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Man assaulted and robbed while biking on Springwater Corridor

Posted by on July 15th, 2019 at 7:54 am

Let’s find this bike and get it back to Jay.
(Photos: Jay Hamlin)

Jay Hamlin after the assault.

A nightmare came true for 69-year-old Jay Hamlin while he was riding on the Springwater Corridor path Thursday afternoon. It’s the latest incident that illustrates the lawlessness of the popular linear park and the vulnerability of people who use it.


According to his own account (posted to Facebook) and a KATU-TV report, Jay was biking on the path near SE 128th when two men pushed him off his bike, violently assaulted him, then stole his bicycle. He told KATU the suspects were two young men in their late teens, “clean cut, and well-dressed. He does not believe they were homeless.”

Here’s how Jay described the incident:

Springwater path near 128th.

While riding my bike on the Springwater Corridor I was pushed from my bike while traveling around 16 mph and flew head first down an embankment into some blackberry bushes. The perpetrators then grabbed my rear wheel and started pulling. My foot was wedged in the frame so they pulled me and the bike out of the bushes and about twenty feet down the Corridor. They finally eased up and I got my foot out and off they ran with my bike. I was stunned and bloodied but managed to call 911. Police and fire came and I made a report. Kathy came and picked me up and we went to the hospital. I have a severely sprained ankle and a neck sprain. I would of course like to recover my bike as it was a once in a lifetime bike for me. But moreover I would like these two cowards to be apprehended. It bothers me to no end to know these two are out there. I am hurt pretty good but it could have been so much worse. I would be very surprised if this is the first violent crime for these two and I am sure it will not be their last if they are not apprehended.

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“Jay is a wonderful man and an inspiration to many.”
— Jake von Duering, Dialed Cycling Team

Fortunately Jay is recovering after this horrific assault. He’s well-known in our community and is an active racer. His “once in a lifetime bike” is a carbon Colnago (as seen in the tweet above).

Dialed Cycling Team Director Jake von Duering has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Jay’s medical treatment and help replace bike his bike and gear. “Jay is a wonderful man and an inspiration to many,” van Duering wrote on the campaign page. “He is still actively pinning on a number to race his bike at 69 years young and we want to ensure that he can keep at it for years to come.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a Springwater path user has been assaulted.

In May 2017, Vincent Rodarte suffered a similar fate when he too was pushed from his bike and then had it stolen while riding on the Springwater near SE Tacoma and 32nd. And in 2016 a woman was assaulted while biking on the path in Gresham near SW Highland Drive.

This incident will likely convince even more people that bicycling on the Springwater is simply too scary and dangerous to justify. Reader Leslie Carlson shared via Twitter over the weekend that her teenaged stepdaughter was also the victim of an attempted assault two years ago. “Two males tried to push her off her bike as she rode past. Luckily they weren’t able to topple her and she got away. We rarely ride there now and only in groups.”

— 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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Al
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Al

Been following this story all weekend. It seems someone is riding his bike around not far from the incident as people have captured pictures and video. This person likely purchased it from the suspects and may be ignorant of its background. It would be nice closure to recover the bike and apprehend the suspects.

Mike C
Guest

Fiancée was uncomfortable with me riding Springwater this weekend so I avoided it. So yeah, it’s definitely having an effect. Similar to how most people avoid the 205 path at all costs. Sad.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Mean streets. Good luck to Jay. Shouldn’t be too hard to find his bike. But why dress in those silly-looking bike outfits? They seem to invite attacks from the disgruntled who need someone to lash out at.

Rain Panther
Guest
Rain Panther

I dunno, Mike. Maybe because he’s a member of a team and it makes him feel warm and fuzzy.
Or maybe it just feels more efficient and comfortable.

The bigger question is why someone would feel it’s appropriate to judge and attack him for his choice of attire, particularly in the immediate wake of his suffering an actual physical attack.

(hint: here’s where you apologize, maybe?)

Beth H
Guest
Beth H

Never blame the victims. EVER.
Not for their cycling attire, not for riding alone, and/or not for choosing to avoid once-popular cycling route out of fear.
Folks riding their bikes along the Springwater and 205 bikeways aren’t breaking any laws.
Folks camping out in the bushes and/or lurking along the path looking for someone to rob ARE breaking the law. They should be pursued vigorously by law enforcement.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I rode these bikeways happily, often alone, and without fear.
In the last five years I’ve had three different incidents of harassment and/or someone trying to push me off my bike as I rode past. Last year, someone tried to grab my bike from me as I slowed to pull off and use the restroom at 47th. (I screamed at him, grabbed my bike from his reach and rushed into the restroom with it, locked the door and waitied while he banged on the door angrily. He stopped, and I didn’t come out for half an hour.)

Until law enforcement steps up their presence along these and other bikeways, I and many others simply won’t ride these bikeways alone. Because it’s not safe and because there doesn’t seem to be the political or fiscal will to make it so.
If it bugs you, write to City Hall and keep bugging them until you get a response.
Ad don’t tell us that we’re the ones who need to take more self-defense courses, carry a weapon or “man up,” because that’s not helpful to the most vulnerable road users.

