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Ricky Andrews died from gunshot while bicycling on Williams Ave in 2007

Posted by on November 18th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Ricky Andrews

Ricky Janell Andrews was shot while riding his bike on N. Williams Avenue near Beech Street on November 18th, 2007; exactly four years ago today. According to news reports at the time, he died at the hospital later that night. Mr. Andrews was 48 years old.

There were six other fatalities involving people on bikes that year and all of them were covered here on BikePortland; but somehow I never even heard of Andrews’ death until last week.

Was that because he was black?

I heard about this incident for the first time at the “Race Talks” event last Tuesday while listening to a presentation by local historian Tom Robinson. Robinson shared with the crowd that he was aware of just a couple other bicycle fatalities in that general area — and that they each had a ghost bike. Then he came to the incident on Williams Ave…

Here’s an excerpt from Robinson’s talk:

“Fire crews who responded found a man and his cycle on Williams Avenue, and the cause of death was a gunshot wound. He was black. He has no ghost bike.”

Robinson was trying to make the point that Andrews was not remembered by the community in the same way as other bike-related fatalities solely because he was black. He then tied that idea to the City’s ongoing transportation project in the area:

“So, you can see how people who live in the Williams Avenue District can have a spectrum of opinion on matters of public safety. You can perhaps understand why another bicycle lane isn’t exactly what they were hoping for in the way of public safety programs.”

I follow the bike beat closely and I couldn’t recall ever hearing about Andrews. Beyond the color of his skin, it’s interesting to me that the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation didn’t officially record this as a bike fatality. According to PBOT stats, there were six bicycle-related fatalities in 2007: Nick Bucher, Jerry Hinatsu, Daniel Hunt, Curtis Lee Web, Tracey Sparling, and Brett Jarolimek.

How PBOT decides whether or not a fatal traffic incident should be labeled bike-related or not is something I’m looking into (and will post a follow-up if necessary).

Back to Robinson’s point about race; I’m not sure whether or not it plays a role in how the community responded (or didn’t). I can guarantee that had I heard about this at the time, I would have definitely mentioned it. That being said, I think it’s worth noting that it’s common that not all bike fatalities get a ghost bike. Ghost bikes are a very grassroots phenomenon. They happen somewhat randomly by individuals who feel compelled to install them.

The community’s response to traffic tragedies is also random and unequal. It depends greatly on the factors and context surrounding the incident such as who the person is, what they were doing when the incident occurred, and so on.

But beyond all that, now that I’ve learned about Ricky Andrews, I felt that he needed to be remembered on 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

84 Comments
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    dmc November 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    It makes a person wonder what is considered a bike related fatality. Would the same result have happened if he were at the exact same place, at the exact same time in using a different mode of transportation: Car, Bus, Walking, Roller Blading? Was the bicycle a factor?

    If a bolt of lightening comes out of the sky while you are riding your bike and strikes you dead, is that considered a bicycle related fatality?

    I’m ignorant, someone enlighten me.

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      middle of the road guy November 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      I agree. If he were shot in a parked car, is that an auto-related fatality?

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      scdurs November 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      In my mind, the only way this could be a bicycle related death is if he were shot because he was on a bicycle – as if someone were targeting cyclists. I don’t know of any other cyclists being shot at in recent years, but I’m not in the know.

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    Esther November 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Great article Jonathan. I really appreciate your thoughtful look into this and your memorial for Mr. Andrews. If I recall correctly, you had similar questions about whether Kipp Crawford’s death on N. Willamette should be considered a bicycle-related fatality since he was already off the bicycle due to a previous crime, at the time of his death. Certainly the question of when and how tragedies should motivate response by activist communities focussed on a single “issue” is an important and nuanced one. You did still cover Mr. Crawford’s death so it’s fitting that you cover Mr. Andrews as well.

    I think that unfortunately, must gun-related violence in N and NE Portland is filed away in the huge “gang related violence” category by the media and ignored, even as outreach and prevention funding is being cut. But especially when the victims are Black people (yet the media seems happy to make note of it when the perpetrator of a crime is Black). It is an issue bigger than bikeportland-IIRC Daniel Callaway’s death the same day, which was equally random and tragic, was covered MUCH more by the Oregonian over following weeks than Mr. Andrew’s or his sister’s deaths.

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    Carl November 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t believe that Curtis Lee Webb or Daniel Hunt were memorialized with ghost bikes, either. Like Ricky Andrews, neither was killed in a motor vehicle-related crash (Webb hit a pole and Hunt hit another person on a bike). Generally, ghost bikes only mark where people on bikes were killed in motor vehicle-related crashes. I’m merely stating facts here, not saying that this pattern is right or wrong.

