Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Bike shop’s new ramp helps thwart assault

Posted by on May 17th, 2011 at 10:04 am

Ramp outside River City Bicycles.
(Photo: Dave Guettler)

About a week ago, River City Bicycles built a concrete quarter-pipe in their parking lot outside their store on SE Martin Luther King Blvd just north of the Morrison Bridge. Shop owner Dave Guettler installed the ramp so employees and customers could practice tricks and have a bit of fun.

Guettler had no idea that it might help save a woman’s life.

According to Guettler, the ramp has become an instant hit with local skateboarders. “They were out there last night for several hours trying to nail a trick.” Then, around 6:00 pm (during shop hours), the skateboarders heard a woman screaming inside a car that was parked in the shop’s parking lot.

“I figure we’re up one now… We attribute the quarter pipe to saving that lady’s life.”
— Dave Guettler, River City Bicycles owner

“There was a couple fighting out in the parking lot,” recalls store manager Jesse Fairbanks, who was working and witnessed the incident. “The man pulled out something sharp and was trying to stab her.”

As the fight escalated, Guettler says the woman jumped out of the car screaming for help. When the skateboarders intervened, the man threatened them as well. At that point, Guettler reports, “One of the skaters clocked him over the head with his board.”

The skaters then held the assailant down until cops arrived. He was taken away in handcuffs.

Guettler tells he was a bit conflicted before installing the ramp. “How many people are going to get hurt on this thing?” he remembers thinking. But now he says, “I figure we’re up one now… We attribute the quarter pipe to saving that lady’s life.”

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  • Gabriel Amadeus May 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

    So rad! This story should be used as an excuse to build a skatepark in every parking lot!

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  • Bjorn May 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Anyplace with groups of people recreating safer than abandoned places. I think one of my scariest walks in a city was the ~15 blocks in Raleigh NC from the bus station to the Amtrak station, I didn’t see a single other person the whole time and it was only around 8pm. Streets with people are safe streets.

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    • Rick May 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

      I hope the skateboarder who clocked this guy isn’t charged with assault. Does sound like self-defense though.

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    • Rebecca May 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

      “Anyplace with groups of people recreating are safer than abandoned places.” –

      So true. The PDX Flatlanders took to practicing their BMX tricks in a church parking lot in our neighborhood that sits empty during the week and used to be notorious for drug dealing. They keep the space occupied and active, and the ladies on our neighborhood association just love them for it. “Oh, those nice boys…”

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  • Justa May 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Last time I hung out in a skatepark overnight, we ended up having to deal with/call the cops on some stinking drunk asshole in an SUV who was trying to start fights and breaking glass everywhere before driving away.

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  • Skid May 17, 2011 at 10:28 am

    More of a bank than a 1/4 pipe, but bank to fence is fun!

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  • single track May 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

    nice work! people are safer than no people. now don’t you dare put bumps/ bolt on deterrents on it.

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  • Oliver May 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

    That’s great. I come from a place (Coos Bay) where skateboarders are viewed as a source of crime, not a deterrent.

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  • eljefe May 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

    “We attribute the quarter pipe to saving that lady’s life.”

    That makes some pretty gross assumptions about what would have happened, which is of course unknowable.
    Thanks for toning down the hyperbole in the headline. I wish the Oregonian rose to that level of journalistic professionalism.

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    • q`Tzal May 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      In general any feature that attracks witnesses to. A potential crime reduces the likelyhood that the crime will be initiated.

      The dichotomy is funny::
      0 people: 0 crime
      Very few people: almost no crime
      Few people: most crime
      A lot of people: little crime
      Too durn many people (in taiwanese subway after the pusher is done) : 0 crime (no room to move/breath)

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  • Severin May 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    God damn people are crazy! He was going to stab the woman?! That’s gross and sick! Glad the skaters were close by doing tricks so they could hear the woman in danger. The scariest places are definitely the ones where you don’t see a soul in sight.

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  • April May 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Applause all around for those skateboarders! I hope the woman’s okay.

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  • J- May 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Another benefit is that places where skaters and BMXers play are often cleaned up a bit on the regular – broken glass and debris ruin tricks.

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  • A.K. May 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Wait, I clicked on this link under the impression that the ramps themselves stopped the assault! Boy was I disappointed, it was really those lawless skaters.

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  • Lance P May 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I want to shake the skateboarders’ hands. This is why I love Portland. People standing up for one another instead of looking away!

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  • charley May 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Skate Power!

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  • Tamara Rubin May 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Dave – you’re amazing! We love everything you do over at River City!

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  • Babygorilla May 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Wow, during shop hours. Wonder if the suspect / victim were shop customers or just randomly stopped in the parking lot.

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  • K'Tesh May 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Nice Job! Hopefully the people who got involved get the proper recognition for their acts.

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  • Kevin Wagoner May 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Skateboarders rock.

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  • Dabby May 18, 2011 at 12:01 am

    This same concept helped bike polo in it’s early days, when Alberta Park still had drive by’s and gangster’s.

    FOA/parks told us that our regular presence in the park helped keep the good vibe in and the bad vibe out….

    And 11 years later we are still there, up to four days a week now…

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  • Shawn May 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Shreds to a creeps broken head

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