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

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.”
— 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 — 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.”


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

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.

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