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      Esther November 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Great clarification, Carl. Though like I pointed out, Kipp Crawford’s death (also in North Portland) didn’t fit neatly into both categories of vehicle-related and bicycle-related–a separate assault crime was also a contributing factor in addition to the question of whether he had actually even been on his bike in the time leading up to his death. And Jonathan wrote 3 or 4 articles about it. And a ghost bike was placed there.

      I guess what I’m saying is, that I and several other people I know felt that Mr. Robinson’s correlation was a weak one to make, BUT, the larger issue that the media gives disproportionate amount of attention to crimes committed against Black people, stands. And it’s not bikeportland.org’s place to cover gun-related or gang-related violence in Portland, but knowledge and respect of those issues, and how they interact with issues important to bikeportland readers (especially with the process around North Williams), will help increase dialogue and respect. Just my two cents, YMMV, etc.

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    Marcus Griffith November 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I would encourage the 2007 article to be updated to reflect that seven, not six, people died in Portland in a manner related to bicycle use. As you noted in 2007, two of those other six did not involve a motor vehicle (one involved a telephone pole).

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    sorebore November 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Jonathan, It is very respectful of you to address this, and I commend you for doing so. In light of all the heated ramblings around Race Talks and N. Williams of late,I think it shows that you are always trying to put your best up front. And I am in full agreement with Ester, that the media is skewed along these lines to suit perception. That may never change. I think you have taken a lot of heat in some ways lately that is unfair, and this is one example of how your critics will see that you are not operating in that light.

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    jim November 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I think it wasn’t bike related because it was more gun related, it can’t be all things.
    As far as the ghost bikes go- I think they look terribly tacky. I wouldn’t want such an ugly thing placed where I was killed. Better to have a premium chunk of granite installed at the cemetery which is where people generally go to remember someone

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      Greg November 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Have you considered that the point of ghost bikes is to be seen, not hidden in a cemetary?

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      Jerko November 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Spot on Jim. Getting shot while riding a isn’t bicycle related accident.

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        Schrauf November 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

        Unless the shooter does not like people on bikes, and that dislike was a factor in the shooting. Probably not the case, here, but who knows?

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          Esther November 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

          This and all the following comments about the particulars of whether Mr Andrews “deserved” a ghost bike is missing the forest for the trees. The point Mr. Robinson was making in the original presentation , which I thought he made EXTREMELY well by showing the razing of entire neighborhoods (PEOPLES’ HOMES AND BUSINESSES), was that loss and danger to African Americams living in this area of Portland has been underrepresented, misunderstood and not responded to by the media, the City, and activists. explaining someone died on a bike and we didnt talk about it was his way of making that relevant to bikers, because apparentl most of the commenters on here only care about whether someone was hit by a car, not about the fact that a Black man is on far more danger of spending part of his life in prison, losing his voting rights, and not being able to work, than he is from bring hit by a car.

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            sorebore November 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

            Gosh E,… this post is directly on top of mine. Jeez, I hope you did not gather that line of thinking from my post., because that is not what I was trying to say at all. I will agree with your sentiment on the conditions befallen upon African Americans, but one thing to remember on this blog is ,it is kinda like setting the needle down on your favorite 35 year old Ramones record and the arm just grazes across the vinyl makin’ a terrible sound. Noisy non sequitur’s abound.

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              sorebore November 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

              In addition… it does state that Mr. Robinson was quoted as saying that there are no G.B.’s in P-town for an Black person if I read it correctly. peace.

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      sorebore November 18, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Ghost bikes can seem like a half baked eyesore on occasion. Always left wishing for more visually wonderful statements is a bit selfish on my part though. The wonderful stencil work under the bridge near the spot Brett Jarolimek left us, was IMO a fitting way to remember him. It was replaced by a janky Huffy though. The ghost bike for the young woman(so sorry I do not recall her name) killed downtown in front of The Crystal Ballroom has completely disappeared. I some times wonder if the McMenamins folks wished it away so to speak. My vision for her ghost bike replacement is a bike rack in white made out of her initials.

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        9watts November 18, 2011 at 8:29 pm

        Tracey Sparling

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          sorebore November 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm

          Thank you 9er!

