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Two Portland business owners think it’s OK to run people over with their cars

Posted by on October 23rd, 2018 at 11:23 am

Several readers have contacted us in the past few days to share alarming comments made by Portland business owners.

The comments make light of using cars to hurt and/or kill other people.

Tod Foulk has been the producer and owner of Portland Fashion Week since 2005. On October 18th he left a comment under a Facebook post by the Portland Police Association, the nonprofit union that represents Portland Police Bureau officers. The post was about Mayor Ted Wheeler’s attempts to get a handle on recent fights and protests that have led to violence in Portland streets.

Here’s what Foulk wrote:

#TEDWHEELER and his tiny hands cant seem to grasp this situation and nothing will come of it until an irate or hurt citizen fights back. #REGINALDDENNY showed me how to deal with a violent protest and that is to drive right thru killing as many as who will stand in my way

Reginald Denny is a reference to the incident where Denny, a truck driver, was removed from his vehicle and nearly beaten to death in the 1992 L.A. riots.

I contacted Foulk via Facebook and gave him a chance to clarify his comment. Here’s what I asked:

Hi Tod, I’m the publisher of a local transportation news blog. Several people have forwarded me the link to a Facebook comment where you espouse that the way to deal with protestors is to “drive right through killing…” them. Before I share this with the community, would you like to explain why you would say something like this? Thanks.

Here’s his response:

“it was due to the fact that lawless people are threatening the community at large with acts violence when they driving community won’t cowtow to terrorist tactics. see the 74 yr old man harassed? see the mob go through the pearl 2 yrs ago? see the antif thugs set fire with a molotov to target? not sorry when a good friend’s daughter needs to be ambulanced and this takes place. she almost died. care to interview her and her dad? i can make that happen easily enough. i saw reginald denny too get pulled out and beaten with a brick, that will NEVER happen to me and until the police handle the threats against drivers and take this seriously i will not stop for a mob mentality bent of physical harm,.

and the way to deal with them? taking out of context but i expect that these days from all press

but thanks for the chance to delve a little deeper on the subject!”

These views are in stark contrast to a “letter from the producer” posted by Foulk on the Fashion Week website. Foulk writes that his event is a “safe space” because he takes ethics so seriously. “I personally take everyone’s safety very very seriously,” he states in the letter.

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The other comment we’ve been made aware of this week came via email from David Rappoport, owner of Hawthorne Cutlery. The email was sent on September 20th in response to a thread on the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association email list.

The email subject was about “changes to crime prevention”. The screenshot is below:

If you don’t see the image above, Rappoport’s email says, “Sometimes running over bicyclists and pedestrians is the only way they’ll learn. Their new teachers/examples just might be the scooter riders.”

The email was sent from “swordrep” via the same email address listed on the contact page of the Hawthorne Cutlery website. Two different sources have confirmed to me that the email was sent by Rappoport. Both of the sources requested to remain anonymous. One of the sources said they didn’t want to be named due to fear that Rappoport “is armed and seems dangerous.”

I’ve reached out to Rappoport to give him a chance to clarify his email, but he has not responded.

When a local civic leader and a business owner have opinions like this and are brazen enough to share them in a public forum — especially in today’s emotionally and politically-charged civic climate — I think they should be taken seriously. Staying safe on the road relies on an unspoken contract between all of us that’s built on a foundation of responsibility, respect and consideration. Comments like this destroy that foundation.

UPDATE, 3:57 pm: I’ve heard back from Hawthorne Cutlery owner David Rappoport via email. Here’s what he wrote: “Not that I owe you or anyone else an explanation, but, I have a warped sense of humor. And that’s just what it was. HUMOR. Lighten up for Crissakes!”

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

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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 — Jonathan

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Caesar
Guest
Caesar

Would it be legal to peaceably protest outside of these two business establishments? Sort of like a picket line, with signs and banners, respectfully yet visibly protesting. I’d be willing to drive down to Portland for something like that.

9watts
Subscriber

“I will not stop for a mob mentality bent of physical harm.”

