“I felt a sharp pain… I slowed down and pulled off the road, and discovered that a five-inch metal dart was lodged in my back.”
A man was hit by a blow dart while riding on Sauvie Island, a popular cycling destination just 17 miles north of downtown Portland. The reader who shared their story with us said the incident took place last Sunday (8/4) at about 11:20 am.
Here’s more from “DF” (he wanted to remain anonymous):
“I was biking southbound on Sauvie Island Road, maybe a hundred yards from the Cracker Barrel Grocery Store heading to the bridge (map), when I felt a sharp pain, like a bee sting but more painful, in my lower back. I slowed down and pulled off the road, and discovered that a five-inch metal dart was lodged in my back. I immediately removed the dart and called 911. A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy was there within minutes. He told me that the dart had come from a blow gun, and said that he would be investigating this incident as an assault.”
DF said he’s unable to determine exactly where the dart came from, but he has a “strong suspicion” it came from a large white pickup that passed him just after he was hit. He was unable to get the license plate number because, he wrote, “I was too distracted by the fact that I had a piece of metal lodged next to my spine.”
Sauvie Island is a very popular place to ride.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
There is not a lot of room in the shoulders of Sauvie Island Road, and DF said he was “riding the line carefully” prior to being attacked. “I try to be very conscientious about sharing the space with cars.”
DF has been biking out on Sauvie Island for years and has never had any problems with other road users. However, he did tell us that he’s aware that the island has a history of contentious interactions between drivers and bikers. It’s a topic we’ve been writing about here on the Front Page for many years now. Back in 2006, I wrote that, “Road rage, taunts, projectiles from car windows, and other dangerous situations are far too common,” and that, “I don’t think we should wait until someone is hurt or killed before focusing our attention on a solution.”
In January of this year, just a few yards from where DF’s incident happened, a 68-year-old man in a pickup truck pepper sprayed someone who was riding their bike in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel store. (The man was ordered into mental treatment back in May.)
DF says he wants to get the word out to “Warn others and to increase the chances of the perpetrator being brought to justice.”
The suspect’s vehicle was a large white pickup truck, possible a Nissan Titan or Ford, and possibly having an extended cab. Steve Lawrence, a spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, says their detectives are still working on the investigation. If anyone has information about what happened, please email us and we’ll forward you to the Sheriff’s Office.
— Interestingly, just yesterday Multnomah County announced that they are seeking citizen volunteers to form the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel community advisory committee to, “help inform decision making for an update to the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel Rural Area Plan and Transportation System Plan.” Hopefully someone who rides regularly on the island will consider joining.
Filed under WTF?
BLOW DART?? Holy crap. That’s not one I ever expected to hear of around these parts.
I’m glad DF is okay.
It’s probably someone that lives on the island. There should be a short list of residents with trucks matching that description… time to do some police work.
I wouldn’t be so sure. It’s August, and it’s a Sunday afternoon. A ton of people are going to and from the beach out there.
With blow dart guns handy, apparently…
Someone’s been watching/reading a bit too much hunger games.
White crew cab ford pick up. Gee, where have we heard that description recently?
Try to find the closest sympathetic driver to follow the suspect and get a plate.
Damn. Just one more reason to finally get that helmet/handlebar cam and record all my rides.
And you would be a fool not to buy that camera! I have a GoPro and a Contour recording every second of every ride because of dangerous drivers.
For those on the fence about the camera…yes , it really does capture license plates !
cameras are find but anyone who rides without a kevlar flak jacket with composite inserts does not understand the sense of security i feel on every ride.
I’ve sort of been subconsciously avoiding Sauvie Island. This story confirms why. There are plenty of other farms I can visit to spend my money at, as well as no end of other good cycling routes to take.
I moved to Portland on January 3rd 2002, rode out and around Sauvies once on Jan 9th or 10th 2002, and once more in early March of that year… and to this day have never desired to do it ever again, based on the B.S. encountered .
Love the idea of S.I., but I never support or spend money with anyone there,because they as a community, do little to suppress this crap.
Kruger’s Farms does host a few well attended bike events every year. I wouldn’t say the island is anti-bike by any stretch.
I have been aware of the Kruger’s event for years, ( still choosing not to participate for this exact reason, btw.) and with that said, one might surmise that they would have more influence in bridging this issue with people who chose to work,live and enjoy Sauvie Is.