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        jim November 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        I think with Brett’s background ( incredible person) He should not have a tacky junk bike on the side of the road to remember him. Perhaps someone could do a real art project there and dedicate it to him, that would be nice, not a goodwill bike with sloppy paint on it.

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        Mike November 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

        I really like your ideas of art for memorials rather than junk bikes painted white.

        Wouldn’t matter that it was bike-related vs. gun related vs. whatever related. What it would signify is that someone’s life was prematurely ended at the hands of someone else.

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      Suburban November 20, 2011 at 7:59 am

      If you want to be specific, it was less gun related than bullet related. Ghost bikes and non-cemetery monuments have their function. Typically, one does not get a vote about their own memorial- it’s not really for them, because they are dead;tis for the living.

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    Bjorn November 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Or it might have had something to do with the fact that his sister was also shot to death the same week and that they both had lengthy drug related criminal records. I for one thought at the time that he and his sister were probably both killed because they were caught up in a drug deal gone bad, not because he was on a bicycle. If Robinson has the slightest evidence that the man was shot as part of some sort of road rage incident please bring it forward, otherwise a ghost bike is not appropriate in this case, and it isn’t because of the color of his skin.

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      Esther November 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

      I like how you assume they were both involved in drug deals. Even though nothing in the media indicated they were involved on criminal activity at the times of their deaths. Oh, because they had previous criminal records. Yes. Nothing about this is racist. Nope, not here.

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        Bjorn November 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm

        Statistics are not racism Esther, and while I am not a huge fan of the war on drugs the fact that we have criminalized drugs means that they are smuggled and sold by criminals. There are many studies about gun violence and prior crime, for example a study titled “Factors Associated with Assault-Related Firearm Injuries in Male Adolescents” from the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice found that men involved in crime were 22 times more likely to be shot than the average person. Considering that he and his sister both had lengthy criminal records involving more than just simple possession amounts of drugs and they were both shot basically at the same time I don’t think it was that far afield to think they were murdered because of something involving their criminal activity rather than because he was riding a bicycle. In the end I believe his sister was killed for video poker winnings, and I don’t think they ever figured out why he was killed. Maybe it was road rage, but statistically it is far more likely that it was related to other crimes. I don’t think he deserved to die, but I also don’t see much point in placing a ghost bike at the scene, ghost bikes are supposed to raise awareness about dangerous conditions for bicycling that have led to a cyclists death.

        Also when I first saw the article I am nearly positive there were np photos of the victims attached but the articles both mentioned their criminal records and I think that the reporter had the same conclusion I did even though they did say that the police were not sure if any of the 3 murders that weekend were connected at the time.

        Finally I find it ironic that in a later comment on this thread you berate people for calling others names. I assume you will be the one to trigger godwin’s law in this discussion.

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        Alexis November 21, 2011 at 1:02 am

        You are just convinced everything is racism.

        I have a past history of crying at anything when I have PMS; if I am crying for no reason, it is not sexist for my friends to think I have PMS. Making judgements or assumptions about people’s behaviors based on a known history is not racist. Yes, the way our country sucks etc etc makes it more likely for african americans to be arrested, prosecuted, executed, etc, etc, but saying that “they have a history of drug-related crimes, they were killed in a manner often used in drug-related murders, maybe it was drug-related” makes more sense than “they were killed on a bicycle by a gun, let’s give them a bicyclist-specific memorial”. The fact that they were on a bicycle doesn’t (as far as anyone can tell) have anything to do with the murder; if I got killed eating pizza, it would make no sense to give me a ghost pizza.

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    Sonia Connolly November 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    My belated sympathies to Ricky Andrews’ family for your losses. Jonathan, thank you for addressing this.

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    Jennifer Buntz November 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Here in NM the death would not show up as a bicycle fatality because he was killed by a gunshot. Its sad thing though. If it were here and someone requested a ghost bike, I’m sure we would put one up. If there was not a request, we probably wouldn’t, but there are many differences between our efforts and the efforts of your Portland group. Our thoughts are with survivors of all the bicycle related (or unrelated) deaths in Portland.

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    eric November 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    living in atlanta i was constantly threatened with guns for being on a bike. me being white would usually be called out in these confrontations. although my black cyclist friends would get threats also. somehow this story doesn’t ring as a “bike” issue in the same way when a homeless guy on a bike gets hit i don’t see that as a “cyclist.” that being said, it does bring up some issues, concerns, whatever. if i or any of my “cyclist” friends were to get shot while riding i would definitely want the bike aspect of it investigated.

