Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Two reports of tripwires this week including one at Gateway Green bike park

Posted by on September 14th, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Photo of rope tied across trail at Gateway Green today.
(Photo: Source not yet known)

We’re trying to find out more information about two incidents of tripwires placed across public right-of-way in Portland this week.

The first one was on Monday at NE 16th and Irving. The @pdxalerts Twitter account reported, “Police to NE 16/Irving, someone strung fishing line across the street, caller was clothes-lined by it.”

And the second one was reported by a bicycle rider at Gateway Green this morning. Brent Wick posted the image above to a local email list with the message, “Just a friendly reminder/heads up. there have been some trip wires spotted at the Gateway Green recently. Please be careful over there, Recommend a slow pass thru there before you hit the shred button.”


As disturbing and serious as these are, it’s not the first time we’ve reported these in Portland. In 2010 during a heated public debate about stop signs at Ladds Circle, someone strung up a tripwire allegedly targeted at bicycle riders. And you might recall that in 2014 the Portland Police Bureau’s bomb squad was sent in to defuse a tripwire connected to a device on a trail near Forest Park.

We’ve followed up with the PPB for more information and/or a confirmation on both of this week’s incidents and will update this post when/if we find out more. If you have any information to share, please contact us.

UPDATE: PPB confirms they responded to the 9/11 incident but by the time they got there the line had been taken down.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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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

  • Donovan Caylor September 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Are we going to have to recon trails and paths every morning now? I thought the piles of roofing nails in bike lanes were bad…

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    • Todd Hudson September 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Does Parks shut/lock the gates at night? I haven’t gone by after 10pm and before 7am, so I can’t confirm. If not, they should now.

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      • Erik Walthinsen September 15, 2017 at 8:09 am

        I was there with my toddler (who did most of the fenceline loop!) a few days ago, and the gate in the fenceline was wide open. I forgot to email somebody about it, but it’s supposed to be locked at all times, and is obviously being used by the transients camping above the fence. Don’t know about the main gates being locked…

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        • Todd Hudson September 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

          I saw that too. Beyond that gate is UPRR land. Call them – they’ll send the yard bulls, who are no-nonsense when it comes to trespassers.

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          • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 10:12 am

            This. UPRR responded quickly when we had campers at the end of our street, technically on a PBOT ROW, but adjacent to the rail line. We got no help from the city.

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    • Buzz September 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      The roofing nails have been back on North Interstate recently, too. I got a flat a couple of weeks ago and have picked up several piles of them and seen several more piles over the past month.

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  • Dan A September 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Attempted assault.

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    • Zimmerman September 14, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      *attempted murder.

      Fixed it for you.

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      • B. Carfree September 14, 2017 at 7:40 pm

        IIRC, the PATRIOT 2 act made screwing with transportation a serious federal offense. Like applying the unlawful use of a vehicle law to bike thieves, which until recently had not been done, this part of the law has never been applied to people attacking cyclists. There’s a first time for everything…

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      • GlowBoy September 15, 2017 at 6:38 am

        Agreed, this can easily kill someone. I once learned firsthand how dangerous getting clotheslined can be. I was riding *uphill* on a gravel logging road at maybe 5mph and got caught by a steel cable that had been stretched across, without the required flag to make it visible. The light was filtered sunlight so it was almost impossible to see. The cable caught me across my chest and arms.

        20 years later I still have scars on my arms, and again I’d been moving very slowly. ANYthing strung across a trail that’s strong enough that it won’t easily been broken by a soft human body will cause very serious injury to a cyclist moving at any speed. If it’s high enough that it might catch someone in the neck, it could VERY easily kill someone. What’s tougher – fishing line, or your neck?

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        • GlowBoy September 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

          Also, I can’t tell from the photo how high this rope is. Even if it isn’t high enough to catch an adult in the neck, a lot of kids ride at GG. Again, in a contest between a rope and a child’s neck, the rope will win. This is a violent crime.

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          • John Lascurettes September 15, 2017 at 11:31 am

            If it’s not tall enough to catch you, it’s tall enough to catch your bike and pitch you off catastrophically too.

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  • SilkySlim September 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    WTF. How insane must you be to leave rig a dangerous TRAP for the next random person, or I dunno a child playing at the park, to run into????

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    • Chris I September 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      There are a lot of sociopaths out there.

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    • Tad September 14, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Came here to say exactly this. I planned to take my kids up to Gateway Green this weekend. I’ll bet whomever set this would feel fantastic causing a serious accident to a 6-year-old.