Don’t ya think?
Maybe someone who cares about Sauvie Island should contact this Kruger’s. Rural communities are statistically out if the loop on Internet social network communication. They be unaware they have someone in their midst that they would have mob lynched in the past.
Marcy Houle more than counters that alone.
I can see the Portlandia episode now, with NE gangs doing blow-gun drive-bys on each other at city parks.
C’mon dude.. lets not give anyone any ideas…o.k?
Seems they have imagination enough.
How about attempted murder?
Is their a person knowledgeable in law that would be willing to inform us on the possibilities surrounding this type of action?
Despite the fact that no greater injuries were incurred, if the persons spine was damaged, or if this action had caused a worse crash resulting in death, what would the charge be?
Are there condition’s/statutes within the VRU laws that pertain to pre-meditated assault?
Why stop there? I mean, what if the Axis had won the war?
What if Pacific Rim is a look into the near future?
What if Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best choice for president?
What if all cats are alien spies and help the greys find who to kidnap?
It’s all very scary, longgone, but will somebody pleeeeeease think of the children??
While I appreciate your sarcasm most of the time Scott, I was just truly wondering about statutes within the VRU law.. I get that my comment read as some kid of strange escalation, but that is not really what i was trying to do.
After the subject of this real story just had a metal dart lodged in their back inches from their spine, this response is moronic. Seriously, you might want to talk to someone.
I had a car break my back and have a titanium hinge in my spine. Yes, I am sympathetic to spine injuries. No, this is not a spine injury story.
Portland is incredibly alarmist and at the same time equally passive aggressive. I DO NOT think people should be shot with darts anywhere, for any reason, in any place on their body.
I also don’t think this is something to be alarmed about, nor do I think this is a direct attack on cyclists.
The witch hunting and getting all up in arms is going to be mostly localized to the comments section on this blog.
Yes, I treat alarmist responses on this blog in a flippant way.
Expect the same in return for yourself.
I live in Portland. I expect an expanding town with hopes of being a city to meet my needs for cycling, active transportation, and infrastructure instantly with no regard for budget, or other transportation groups.
I also expect to never be surprised when heading out of my cozy whitewashed, college educated large town to one of the close rural areas when on a bike ride.
But flippant responses to my use of faux overreaction and sarcastic alarmist responses on a .org bike blog?!? How could I ever expect that?!?!?!?
I’ve been reading comments from you for a year plus and still feel I don’t have a genuine impression of you. 🙁
Incidentally, your Portlandia plot is a bit disparaging, to so called “gangsters” that may operate in NE Portland.
I have never ever heard of any such action directed at cyclists, reported or attributed to gang violence in P-town.
Having lived in two zip code’s far, far more dangerous than any to be found here, I find your comment to be a bit hyperbolic and odd.
One, you quote “gangsters” but you’re the only one using that word. Two, he clearly says “on each other,” not ‘on cyclists.’ Three, IT’S A JOKE. Thanks for your impassioned defense of violent street gangs against mischaracterization and stereotyping, though; now there’s a Portlandia sketch.
True, I did not quote Spiffy correctly,as you so kindly pointed out.
I still find his joke a poor one at best.
..also off topic, and an unrelated non sequitur. Still not funny, and still shaded with class and race.
Recently there have been incidents along Fessenden Ave in St Johns where multiple young men have attacked cyclists and stolen their bikes.
As young teenage kids have done,… since like forever…
Seriously, most of my close-calls have involved white pickup trucks driving WAY too close to me.
Wait, I thought it was BMW’s we were supposed to be afraid of?!?!?!
Gotta watch out for white Ford Broncos too.
seems to me with Sauvies Island you could have two traffic camera record all road traffic on and off the island.
Also, wasn’t it Seattle last year that had a blow dart victim?
this one was a few years ago… two cyclists hit with blow-darts…
It’s amazing what people out there can get away with. If they don’t like visitors, they should buy the entire island and make it private. If not, they can suck it up and be ok with people using different forms of transport to get out to their island and SPEND MONEY!
If they want privacy, perhaps they shouldn’t live on the island. It is a “farming” community, but it is within the city limits of the largest city in Oregon. I, for one, expect the island to slowly change to a more liberal, city friendly community. The irrational rednecks will die or move to more rural communities, and more environmentally conscious owners will take over.