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      Jack November 19, 2011 at 5:15 am

      Come on Eric, really?? I have lived in a lot of big cities. A lot of years in Detroit especially, I’ve never had a gun used to threaten me while biking. Obviously each persons story is somewhat unique, I just don’t believe you. Just saying.

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        eric November 19, 2011 at 7:52 am

        yeah Jack, really. i was a messenger there for several years. the racial hostility in atlanta is off the radar. and the cars vs. bike thing is ridiculous. atlanta has one highest rates of violent crimes in the nation. often beating out detroit. toward the end of my stay there, it turned out the city had kept over 200% of violent crimes off the records so as not to scare away tourism. sorry if you don’t believe me but i don’t want to get into a big back and forth thing on here. not the place for it.

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          Andrew November 19, 2011 at 8:15 am

          I am originally from Atlanta and what Eric says is true. I didn’t ride much there, and I can’t imagine doing so. Race problems are insane there and violent crimes are out of control and under reported.

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    Joe Rowe November 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    That was a horrible year for bikes. I’m somewhat certain that Jonathan would have reported it if he or any readers had known about it.

    I think he deserves a Ghost Bike as much as anyone.

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    Hugh Johnson November 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    If he were white it would have been on the news for a week, the mayor would have given a press conference, and BikePortland posters would have been screaming how we are the victims of hate and someone needs to do something about it.

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      Bjorn November 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      It was on the news for over a week. I remember reading a bunch of stories about it. Google his name and you will find multiple oregonian articles about it. It was big news because 3 people were shot in a matter of a few days in one part of town.

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      Esther November 19, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Agreed.

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    Raise_card November 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    What actually killed him, the bullet or the (assumed) impact with the ground after he was shot? I assume most ghost bikes are the result of deaths by initial impact with motorized vehicles. I’m certain there have been ghost bikes for black people.

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      sorebore November 19, 2011 at 12:13 am

      I am sure there are as well. With that said, I know of a G.B. in honor of a small child on Killingsworth around 9th or 10th . Does anyone remember that persons history? That neighbor hood has several children playing close to a busy street. I do not want to assume, but it would be ironic if it were a black child and that fact was missed by Mr.Tom Robinson during his speech at Race Talks. I rode past it everyday for five years. I do not travel that way now. Is it still there?

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        Steph November 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

        Yes – there is a small ghost bike there…10thish and Killingsworth…that I pass five times a week. Chained and maintained, but no other signage or notes that I can see.

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          sorebore November 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm

          I have been trying to get the history on it, but there seems to be very little. I put out some calls to local neighborhood papers that have info on the web about it, but no one has returned my calls.

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    jim November 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I am surprised that Jonathan didn’t hear about the accident at the time. He is usually well informed about such things happening in our area. It’s not his fault he didn’t know. I know he didn’t ignore it because he is black, Jonathan is not like that.

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    Charley November 19, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Assuming he died of the gunshot wound (reasonable assumption to me), I wouldn’t refer to this as a bike accident or crash, or even a bike fatality. If a pedestrian was shot would that be a pedestrian fatality? It would be like calling it a “human murder.”
    If someone walking down the sidewalk is shot, that’s not the fault of bad traffic design, and there’s no infrastructural solution to make the sidewalk safer for them. This has everything to do with drugs or a culture of violence in this neighborhood, and nothing to do with a person’s choice to ride a bike around town.
    * * *
    So. . . I’m guessing Jonathan didn’t hear about it because it’s not relevant to his mission of running a bike blog. No fault there. No racism, either.

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    Charley November 19, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Also, if Mr. Robinson feels like Mr Andrews deserves a ghostbike, he should ask his family what they think. If they are interested, maybe Mr. Robinson can take up the project himself. Otherwise, as a guy who rides his bike all over the neighborhood, I’m not seeing this as equivalent to the Sparling or Jarolimek situation. It doesn’t appear that this is the kind of event for which a bike themed memorial would be appropriate. The lack of a ghost bike in this case is not reflecting racism, but reflecting the fact that the bike was itself incidental to the fact of Mr. Andrews’ murder. The ghost bikes are for people killed by traffic, right?

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    Andrew Seger November 19, 2011 at 2:13 am

    This was one of the many BS things about the “race talks” event. If a man gets shot it is with a “deadly weapon”. If it had been an SUV it would have been an “unfortunate accident.” Some members of the african american community are using this as an excuse to do nothing along Williams. The churches are especially to blame. All they care about is their parking so their members can drive in from Vancouver on sundays. Just recall the vehemence that any sort of plate count study has provoked when proposed.

