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County more ‘vigilant’ on Hawthorne Bridge inspections as tacks claim more victims

Posted by on January 13th, 2015 at 11:59 am

tacks-final

More tacks, more flats.
(Photos sent in by readers)


Whoever is throwing tacks onto the Hawthorne Bridge path has likely returned to the scene of the initial crime. It’s been almost a week since we shared the first report of a flat tire being caused by what seem to be many tacks purposefully strewn about the path.

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop. People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”
ā€” Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesman

We asssumed it was an isolated incident; but the flats keep coming.

On Saturday, Pedal Bike Tours employee Sarah Gilbert was riding downtown to lead a tour when she picked up two flats. We also heard from a victim who flatted from tacks on Monday. Then just yesterday, an employee from West End Bikes called to tell us they had three people roll into the shop with flats ā€” all of them from the same, golden tacks we’ve now seen on many tires in the past week. The main location of the flats appears to be near the bus stop where the westbound bike lane merges up onto the sidewalk/path (above SE Water Ave).

Multnomah County owns and manages the Hawthorne Bridge. Spokesman Mike Pullen told us that county bridge crews cleared all tacks from the bike lane and path after hearing about it last week. Now, with new cases being reported, he says, “We are being more vigilant.”

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The new cases caught the eyes of KGW-TV and KOIN-TV, who ran this segment last night:

The County has increased inspections of all their bridges and says so far they’ve only found tacks on the Hawthorne. Pullen says the tacks they found yesterday had been spray-painted black, “possibly to make them harder to see.”

“We will be monitoring the sidewalks more often until the incidents stop,” he added, “People who see anything suspicious should call 911.”

If you’ve gotten a flat and/or find one on the path, please report it to Multnomah County via phone at (503) 988-3757 (ext 0) or via email at dcs.bridges@multco.us.

Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Matt Picio said he plans to put the tacks on the agenda of their monthly meeting tomorrow (1/14).

We’ll continue to track these tack attacks and will be back with more information as it comes in.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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 ā€” Jonathan

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Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
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kiel johnson

who is the “bike authority” mentioned in the video? Is it like the sports authority but with bikes?

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

nice of jonathan mouse to give an interview šŸ™‚

PNP
Guest
PNP

Aren’t there cameras on the bridge?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Great. The news last night just gave a bunch of bored knuckleheads an idea.

Tony H
Guest
Tony H

So tacky.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Wow, that really might be the most dangerous location possible…. To catch a flat while heading downhill and angling towards the traffic lanes is terrible. Arhghghghhghg.

Brian
Guest
Brian

This is why I ride a wheelie across the Hawthorne Bridge. 50% less chance of flatting.

Peter
Guest
Peter

I ride this route 5x weekly and haven’t (thankfully) picked up one of these buggers. If I had to don my Rust Cohle hat I’d guess that the perp is someone who regularly gets off of Trimet and is frustrated that s/he has to risk death from a collision by those cyclists who fail to slow down (let alone yield) at that particular bus stop. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times. Bikes: when you see a bus slow down and pull in, anticipate pedestrians. I mean, you *know* someone’s gonna get on or off…so slow your roll for one hot minute, Lance Armstrong. (Still: I hope they catch this MF.)

Dave
Guest
Dave

And another 200 people just switched to Schwalbe Marathons.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Also offered in favor of my theory: the rumble strip that used to exist just east of this spot was recently removed…

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

grrrrrrrrrrrr… and arghhh!

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Be nice if they could run a “mine sweeper” out there regularly with some rare earth magnets to pick them up. That, and make sure that they are filming the bridge to catch the perps in the process.

john
Guest
john

I picked up two tacks yesterday at 7 AM heading east bound on Hawthorne Bridge. I have reported the incident to email address provided in article. No flats (Schwalbe Marathons!) Thanks, john

daisy
Guest
daisy

Would it be good to also call police?

Cory Poole
Guest

Just another good reason to skate. šŸ™‚

Dmitriy Zasyatkin
Guest

This is why I like to inject 2 ounces of tubeless goo into any tube I use that has a removable valve core. You can also just buy the Slime tubes, but if you’re a mountain biker you should already be using tubeless by now.

Kirk
Guest

Could this ‘bike tacks’ be the result of someone upset that people that bike aren’t directly contributing to the ‘gas tax’? … Sorry, I couldn’t help myself with that one. šŸ˜‰

Karl Dickman
Guest

This caught my eye:
“The main location of the flats appears to be near the bus stop where the westbound bike lane merges up onto the sidewalk/path (above SE Water Ave).”

Ben McLeod
Guest

I find it odd that KOIN’s headline reads “Bikers upset…” Do they run similar headlines for stories involving cars? Like when people go around slashing tires. Let’s see…. nope. http://koin.com/2014/04/27/tires-8-vehicles-found-slashed-parking-lot/

“Bikers upset….” makes the issue sound more about whiney, self-entitled bikers and not about horrible people purposely causing serious safety issues.

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

I saw these solid tubes at Interbike last fall. Unlike old solid tubes, these were actually pretty near weightless. Not endorsing them at all, because I still wouldn’t use them. . . but just saying. . . they can’t stop the wheels from rolling. http://stopaflatusa.com/

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

time to start taking the lane…

spencer
Guest
spencer

perhaps its the bike thief chop shop scumbags living just south of the Ross Island bridge throwing tacks all over the place in the misguided hope we’ll abandon our steeds?

Aaron
Guest
Aaron
Tyler
Guest

The city was out this morning, sweeping the bike lanes near the westbound bus stop with magnets to collect any tacks.

John Landolfe
Guest

I appreciate the County’s vigilance but I would like to see law enforcement take the lead on this. The perpetrator should be held accountable for the cumulative property damages, cumulative loss of income due to late arrival to work, and impacts to businesses such as the touring companies.

Christoph
Guest
Christoph

I got a flat from a tack heading eastbound on the morning of January 28th, at around 7:45AM. Iā€™m riding on All condition Armadillos, but they do (or did, rather) have 3000+ miles on them. My front tire survived, but my back tire is done.