Actually, it’s not within the city limits of Portland. Most of the island is unincorporated Multnomah County, and the northern tip is unincorporated Columbia County. Close to Portland, but not in it.
Time to start carrying a weapon on Sauvie?
Yes, a handgun and high def cameras on the helmet
You have no time for precise aiming on the go.
If you are determined to hit the perpetrator you need a sawed-off scatter gun or a holy hand grenade.
Stand your ground!
“Attack first, Attack often!” that is the American motto, right?
“Attack first, Attack often! That’s the American motto, right?
Thou shalt count to three… five is right out.
Yes, think of how much better it would have been if BH pulled out his pistol and shot the offender. Then we could all sleep safe.
T’was but a statement of irony not to be taken as serious.
Another reason to get a Go Pro.
I wonder if Rapha make a Team Sky holster for my sidearm?
Yes, the white crew-cab pickup on Interstate… Just today I noticed a flyer on the bulletin board in the Arbor Lodge New Seasons reminding everyone to keep an eye out for it and get lisc plate # and call 911………………
From my “knowledge” , and everyone else’s Hollywood Bar exam, we should expect that this crime could easily be classified as attempted manslaughter.
The person using the blow dart gun would have seen warning after warning about how dangerous this device could be: at the seller, in packaging and with “ammo”.
I have one of these. It had an implied lethality far above air soft guns, paintball markers or thrown glass bottles.
The user of the blow dart gun knew it was capable of killing but didn’t think.
What ever they police would charge him with if this was a firearm should equally apply in this case. A weapon of lethal capacity was used, used carelessly and with callous disregard for the life of the target.
blowguns arent usually used as a primary mode of lethality for anything but small animals. for medium to large animals, typically poisons are used for the lethal aspect – the dart is a delivery system, or something to achieve immobilization of a major muscle.
if you can generate enough force with your lungs to propel a blow dart to reach internal organs that would cause a lethal injury, you are TRULY a VERY impressive specimen of humanity, and your gifts are going to waste.
that being said, hella messed up thing to do to someone, and hope they catch the perp, though this seems pretty unlikely.
Yes lethality is more commonly expected of darts in small animals but as the OP stated this was very close to the spine. This would have been quite devastating.
Imagine the firearm equivalency: I could shoot you in many parts of the body and not kill you with certainty (Hollywood has trained the general public to believe that “critical hits” are the only lethal GSWs). While the “ammo” of a blow dart gun would require much more precise aim it still is quite capable of killing; especially if you do it KGB style like with Georgi Markov.
I would argue that the weapon user had implicit knowledge in purchase and possession of a weapon that it was capable of killing; even dollar store steak knives can kill. The issue here is not the tool used but the intent and wanton disregard for the life of another. That should easily bump this up to manslaughter or attempted murder if the prosecutor is skilled.
The dart being on the spine and causing serious injury is in the odds of winning the lottery neighborhood.
Force equals mass times acceleration. The dart weighs less than a gram and 200 FPS is the speed a dart travels when fired by those in blowdart competition. Still well below anything that would smash through the bone armor the human body created for the very important spinal column. The dart being able to sneak into the spine through a crack is also very unlikely, and that it would do serious damage if that very small chance happened is also super unlikely. Most of the people on this blog were probably brought forth from their mother with the help of an epidural, which is a large needle that GOES INTO YOUR SPINE.
Please stop being so alarmist. This is a lame experience, but is completely opposite of attempted manslaughter.
Low odds are still odds. They are nothing but abstraction. You could calculate the chance of a dart hitting the spine to be .00000000000000000000001%, but that would be a false calculation if the dart actually hit the spine, in which case the actual chance clearly would have been 100%.
Ok, let’s be alarmist.
The 6 foot long 2 piece blow dart tube I purchased some years ago (for about $30-$40, with an assortment of dart types and a completely ineffective small caliber paintball setup) came with a set of 3 dozen needle darts. They are hardened spring steel, approximately 3 inches long, less than 0.5mm in diameter and sharpened to a hypodermic angle of sharpness.
While spring steel will rust quicker than 306 or 314 stainless steel, making it much harder to repeat sterilize in a hospital environment, it is much more durable.