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      Esther November 19, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Using this to disrespect church members and basically call people names is inappropriate and not conducive to improcing things.

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        naess November 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

        how was andrew disrespecting the church members? are the churches not against removing parking for the bike improvements any more? wwasn’t the main reason they gave for such opposition that much of their congregation has had to move to other neighborhoods and as such have to drive to williams so they can attend church?

        i think your “perceived disrespect” is exactly what jack was talking about below.

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          Esther November 19, 2011 at 9:45 am

          I dont understand your point, but andrew was making sweeping generalizations about the desires and needs of entire congregations of people in multiple churche throughout an entire neighborhood. Unless were referring to tghe stated opinion of one congregation or person (for example, Jonathan interviewed Shaton Maxwell Hendricks) going on about how all “the churches” want this or that is disrespectful.

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    Jack November 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

    It seems like a majority of racism these days is perceived rather than intended. This is extremely unfortunate. As of 1954 (primarily) our legal system leveled the playing field. Inequality persists because we (everyone) won’t put it behind us. Children are born ‘color-blind’ and would remain that way if we didn’t push racism on them.

    If anyone can round up a person or persons who decided to not put up a ghost bike for Mr. Andrews specifically because he was black, then we should deal with that person or persons. Until then, how can we attribute fault to anyone here?

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      Esther November 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Comments like this are what gives BikePortland a bad bame. A bunch of white people going on about how racism doesn’t exist anymore.

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        eric November 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

        you’re right. a white person saying racism doesn’t exist is inappropriate. it always has and always will. it’s fear of the unknown. how we deal with it is what’s important.

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        Jack November 19, 2011 at 9:02 am

        Where in my comment did you get “racism doesn’t exist anymore”?

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        naess November 19, 2011 at 9:25 am

        which makes the racist comment (“a bunch of white people”) in your post all the more humerous. racism isn’t a colour issue as it occurs within all racial demographics.

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          Esther November 19, 2011 at 9:33 am

          Yes. I admit it. Like you and 300+ million Americans, I am racist and participate in a systemically racist society. If we’d stop nitpicking about how ghost bikes Arent Racist (nope, WE are) and instead wjat we can do to improbe safety (FOR EVERYONE) in Boise Eliot, maybe this discission would go somewhere…

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            Jack November 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

            The problem is that some people at these public forums are nitpicking about how ghost bikes and x and y are racist and then saying that because these things are racist, we should not go about making these safety improvements.

            I’ve not yet heard a cohesive argument as to why past racism should prevent current/future safety improvements to public infrastructure. I have heard arguments from people who place other goals (parking, auto-traffic-flow) as higher priorities than safety of all road users. I personally do not respect those priorities.

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              Jonathan Gordon November 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

              I think Molly Franks’ testimony during a brainstorming session for the Williams project presents a “cohesive argument as to why past racism should prevent current/future safety improvements to public infrastructure.” Among other points she raises:

              One way that racism operates is that the people harmed most directly are the ones who see it most clearly. Those of us who benefit often don’t even see it. As a bike advocate, it may be easy to think, that’s history, this is now. But ignoring the pattern is being complicit in exclusion. You may not have been part of the history, but you probably do receive the benefits. And Portland’s African American community continues to pay the costs.

              I encourage you to read the entirety of her testimony. I think it is a mistake to interpret the community’s objections as merely about “parking, auto-traffic-flow”.

              http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=53905&a=358729

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      sorebore November 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Tell the Oglala or the Absentee Shawnee if you think 1954 leveled race issues. Geez, this is sad, and it is not just a Black and White issue. Portland has problems unlike like I have never seen, and I am from a community the same size with a Black population that averages around 30%, not 6%. Never in my life have I heard so many awkward views on race, and I grew up in a Missouri,where post civil war lynchings were the highest in history… Yes Jack, 1954 fixed everything for the good people in America. May I suggest you visit East St Louis and Chicago’s south side. Or go to my old neighborhood in K.C.M.O. and stand at 18th and Woodland and take a look around. Then return to Portland and tell me about your trip.

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        Jack November 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

        Well you please read my comments rather than responding to what you’d like to think I said.

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          sorebore November 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

          I did.

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    Esther November 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

    “the majority of racism is perceived,” “the legal system lev#led the playing field.” Our playing fiels is NOT levelled and racism “is not just perceived, it is actual, systemic AND quite often “intended.”