I’m surprised he felt the need to go back 26 years when James Alex Fields is a much more obvious role model.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Interesting article. I would say both leaders have two different views. The first seems more derived from the lack of leadership that we are getting from our mayor. I wonder if the white gentlemen telling the other white gentlemen (in the car) to “keep going whitey!” Will face hate speech charges? Also, threatening a person and then bashing up their car is a crime. Where were the police? From the photos they were sittings on their butts and watching it. That is sad. It’s sad that Ted is soft. All of this is out of hand. And so as it is, and what I think the first person you quoted as saying and I would do as well, flee for my personal safety. If people want to beat up cars that’s up to them but then to complain about the driver escaping a hate filled situation is silly. We need better policing and we need someone who can lead so that we don’t have situations like this. It’s sad that a 74 year old man had to bear the brunt of angry Portlanders.

The second quote, is dumb. He won’t respond because he won’t want to take ownership of those comments and if the media gave him any pressure he’ll probably say someone else wrote it without his knowledge. He should be held accountable as he wasn’t referring to a situation that could’ve involved a life or death situation.

skelly
Guest
skelly

Hmm. Denny didn’t run over anyone. He was an unfortunate victim. The racial reference however is telling.

James Wells
Guest
James Wells

The gentleman who tried to run people over and took two days to come forward to police is a “victim?” No, that person is guilty of hit and run. Regardless of who broke who’s window.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

What are the guidelines for individuals to express their (admittedly stupid) views without being made a public target here on BP?

Hazel Light
Guest
Hazel Light

This is disgusting, several people have actually tried to drive through Portland protests, and it’s lucky that nobody has been killed. These men should both lose their jobs and hopefully take their time unemployed to reflect on their murderous comments.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

There’s an event and a business I will no longer patronize.

Not so surprised by the cutlery guy, but the producer and owner of Portland Fashion Week should know better, I’m gonna guess he’s got a lot of LGBTQ friends that are probably just as vulnerable as cyclists and pedestrians in today’s political climate….

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Am I going to have to go back to concealed carrying a handgun while bike commuting? I stopped because, well, Portland was safe, and I wasn’t bike commuting at 1 AM through the industrial part of town any more (which isn’t even industrial any more.) But if I have to worry about numbnuts trying to run me down on purpose, I might have to start again…

Eric
Guest
Eric

“Civic Leader” is a real long stretch for a fashion show organizer whom it stands to reason 99.9% of Portlanders have never heard of.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I not sure either of these individuals has thought through the logical outcome of everyone following such a code of conduct. If it is ok to run over cyclists or pedestrians when you feel threatened, then by logical extension it would be ok for a crowd of parents at a grade school who feel their children are threatened by a speeding or careless driver to pull the dangerous scofflaw from their vehicle at the fist stop sign and beat them senseless to make sure they can’t hurt their kids. Calling out this kind opinion is important because the unintended consequences of this type of thinking are enormous.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

You should totally set up a rally, on the sidewalk.

Dave
Guest
Dave

A sudden, permanent jolt up to European prices for gasoline would be so good for this country…………………

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Sounds like “old Portland” to me. And people want to go back to that?

It sounds like this guy is one of those “I tells it like it is” types, who is most likely not the brightest bulb.

JP
Guest
JP

Their Yelp page paints a pretty clear picture of Hawthorne Cutlery (and specifically the people who work there). David R’s petty responses to 3-year-old mildly critical reviews are the icing on the cake.

Aron Kerr
Guest
Aron Kerr

Although it is clearly wrong to physically harm anyone I think the statement that there is a contract between pedestrians and drivers kind of goes out the window when both parties act illegally. If the pedestrians are protestors blocking a roadway they are obligated to move to allow crosstraffic. I don’t think they should be run over but they should certainly be ticketed. See ORS 814.070 or reference a story on your own site. https://bikeportland.org/2014/12/14/police-ticket-dont-shoot-protestor-run-passing-driver-116412.

