A man who was bicycling down Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in northeast Portland on Sunday was allegedly the victim of an assault. After he posted a photo of his injuries to user-powered news site Reddit, a community of strangers has started donating money to help rehabilitate his injuries.
Yesterday morning, Reddit user “SpanishMoles” posted: “Some kids threw a traffic cone at me while I was riding my bike down MLK. Any other shitty areas I should avoid?” He called the police, whom he says were “helpful”, but they had no luck finding the three young kids who he saw throw the cone at him.
As you might expect, comments poured in and the online discussion touched on many different issues including: SpanishMoles’ route selection (most people avoid riding on MLK, which is a state highway); whether or not the assault happened because he was on a bike, or simply because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time; and so on.
As you can see in the photo, SpanishMoles suffered several chipped teeth when the traffic cone made him lose control of his bike. When fellow Redditors realized he didn’t have dental insurance, one of them decided to do something about it.
After reading about this incident, Tim Oberlander set up a campaign at GoFundMe.com to help raise money for SpanishMoles’ dental work. “He mentioned how he didn’t have insurance in his post,” wrote Tim in an email to BikePortland, “Several people also stated they felt bad for him and wanted to help. I felt like it was a way to help someone out who had something out of their control happen and needed some help.”
Tim also felt bad because SpanishMoles had just recently moved to Portland from the Midwest (which explains why he didn’t realize there are other good bike routes besides MLK) with “a duffel bag, $100, and a bicycle.” In a comment, SpanishMoles shared his gratitude for the community support:
“You guys are amazing 🙁 I’m going to Emergency Dental later today to see about getting some caps put on the teeth while I save up for two root canals. It looks like the caps will be about $400? I just hope they hold for a long enough time to get money together for a real fix. Whoever put together the fund to help me, I’m humbled and indebted to your generosity.
I moved to Portland about a month ago with a duffel bag, $100, and a bicycle from the Midwest. Needless to say, things have been rough, but this city is beautiful and it’s inhabitants are some of the most endearing and awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I think degenerates exist in every city and I unfortunately just encountered a group of ’em in a bad way.
Thanks everyone for you kind comments, advice, and everything you’ve offered me. I’m learning so much every day here.”
As for his choice to ride on MLK, SpanishMoles posted that he plans to find new routes in the future.
So far, $85 has been raised with a goal of $1,000. If you’d like to drop a few bucks in the jar, check out the donation site at GoFundMe.com.
UPDATE: For more on this story — and another, similar attack in northeast Portland, read coverage on OregonLive.com.