What is needed is stepped-up law enforcement, which seems to be lacking.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I am trying to convince my wife to let me mount a scabbard near the stoker’s seat on our tandem, where she can keep a Bokken ( wooden sword, as she trained in Kendo as a girl in Hawaii). I figure it could come in handy next time we ride the Springwater if some of these miscreants show up. This makes me think that life at the fringes of modern society is becoming more feudal all the time. It is like the days in old England where you were at risk of being set upon by bandits if you traveled alone through the woodland.

rf
Subscriber
rf

that is next to my house. I’ve never actually seen sketchy behavior in this spot. we use this segment every day. very sorry for Jay

kristent
Guest
kristent

There’s a reason my partner and I don’t ride the Springwater anymore, and this incident highlights exactly why.

It used to be something we’d go ride for a fun weekend ride, low-stress and easy. Not any more, it’s too dangerous.

I hate that Hood to Coast uses it, we structure our team so the guys are the ones running Springwater because even with a crowd, it still doesn’t feel safe at all. I’d rather run by myself out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, than run on the Springwater in a crowd during the day.

I’m afraid the Salmonberry trail will turn into the same thing– only worse, because it’s out of most cities’ jursidictions.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This is extremely disturbing. All the accounts of assaults along “bike paths” (ha!) are extremely disturbing. I use a similar path on my commute, and if it became overrun with bad actors lurking in wait to assault and rob folks—to the point I no longer felt safe using it—I would have no real viable route into town.

Bicyclists using roadways are subject to vehicular threats/menacing/assault, and the, ahem, “official” response usually seems to be “watchagonnado?” unless there is incontrovertible, crystal-clear video evidence or multiple witness statements that are all in agreement and have no way they can be twisted to blame the victim. Oftentimes, the response is generally along the lines of “you should really find a ‘quieter’ route; you know, there’s a ‘greenway’ just three blocks over…”

But now, on what should be highly useful non-motorized (“quieter”) pathways, there is an ever-increasing “presence” that puts bicyclists at risk of threats/menacing/assault by certain afflicted individuals, housed or not, such that those paths/routes are rendered unsafe/useless to those they were originally designed to serve. It also seems that the “official” response here is, “*sigh* (or *eyeroll*, if you prefer) whattayagonnado?!” There are quarterly or semi-annual “round-ups”, that make things safer for a few hours, but no ongoing presence to maintain a safe travel way.

Further compounding an already nearly unbearably frustrating situation is that such things only serve to provide more evidence that riding a bike is dangerous, and the only rational way to transport oneself is in an armored vehicle. It reinforces the notion that, hey, if you don’t have the good sense to protect yourself, don’t expect somebody else to do it—why’n’cha’ just drive a car like normal people?

It appears more and more as though the gravity of this rapidly-forming black hole will soon be inescapable—much to the delight of happy-motoring aficionados that already think those uppity bicyclists are nothing more then flies in the ointment, disrupting smooth travel and whining about “safety”.

anubus
Guest
anubus

Just know that when you’re asked to vote for Mayor next year, Sarah Iannarone, has consistently made excuses for allowing gangs from the illegal camps along the trail to become entrenched and emboldened… Don’t take my word, just take a look at her own fb page and twitter (not her sanitized “Vote for Me for Portland Commissioner”)

jeffb
Guest
jeffb

Don’t forget the East Bank Esplanade as well. I carry pepper spray easily accessible on my commute.

J_R
Guest
J_R

This is exactly why I’ve all but quit riding the Springwater Corridor except in a group. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m starting to think that I need to acquire a gun to ride my bike in Portland.

Jillian
Guest
Jillian

I was planning a lovely group bike ride next weekend on the Springwater, and will now be cancelling it for safety reasons. :/

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

This sucks, racing against Jay is fun and to see this happen to someone I compete with makes my blood boil. I don’t expect any facet of PDX govt to help, they don’t give a real crap about cycling but I guess that’s what we already know.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Here’s another incident along the Springwater that I encountered last August.

I was riding into Portland from Gresham when I met a guy from Estacada who was walking east. He told me he had just stopped to pee in the bushes by Powell Butte (right around SE 138th) and a homeless guy stole his bike. He knew the guy was homeless because the thief left his sleeping bag and clothes in order to make a clean escape with the bike. He told me that he had reported the theft with the police and was carrying a bag with the clothes and sleeping bag. I’m wondering if the police have some good statistics on similar incidents along the Springwater?

TRENT FULLER
Guest
TRENT FULLER

the picture of this poor unfortunate SENIOR CITIZEN bloody and battered infuriates and nauseates me,
I am literally on fire with rage on his behalf.
This indiscriminate Wild West mentality that is allowed to run roughshod over us all has got to be stopped!!
For the love of God, so horribly reprehensible, i simply cannot abide!

vs
Guest
vs

I rode the 205 path yesterday up to Gateway Green. I wasn’t ever afraid, but it is extremely depressing to see the conditions people are living in on that path and elsewhere around town. Like up by PIR the camps are pretty big.

