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


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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