With a couple days of goofing off I was able to get a 50 foot accuracy of 2 inches and put a needle dart through 1/4 inch dry wood panel board consistently. All the while the darts lose little of their sharp point.
Now any OBGYN will tell that an epidural is safe for two reasons only: precise application by skilled hands and sterility. The first is obvious: there are lots of places near the target that a mis-aimed epidural could cause damage. But lets talk about sterility. That dart is made of steel and while it looks smooth to the naked eye the surface is quite rough on the microscopic scale and will hold all the saliva born pathogens that the dart gun has plus the fresh fecal coli forms that are on the hands of >99% of all humans.
But these are all hypothetical hazards that could make the dart worse than a factory sealed hypodermic needle; our everyday world is squeaky clean and we have nothing to worry about, right?
As for “… completely opposite of attempted manslaughter”
I don’t think you’ll find a provision in the law that exempts assaults with intent kill or actual murders whether committed with a firearm, a pellet gun or a rubber chicken.
Someone used a weapon. There was foreknowledge of the gravity of what he was using.
It was intentionally aimed at an innocent bystander. This shows planing and intent.
It was intentionally “shot” at the innocent bystander. This is the actual execution of the crime which could have been avoided at either of the two preceding steps.
Georgi Markov was shot with a pellet, filled with a radioactive isotope. You have got to be kidding with that as a reference.
Correction: A ricin filled pellet. Excuse me.
Same place that sold me the dart gun had a WIDE assortment of dart types.
Among them were some more “traditional” South American style that were sold merely as “novelties” and “not to be used” as it would be illegal to use them.
And by “South American style” they meant that there were grooves, recesses or out right hollow darts that would deliver a liquid to a target.
Me personally, I found that CostCo brand fish oil capsules were cheaper, fit the barrel perfectly and much more fun as nothing dies but occasionally goes away stinking of fish oil. This causes amusing reactions in neighborhood cats.
I’ve never injured or killed any animals … except insects.
Buy if you’ve ever had cats as pets you know that opening a can of tuna then doing nothing drives them up the wall.
What is the point of this story anyway this story supposed to create paranoia amongst cyclists? It is such a random and isolated incident that it doesn’t really need the press. There really isn’t a solution to this type of behavior anyway. You can’t cure stupid. I can’t imagine being so worried to go riding that buying a camera to attach to my helmet would be a consideration.
WARNING! There are is a history of sociopathic nutjobs in Sauvie Island?
Did you not read the whole story? Or was it edited after you made your comment? The point of the story is clearly stated in it.
Oh, and how about posting some positive stories about interactions between motorists and cyclists. That may be productive but not as exciting.
Um, on my ride home today a car and I both reached the intersection at a 4-way stop at exactly the same time and the car driver waived for me to go through first.
Jonathan- can you please make this a front page post?
Almost all of my interactions with motorists are positive (i.e., not memorable). But the potential consequences of running into that one aggressive asshole are so high that it makes an impression. If you’ve never had an alarming encounter with a driver who accidentally or deliberately came close to hospitalizing you, lucky you. I think the rest of us take it pretty seriously when something like this happens.
The vast majority of interactions I have with drivers on Portland streets run from neutral to positive. By far the majority of drivers are courteous to vulnerable road users here, and most of the close calls are due to negligence not malice.
That’s why the few people who go out of their way to be jerks stick out so badly.
Thanks Mike. I’ve done that in the past. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll keep my eyes/ears peeled for more stories like that to share.
Granted the blow dart makes it interesting, but I don’t think just because something happens to someone on a bike means it’s a “bike” story or even bike news for that matter. I guess you could make the point it’s to help find the person who did it, which makes sense. But I think sometimes people get attacked because they are outside, exposed and not because it has anything to do with bikes. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, just working through a feeling I get about some of these kinds of stories, cyclists getting attacked when I don’t think it’s clear that it’s necessarily about biking.
Having participated in cycling for sport/passion/travel since 1968, I am willing to speculate that incident was motivated by the fact that the person was a cyclist.
I am sure the douche bags that perpetrated this asinine act would feel just as glibly elated if they were to do so on a pedestrian, but what does it matter?
It is a cheap, chickenshit and coward-less act.
If you feel it is insignificant, go hang out by the road and let me pass you and put a dart in your back…
It is a noteworthy story, and I believe J.M. has every right to present it.