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      Jack November 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

      I think you are misunderstanding my point. Inequality does continue (as I stated earlier). And I understand that there are people out there who have deeply ingrained prejudices against entire categorizations of people. But what I’m saying is that I believe those people neither represent the majority nor are they the driving force behind continued discrimination. I believe one of the more significant problems is that everyone is typically more interested in figuring out who is being most racist rather than figuring out ways to improve our society so that every child is truly born with equal opportunity.

      If you find a person who is behaving/speaking in a seemingly racist manner, you can’t just say, “Stop being racist”, and expect the problem to go away. We need to figure out what is perpetuating all this discrimination and target that problem.

      It seems to me that you are more interested in highlighting “politically incorrect” comments by others, than you are in discussing the topic at hand.

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        Esther November 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Becaise, and obviously this is my opnion and mine alone, things that you call “politically incorrect” and that I call “swreping generalizations,” “coded racism” and/or “disrespectful of commuity members whose voices we’re NOT hearingin this forum” arent conducive to the discussion youre asking for (either the root problems of raxism OR traffic safety). I called out previous comments because as a woman of nonwhite ethnicity, who works with prisoners, I found tje comments about criminal records and churches insulting and reductive. The responses I’m getting (which aside from yours are generally defensive and attacking) make it clear this isn’t a space where people are open to discussion despite their proclamations to the oppositr. As I said above, Mr. Robimson was making a,larger point. Instead of furthering the discission, within 12 hrs there were a bunch of comments about GHOST BIKES ARENT RACIST. why aren’t you getting on those commenters for mot furthering the Traffic Safety discussion, or the Roots of Racism discission, instead of me?

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          Alan 1.0 November 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

          Esther, my deep thanks for your contributions to this discussion. I don’t have the answers but your words at least help me understand the issues.

          I think Jack was asking the wrong question when he wrote “…how can we attribute fault to anyone here?” The discussion as I hear it is beyond assigning blame (who, what, when, where) but instead is about attempting to understand how and why our culture has the sorts of discrimination which lead to conflicts such as Williams Avenue, with a view to fixing those inequities through understanding (as well as through appropriate actions).

          As someone posted in a previous thread on this subject, these two essays by Tim Wise helped me understand some of the complexities which are right under my nose but which are not obvious to me, for various reasons.

          PS – Jack, I’m not questioning your good intentions at all, simply the framing of that particular question.

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        sorebore November 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

        Sorry Jack, I have to side with Ester. Your original post has a slight smell of naivety. Dude..do you really believe the playing field was leveled. I would love to know how old you are. I am old enough to remember seeing race riots in my hometown. NOT ON T.V.. This is the problem with history that the establishment loves to exploit, and TIME is the tool. And BTW, Ester was showing how the topic at hand went amok due to statement’s that were WAY off base. peace.

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          Jack November 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

          I am not saying (nor did I say) that Brown vs. Board of Education made things nice and fair for everyone. I am saying that prior to that, people had a legal basis for acting/speaking in a discriminatory manner. Afterwards, they did not. Since then, more laws have come about that further the attempt to criminalize discrimination. Obviously racism has continued. It’s not ‘the system’ that causes racism to persist, it’s the people.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Just want to remind folks how critically important it is for us to be mindful of other people’s perspectives when discussing race. I am watching these comments closely and I am relying on you (readers) to contact me if you read something that is inappropriate or offensive.

    Thank you.

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    maxadders November 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    He wasn’t killed by a car and shouldn’t be listed as a bicycling fatality. I know you likely won’t agree with this, but a better spot for this man would be on a list of victims of gun violence. Ghost bikes were intended to make people aware of bike accidents, not murders committed with firearms. I’ve heard nothing to suggest he was killed for riding a bike; not sure why we need to be up in arms over the fact that he wasn’t on a list of people killed in bike-vs-auto accidents. There’s plenty of racism in the world but I’m not sure there’s much in play here.

