor to own a car.
    we won’t solve these issues until we start including other cultural values in the discussion. otherwise, we’ll only see more fractiousness and fighting.

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  • just curious January 21, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    When I was younger my friend was charged with assault for pushing a minor to the ground who was attempting to steal my friends bike, who was barely 18 at the time.
    Hypothetically, what if you injure a minor while defending yourself from an attack? Does self-defense trump assault of a minor?
    It would be quite frustrating to become the criminal after being attacked by one (or more).

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  • Smitty January 22, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Obay the traffic laws, and we will get along… if not then suffer the same fate as any idiot.

    Smitty with a drivers license, and insurance.

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  • Smitty January 22, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Sorry… “Obey” the laws.

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  • K January 22, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Regardless of your stance on carrying a weapon, I don’t see how any intelligent person could think a gun would have improved the situation with the cyclists. Aside from the emotional impact of being victimized, The women made it out of the altercation with some damage to their bikes, a dislocated shoulder, and I’d imagine quite a few scrapes and bruises. If a gun were involved, they’d also get some prison time as I doubt shooting a couple of marginally armed (if that) teens qualifies as legitimate self-defense.
    Moreover, Portland isn’t a dangerous town. Hell, sometimes I feel depressed, and think I should move somewhere else because living here is dulling any survival skills that I may have. Granted, if we all start carrying weapons to whip out whenever we feel under attack- that may change.

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  • felix January 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm


    i think your wrong. i did not post the whole thing because its huge but…

    163.165 Assault in the third degree.
    (e) While being aided by another person actually present, intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another
    2) Assault in the third degree is a Class C felony. When a person is convicted of violating subsection (1)(i) of this section, in addition to any other sentence it may impose, the court shall impose a term of incarceration in a state correction facility.

    now, lets look at ORS 161.219

    161.219 Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:

    (1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or

    (2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or

    (3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23] Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:

    (1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or

    (2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or

    (3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23]

    With a CHL, a good lawyer and a little luck they would have a mound of legal bills but I doubt they would go to jail.

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  • Josh M January 22, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    I mentioned above, but it was cut out of my comment, there was an occurance last year in which a couple was jumped by some kids while riding. The guy had a CHL and was carrying and pulled it out on the kid who had attacked them. This scared the kids off, thus stopping anything worse that could have happened. So yes, sometimes it does have an effect. You don’t have to pull the trigger for it to give you an upper hand in the situation. I also mentioned this in an above comment using one of my own experiences, but that was also cut out of my comment.

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  • Ashley Gorman January 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    I will say that this experience has made me more aware of my surroundings, but carrying a weapon is not something that has ever been in my character. What happened, happened and I think that as a whole everyone has come up with some extremely productive ideas to make this behavior change. As far as updates go I have met with a detective from the portland police department and made a small step forward. As far as any other moves forward from the Police department I recieved a lovely apology message from officer birkinbine, ooops I guess it was his friday, poor guy just couldn’t remember that he forgot to file a report after speaking to a bloody girl on the corner I guess everyone needs a weekend. This did appear in the Mercury this week with an enjoyable cartoon of myself and I believe will run tommorrow in the WWeek. I will update everyone on details as they become available if that is what you want. Thanks for all of your support and help along this road!!!

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  • Josh M January 25, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Last night my friend was followed by a car and then jumped by the people driving the car.
    Though he did get kicked a few times, he was able to fend them off w/ his collapsible baton he carries. Though, his IPOD fell out of his coat and they were able to grab that when they ran back to their car.
    I guess they turned around and then tried to run him down as well.
    This happened 50ft from his front door.

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  • DK January 25, 2007 at 9:44 am

    I travel N on Williams, from the Rose Garden to Ainsworth daily. It’s actually my favorite part of my daily,18 mile r/t ride. I’ve seen times (around 4-5pm) when youths, of all nationalities, gather at specific corners and bus stops. I’m aware of them for at least two to three blocks. If possible, I time it so I can leave the bike lane, to further myself from them. Or just ready myself for just about anything. Aka, defensive riding.

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  • Tom February 8, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    all the above posts are more then enough to convince me to stay the f$ck out of ne portland while on a bike. im not going to chance getting jumped by some dipsh## gangster. have fun you hipster nomads….

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  • Kate Crow February 9, 2007 at 8:21 am

    So what’s the latest on meeting up and/or developing an action plan on this issue?

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  • Jonathan Maus February 10, 2007 at 8:24 am


    I still plan on a community meeting, but my thought was to get further along on the neighborhood bike patrol plans before doing so.

    This Mon. or Tues. I will post with more details about the program and try to gauge potential volunteer interest.

    A community meeting will happen soon after.

    I will also post about the community meeting and ask what people what they’d like to talk about.

    thanks for your interest.

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  • john krack February 20, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Umm… why all the focus on N-NE?—the only times I have been menaced or threatened on my bike (no serious attacks yet) have been in SE (kids/tweakers/redneck monster truckers) or downtown (roid raging yuppie motorists)

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  • West Cougar March 21, 2007 at 1:39 pm
  • Tom Hastings July 16, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Gosh, what a sad discussion. I think of bikers as generally nonviolent and informed about nonviolent methods of conflict management, deescalation and working meaningfully in the community. My assumptions are clearly off-base, or perhaps this thread is just dominated by those who resort to guns when they have a problem. Nothing more American than that, pathetically. I wish all of you good luck and I hope the strapped bikers don\’t ruin it for everyone. I would be very interested in a community meeting and might suggest approaching the Urban League, the Albina Ministerial Alliance and other good community groups to see how relationships can improve. BTW, I\’m not a liberal, I\’ve been mugged, I\’ve got a crooked nose courtesy of the police, I\’m a double felon who\’s served time in three prisons and I have two assaulting an officer convictions on my record (from a bit of a rebellious youth). I had hoped the education system would have helped improve the generation younger than I, but you are struggling with the same silliness I did, apparently. I think nonviolence is the only hope if we wish to avoid a never-ending spiral and cycle of violence. Guns are not a good answer to any question except \”What might be a good thing to recycle into something constructive and never manufacture again?\”

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  • kiltman June 30, 2016 at 7:43 am

    And the police still need comment on this situation – absolutely shameful.

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