Clive Bellue
Guest
Clive Bellue

Stop acting so “holier than thou” while picking on two people who happen to own small businesses. Do you think that you might be able to get a mob and harass these poor guy’s because they said something flippant and you have found where they do business?
In the last week I’ve had to twice jump out of the way of bicyclists who thought that they owned the sidewalk and forced me to yield to them. How many bicyclists still believe that they have the right of way over pedestrians? Or is it that they just don’t give a damn?
When bicyclists start following the rules and laws then you may have room to complain, until then get yourself familiarized with the Oregon Driving Law’s.
I think that I’ll have a heart attack the next time I see a bicycle stop at a traffic sign.

q
Guest
q

There actually was a case a couple years ago where a Portland business decided it was appropriate to run people over, and did. The Portland Spirit was unhappy that it was blocked from moving forward by a crowd in hundreds of boats watching the Red Bull Flugtag event in the Willamette downtown. So the captain gave a 5-honk warning and plowed through dozens of boats. The Coast Guard ruled he was out of line. The basic ruling was, “Yes, the boats shouldn’t have been there, but the law still requires above all that a captain avoid collisions. Honking your horn doesn’t give you the right to mow people down.”

The crazy thing was that he felt that since he gave the warning, he truly believed he had a right to proceed–and DID–no matter that he could have killed people. This was the captain, not the company head, but as I recall the company defended his decision, at least at first.

So I don’t mind seeing criticism of people advocating such behavior, even if they’re “joking”.

joel
Guest
joel

really. ? ive never been in my 38 years of portland, but im tempted to walk by and check the signs now. not cool. not cool.

Fred Johnson
Guest
Fred Johnson

I personally disagree with these road blockers. Roads are made for cars . With that being said if my car was to run one of the idiots over oh well.If the worthless liberal mayor will allow these protestors to disobey the law then ok whatever I can as well. Would I intentionally hit someone no I wouldn’t. But heck I’m driving and the road is for driving so if your stupid enough to park your cry baby liberal self in the road oh well. I’m neither left or right. I’m neutral I think politics are stupid. Bit not as stupid as idiot protesters.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

The Hawthorne Cutlery guy is just a harmless old guy with a slightly punk edge and hopelessly outdated sense of humor. I would not take it that seriously. Go to his shop and you will immediately grasp that he, and it, are of another era.

I sorta hate to admit it but I think he represents a type of Portlander that no longer exists or tolerated. Sometimes people who are not PR perfectionists just say dumb stuff.

Now, if he were the mayor or Jeff Bezos, this would be a different story.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

On the other hand, if Mr. Rappaport is ever involved in a crash with a cyclist or pedestrian, their lawyer is going to have a field day with his comments.

HmadA
Guest
HmadA

This is where we are now with BP, questioning people’s comments on the internet.

Moto Metal
Guest
Moto Metal

That is not a good joke, so much disrespect to the bikes and pedestrian.

AnT
Guest

Also not coo:

“For the record, I am not afraid to hit someone with my car as an act of aggression,” she says. “I think polite drivers should be met only with aggression, to teach them a lesson.”

Carrie Brownstein, November 2, 2010 Willamette Week interview
https://www.wweek.com/portland/article-16676-mock-star.html

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

When did joking about killing become funny?

9watts
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty
Why do we have to “do” something?Recommended 0

Interesting that just in the week since you asked this ‘why bother? question we’ve witnessed three dramatic incidents of politically motivated violence in this country, two of which resulted in deaths of minorities, and the third involved mailing more than a dozen? bombs, or objects meant to suggest bombs, to political targets identified by our dreadful president.

Tod Foulk
Guest
Tod Foulk

what a lame headline, typical of the media taking things out of context lol but when you can’t really write you can vilify. and i DO stand by my comments, anyone committing violence on anyone else in my presence will be met with equal force. be that an innocent being mobbed and attacked, or a simple bike rider on a ride. fools.

Tod Foulk
Guest
Tod Foulk

ps….journalst? HARDLY! just another person behind a keyboard looking for ”readers”. lol
and let’s see if this is ”moderated” into the delete file!

Tod Foulk
Guest
Tod Foulk

hey jonathan maus, i think the national enquirer is hiring!