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      dmc November 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      spot on

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      sorebore November 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      @ max…you may be the voice of reason in this particularly cloudy thread. I believe the heated off shoot began with the interpretation of the quote from Mr. Robinson during his speech concerning G.B’s. not representing , then folks started blowin’ off in all directions. One of the key arguments around the debate in Mr.Andrews death on this thread seems to revolve around whether or not the shooting was motivated by anger towards a cyclist,and/or, the racist assumption that because he was a Black man he was involved in something unsavory. I have no clue as to why he was shot, and it does not surface here (at the moment), since no one has posted any thing that authorities attribute to the incident.
      This post started with a genuine act to recognize a news story that was missed on BikePortland. It involved someone on a bike. J.M. has taken a lot of heat for crap people have posted here, and I have heard things and read things, that some in the Portland Black community have pushed back on him because of things taken out of context or misconstrued. This is part of the fragile texture of communicating around race issues. And it is my opinion that J.M’s. concern for his integrity may be a motivating factor in posting this item. Whether we like it or not, there are people on both sides of the issue that are never going to be able to work towards healing. Being a White male, have been spit at, shot at,verbally berated,chased,beaten,and accused of being racist by some Black people in my life. I understand why these things happened , and have forgiven these people, and these certain people, were not ALL Black people. It is with this hope that I attempt to raise my child to view people as individuals, and hopefully there are those who will raise their children with the same ideals.
      P.S. J.M… I wish you the best, and I do not envy your task to be the Bike Blog Man in Portland !
      peace.

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      Caleb November 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Why can’t it be both? If someone willfully ran some over with a car and was charged with murder, it still be a bicycle fatality even through it was also a murder.

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    MIke November 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    First occupy portland and now shooting victims? How I long for the days when people debated on the brightness of their lights. The holidays are coming up so can we shift to something a little more light hearted?

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    Chrehn November 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

    A thought provoking article. Thank you.

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    jim November 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

    This wasn’t really a bike related thing, it’s not like he got right hooked or anything. It was a murder. You didn’t mention that his sister was shot and killed the same day in a separate incident.
    I still stand by my belief that the ghost bikes are tacky in any case, and I don’t think everybody wants them in our streets. A crashed burned out car serves as a strong reminder not to drink and drive, however they remove those from the street as soon as possible. There was a body shop that had one on display for that reason, and i think the police may have one they take around to high schools, no permanent monuments in front of someones house though. Who started these by the way? Who did they consult with? Was it their decision to do this no matter what everyone else thinks? What type of system is that? I could see a memorial at roadside for a week or 2, then it should come down.

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    KRhea November 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I’m a black male, 53yrs old, born in a very tiny town in Ohio, have lived from the east coast to the “best” coast, traveled around the globe, been hated, loved, spat upon, had guns pointed at me, called names, not allowed to eat in certain restaurants or walk on certain sides of the street. I’ve also been treated with as much disrespect from blacks because they didn’t think I was “black enough”. Back in the day I was probably called “Uncle Tom” by blacks as many time as I was called “nigger” by whites. There is no race without fault when it comes to being racist and or having to deal with racism.
    I became what I consider a serious cyclist in the fall of 1974 when I rode my first century(100miler) in Findlay Ohio. I’ve been riding ever since.
    Two weeks ago I was told by a man in his early to mid ’40s that I “didn’t belong” in his neighborhood…this after he had ran a stop sign, cut a corner and nearly took my life with his large SUV as I rode my bike down SW Montgomery. Little did this man know, until I told him, that I had just purchased a new home about 10 houses up the street from him so I certainly did, “belong there”.
    Last month while riding on Sauvie Island I was called a “stupid colored guy” by an impatient driver who wouldn’t pass me even though I was riding the fog line and he had plenty of room to do so.
    I only tell these things to bring to light the reality of where our world is, today, 2011. This isn’t about “looking for trouble” on my part. It’s about being a cyclist, riding my bike and being “called out” because of my color. I guess to still be dealing with this stuff in 2011 is pitiful in my opinion. My dad rode in the back of the bus while wearing a US Army uniform, drank from different fountains and was beat-up for being black…all while wearing a US Army uniform, just because of the color of his skin. This was before I was born…and still, today, I’m/we’re still dealing with similar attitudes…wow. No, I’m not naive, I realize racism in all forms is here to stay and that my 8yr old Chinese daughter will deal with some of the same things both her grandfather and her father have dealt with but it still mystifies me every time it happens.
    I admire JM for researching this unfortunate incident and then bringing it back into our consciousness for discussion. I was in attendance at the “Race Talks” session where this ghost bike issue was brought to light. It hit me as strange as I listened and I’ve thought about it a number of times since. The presenter that night, a white gentleman, told the story in a way that immediately brought up the “race card”. To be honest I didn’t appreciate that fact at all, it was just way to one sided for me. I’m glad to read all the opinions offered in this thread.
    Question, had I been hit by the SUV in my neighborhood would it have been a racist act or an accident? My opinion, 100% accident, however, it was waaaaaay to easy for this man to hit me with, “you don’t belong here anyway”, after I survived the incident.
    In Mr. Andrews case, I don’t believe the color of his skin had anything to do with having or not having a ghost bike placed in his rememberance. His color may or may not of had something to do with his being shot and that’s bad enough. One fact I’ve yet to hear in this case is: who did the shooting, was the shooter white or black? Seems to me that would immediately add a different spin to the story and yet, he still would be a victim of gun violence, not a car/bike fatality. As someone stated, he was a victim of gun violence not a victim of “riding his bike”.
    To both “Maxadders” and “Sorebore”, thank you so much for your insightful and well written posts. It’s clear from what you said and the way you said it that both of you have a great understanding of what is and what isn’t racism.
    This quote from Sorebore says it all for me:
    “It is with this hope that I attempt to raise my child to view people as individuals, and hopefully there are those who will raise their children with the same ideals.”
    Amen my soul brotha from a different mutha!