Certainly we could make zillion posts related to positive interactions between people on the road everyday, but I for one am curious how/when/where things like this happen.
I have been attacked on my bike by “rednecks” gangsters” “attorneys” “delivery drivers” “Avon ladies” and countless others…it has happened, and more than likely will never stop.
It does not keep me from cycling, and never will.
But if it does, I would want everyone who will listen, to know about it.
I would have loved this forum in 1981, after being beaten to a pulp by three men in Katy Texas, one July afternoon..
I don’t appreciate your use of “rednecks” or “gangsters”.
In all seriousness, riding alone on S.I. is probably a bad idea, Go Pro equipped or not. How sad and disappointing is that?
No, I’ve biked for years in the deep south; rednecks and gangstas is the correct terminology.
Long time riders have had lots of interactions with haters. This assault incident was likely perpetrated by a hater, but could not be considered a hate crime because cyclists don’t qualify.
you are assuming DF is not a minority…
You are assuming the word “minority” is based on some classifier besides ‘mode of transportation.’ Some people consider cyclists as minorities among the majority of road users. The only assumption I see Granpa making is that DF was targeted as a bicyclist, or at least as a vulnerable road user.
Jeez, dude. That is crazy and sad to hear. Hope they catch the perp.
Seeing as Sauvie Island has only one main access point for vehicles, it would be easy enough to add a traffic cam at that intersection which could easily track down these vehicles and likely get their plate.
Yeah, without digging through the archives, I believe a man was captured using exactly that method in the last year. He had tried to run someone off the road (maybe not a cyclist), and then of course had to leave the island over the bridge, and the camera on it captured his license plate and he was arrested that day at home.
Maybe they already have a suspect in mind based off that camera using the general time-frame it happened.
The crappy this is, if they’re not caught with the blow-dart gun, there are no independent witnesses, and all the police are going off is the proximity of the truck to the crime-scene, I don’t know if that would hold up in court enough to charge this guy.
I wouldn’t say that’s a crappy thing. I prefer that convictions require hard evidence. What I would say is crappy is that human beings can be deceptive after they’ve committed harmful acts, which is what I’m guessing you were getting at.
It may be wise to carry a lightweight hunting scope to get the plate of a fleeing vehicle.
I like that idea!
SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE OUT HERE! It’s only a matter of time. So what can we do to stop it? For starters, there should be a sign on the bridge warning folks that Sauvies Island is not a place for the casual cyclist, recommended for advanced riders only! Casual cyclist don’t have mirrors, ride in clumps in the middle of the road while getting caught up in the scenery, bike with small children, stop to pick berries with their bike tires sticking out in the road. Factor in narrow roads, no shoulders, plenty of blind corners, drunks speeding to and from the beach and the fact that these are working roads traveled by a lot of heavy farm machinery and we are headed toward a needless death no one wants.
You don’t suppose that 68 year old man has a son do you?
In this blow dart story you report it was a large white pick-up truck. In your story about someone being pepper sprayed, you also report it being a white pick-up truck. In the pepper spray case, the driver was eventually identified and apprehended. Might this be the same person?
I like Kruger farms, but do NOT bicycle on that island. My last ride, a Sunday morning at 8 am, start of grand day, a truck leaving the owners property, he yells “Fuck You” out his truck window. Seems his day was not such a grand start!! That was my last ride there, too many like that. I say, cyclists, boycott the place till they take action. I feel safer downtown AT RUSH HOUR
Tankangnolo B. Portland history talkin”!
Of all the things discussed on Bike Portland, you find a man’s observation of cat behavior to be the lamest? I’m intrigued. Would you like to describe in detail your criteria for “lame/not lame”?
He hates me on principle.
I’m not sure what that principle might be or if it is based in reality but we have freedom of religion in this country; if he wants to believe that I am a representative of demonic forces it is his right.
My not explicitly denying everything he reads on to my character is fault #1.
Knowledge is NOT a crime.
Dark humor is not proof of misdeeds.
Not going to your church doesn’t make me a devil worshipper.
Believing that the USA is not perfect does not make one a traitor.
Believing that unfettered wor$hip of profit is bad does not make one a communist, fascist or totalitarian.
Look beyond the surface, beyond the rhetoric spouted by demagogues and see reality as it truly is.
Think for yourself.