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Ride will remember 1997 crash that killed Matt Schekel

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Schekel memorial sculpture
at SE 37th and Taylor.
(Photo: City Repair)

Matt Schekel was 27 years old when he was struck and killed while riding his bike by someone operating a produce truck who ran a stop sign at SE 37th and Taylor. The year was 1997. This Thursday, August 19th, Schekel would have turned 40 and a Portland woman has planned a ride to remember him.

Kasandra Griffin says she didn’t know Matt, “but the crash made a big impact on me.”

In a search of The Oregonian archives I only find an obituary listing for Matt, which describes him as having been a bicycle messenger downtown. He also worked in the a/v department of Wieden + Kennedy and was a student at Portland Film Institute.

A memorial sculpture for Matt remains at the intersection where he was hit (the sculpture was created by City Repair in 2002).

Here’s more from Griffin’s ride announcement:

“Please join us that evening [8/19] for a gathering at the intersection, followed by a short memorial ride…. honoring Matt and all the other cyclists who have been killed while riding. It could have been any of us.

Wear white, if you can, and we’ll be a ghost-bike-mass. Bring blinky lights. And bring a sweet memory of sometime this summer… or of the past thirteen years… that you wish Matt had been able to share.”

I was still in college in Santa Barbara when this happened. But given the memorial and Ms. Griffin’s feelings, I can only imagine what a major impact this had on Portlanders at the time.