    To everyone else, race is always a difficult and at times volatile subject to discuss. I appreciate that so far in this thread there have been all sorts of opinions, some I agree with, some I don’t but thanks to everyone for keeping the “tone” of the discussion intelligent and pretty open minded. It’s discussions like these that can and do sometimes make a difference in how you or me or “we” see things, respond to things and then move forward in our thought process and our personal growth.

    KRhea

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    Zed November 21, 2011 at 4:23 am

    sorebore
    The ghost bike for the young woman killed downtown in front of The Crystal Ballroom has completely disappeared.

    It didn’t disappear, it was relocated:
    http://bikeportland.org/2010/04/08/church-will-give-tracey-sparlings-ghost-bike-a-permanent-home-31661

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    Spiffy November 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Robinson is using the race card to get sympathy for his cause… that doesn’t work on smart people…

    we may never know if the bike was motivation for the shooting, thus making it a bicycle-related crime… or if somebody just really wanted him dead and he just happened to be on a bicycle at the time…

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      jim November 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Spiffy-
      His sister was murdered on the same day by a single gunshot, in a seperate incident. I don’t think he was shot just because… It had nothing to do with being on a bicycle

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    John Landolfe November 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    As I’ve noted to the Williams transportation planners, I’ve lived on Williams and elsewhere with non-white bicyclists. I think unequal media coverage is at the root of the community reaction, not some entrenched racism in the neighborhood itself. It makes sense he wouldn’t appear as a transportation-related fatality because he wasn’t killed by a transportation-related event.

    I do think, however, that media outlets whose mission is to cover more than just transportation are really dropping the ball in North Portland. Just look at the difference in attention by police and the media of Occupy Portland versus half a dozen shootings in my neighborhood during the same period. Though I don’t think it should stall transportation safety issues, the Williams residents who say people are ignoring other neighborhood safety issues have made their point.

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    Reid Parham November 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    .

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    Doug Morgan November 23, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I saw a person riding a bike cradling a rather large dog in their lap. He was riding with no hands, smoking a cigarette, riding against traffic on a major 4 lane arterial. As a cyclist do I have to defend every lunatic that shows up on a bicycle? No, I do not and certainly will not.

    I do not understand, nor do I approve of or condone in anyway, roadside memorials. I think they amount to little more than well intentioned roadside junkpiles. At least ghost bikes have a message. The appropriate place for memorials has always been cemetaries. I doubt I personally will have any memorial. These memorials are just attempts to not forget friends and loved ones, but they are in vane. We will all die, 100 years from now nobody will even care we were here, except to mine our garbage dumps.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

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    Skid November 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Usually ghost bikes are put up by friends or family of the victim aren’t they? It’s not like there’s some committee or anyone in charge of ghost bike memorials. Sorry, no racism here, except for bike riding and ghost bikes being seen as something the only white people do.

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      Winter_rider November 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Nothing like saying “no racism here” and than following with a racial stereotype that ghost bikes are “something only white people do.”

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        sorebore November 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm

        Thank you winter. Skid is a day late and a dollar short to this mess. That thought was expressed about 8 feet higher up this thread! peace.

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    eric November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    the more this thread goes on the more i realize NO. no ghost bike. not a bike related crime. it was a gun related crime. and his sister was killed not long before. (my condolenses to the family). some on this thread say it wasn’t related but that’s ridiculous. things like that don’t randomly happen. the fact that it wasn’t reported or whatever probably wasn’t so much race related as it was socially economically related. or maybe even played down in the media for police investigation purposes. the longer this thread goes on, the more embarrassed i am to be white….and a cyclist. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US. bikers or white people.

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