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      • TonyT
        TonyT September 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Wouldn’t be an accident.

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  • Eric H September 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Between this and the 3 mtbs that were stolen from Metropolis I’m beginning to think Mike Vandeman might be in town for a long weekend.

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    • Cyclekrieg September 15, 2017 at 6:18 am

      You sir, a patriot and gentleman!

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  • AA September 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I thought that gateway green was suppose to be multi use.

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  • Todd Hudson September 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I live less than a mile from GG and *just* bought a mountain bike so I can play over there! People are terrible.

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  • Al September 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    This is really messed up and should be treated by PPB as a very serious act.

    Gateway Green is a nice park. I managed to log some miles there about a month ago. Not quite as relaxing as Sandy Ridge with all of the traffic literally in every direction but you can get a nice fun workout in a couple of hours.

    Keep in mind that the area was inhabited by a village of homeless people and they were evicted to make this a reality. I’m sure the process left some hard feelings. Of course, nothing justifies something like this. I’m just saying that not everything just happens for no reason. The way things are handled can create other problems which often have a way of involving completely innocent people.

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    • Tom Hardy September 16, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      However it is very unlikely that PPB will even write a ticket, or arrest someone for clotheslining a cyclist, because the prosecuters would not like to prosecute a nutcase or one of their friends. They will just do a victim blaming and be done with it.

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  • Todd Boulanger September 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Jonathan – point of clarification…this would seem to not a “trip wire” (as in a wire used to set off an explosive or other device) but a “neck wire” / “garrotte wire” (if targeted to choke or decapitate a road user) or a “flip wire” (if set up only to flip over a bicyclist or motorcyclist)…tools of harm more commonly used during wartime or by drug growers protecting their patch…

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  • rachel b September 14, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I’m out, hallelujah, as of last weekend. Portland has gone so so ’round the bend. I hope they catch whomever is doing this and actually do something about them. Consequences? Blasphemy, I know, in the Portland of now. We should have more compassion for people who want to injure/kill us. They may have a good reason.

    (this is not in response to your comment, Al, which I appreciate! It just happened to fall right after yours)

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    • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Which utopia do you live in now?

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    • Matt Meskill September 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

      “They may have a good reason” Seriously?

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    • Gary B September 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Cool. You should write one of those trendy letters to a local newspaper telling us how crappy our city is. Bye!

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      • rachel b September 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        My lifelong city, as it happens, Gary B. I was born at Adidas (used to be a hospital). And yes: it is crappy now. Bye!
        And (Chris I)–Shelbyville.
        And Matt Meskill–seriously? I was making a point, facetiously. Not in earnest, no.

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        • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

          “And with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Shelbyville. They had banished the awful lemon tree forever, because it was haunted. Now let’s all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.”

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          • rachel b September 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm


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  • Tom September 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

    If they had booby-trapped the roadway in a way that would cause equivalent harm to a motorist, I wonder if PPB would have a stronger response.

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    • Brian September 16, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Send it!

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  • Mark smith September 16, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Whenever I meet those people who “love the earth” and “hate the killing of animals “(because I eat eggs)…. yeah, it’s those types. Throw in a four cats and 2 dogs…and you have the making of a homegrown eco terrorist. what this is.

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    • CaptainKarma September 16, 2017 at 11:45 am

      That’s a whole lot of conjecture there. We’ll need to run that padt Scully and Mulder.

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    • chris September 16, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      most “love the earth” types are pro-bike. what are you even talking about?

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  • Nocturne September 17, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Another heads up for those that ride the south facing side of Rocky Butte. In the downhill lane, just as you come into the curve entering the tunnel someone had splashed oil across the lane. Thankfully someone else had spread kitty litter over it, else I surely would’ve gone flying…

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  • Tom Hardy September 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    In all seriousness. We are going to have to have several TB riders tour the trails seaching every morning until the ****** is caught that has been setting them. Hopefully there won’t be a bunch of copycats.

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  • Chuck S. September 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

    The setting of this tripwire is possibly retaliation from transient(s) from the homeless community that used to occupy most of Gateway Green prior to the bike tracks being built. Someone’s trying to send us a message. In this case, a death threat.

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  • GuyOnMTB September 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

    GWG. There has been this guy walking his little tan dog on the ridge trail, letting him poop there, yelling at bikers that go buy him. Next I see him I’ll get his picture and get it to the police. I think he might know something!

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