Would folks support taking an underused and money losing golf course, owned by the city, and turn it into a safe place for camping?

Specifically the Colwood Golf Course, owned by the city, is loosing money. If we turned it over to housing agencies, or a non-profit, put in showers, laundry and security patrols we could have a place for people to camp that would be secure and more sanitary. It would also free up money to adequately maintain the city’s 4 other golf courses.

What say ye, my fellow cyclists?

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Welcome to Portland. Guess that’s what it takes for Portland Police to take a report instead of just telling you “don’t be gay then” or “nobody got hurt so it’s not really worth our time”.

peters
Guest
peters

This is so depressing. I feel horribly that Mr. Hamlin had to endure this.

After the woman was raped along the trail in 2017 I stopped riding it. As a woman myself, previously I felt mostly safe doing my 40 miles solo rides out to Boring and back and I really miss those rides. I keep thinking I’d like to give it a try again….but nope. I’m just going to put this out of my mind completely. It’s obvious that for the sake of my safety, this path is 100% useless to me. This city has done little to curtail the deviant behavior along this and many other paths, and I don’t see this changing. Even my short daily jaunt under the train tracks along Powell is oftentimes jarring. One Monday a few weeks back it was completely blocked by campsites, garbage, and a ton of broken glass. I called police non-emergency and they were unwilling to help. The rest of the week I took a longer route to work because I was afraid of what I might encounter on the path.

More and more I do not want to live in Portland. It’s not just because of this, this is just one of the many crappy things we seem to be stuck living with anymore. This is the new normal and I don’t like it.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

This sad incident and just about about everything else involving the Springwater is fueled by drugs. I doubt these guys stole the bike to pay rent…

Don Courtney
Guest
Don Courtney

The vagrancy is contributing to a sense of lawlessness but so is an anomolous viwpoint of City workers: coming from a certain, call it “Portlandia” viewpoint. In a couple dealings I’ve had with city workers over the years discussing lawless and scary driving East of 82nd, where I was told “and maybe even enforcement” was on the table but posting lawn signs to drive slow was the main approach, I beleive the city thinks “education” is the solution. It works for those who feel invested in the community. But marginalized communities like homeless and young men of color are causing a huge increase in crime in East Portland. They don’t respond to the “Portland should” that motivates so many of our shame fearing Portlandia types. We need enforcement for people who don’t give a crap about the social compact, which breaks down anyway when things begin to feel lawless. I used to care about peeing in public l, now I don’t, if things keep up like this I may start emptying my trash onto the street like everyone else does too. Portland needs to wake up and realize it’s citizens aren’t all latte sipping do-gooders who self-police.

Holtz
Subscriber

This assault and theft is terrible. So is the death toll on our streets.

Of course, police enforcement and any other appropriate should be used to make the Springwater safe and welcoming to all. But even after the news of this assault, I still feel safer riding on the Springwater than I do on city streets, where I regularly have to avoid careless or aggressive/malicious drivers.

It’d be wonderful to feel safe everywhere, all the time… but it’s unreasonable to demand perfection from our trails, while accepting daily, deadly mayhem on our streets.

Vance Longwell
Guest
Vance Longwell

I ain’t buyin’ it! There are no other witnesses? What if this guy is lying? Why does he need money from people for medical stuff? Does he not have insurance?

Alternative narrative: Smart Alec runs his mouth at a couple of strangers, and gets his hat handed to him for his troubles.

Or: single vehicle accident and he’s just embarrassed.

Or: he needs a lot of attention.

Anyway, now I have to deal with, yet, more Pinkerton Men hired by the Oregon Democrat Progressive Liberal Church when I ride the corridor. Ya, thanks for that.

Amy
Guest
Amy

Very sad news. Many cyclists save their money for their “dream” bike. I hope he gets it back and in one piece.

It is terrible to hear how unsafe the Springwater Corridor has become. I stopped riding the corridor a few years ago when people were literally camped on the path (near 205) and it was difficult for me to get around them. I felt vulnerable and uneasy. It’s not worth the risk.

That path is for EVERYONE but in recent years portions of it have become unsafe and a place where criminal activity occurs. I am not sure what the solution is but I am fairly certain Portland’s City Council feels it’s not worth solving. Cyclists/Recreation-ists are very low on the list to receive protection….

Jack C.
Guest
Jack C.

Al
Been following this story all weekend. It seems someone is riding his bike around not far from the incident as people have captured pictures and video. This person likely purchased it from the suspects and may be ignorant of its background. It would be nice closure to recover the bike and apprehend the suspects.Recommended 20

Are you saying that out of ridiculous political-correctness? That was the sleazy THIEF himself! He didn’t have time to sell it when that video was taken.

***PORTION OF COMMENT DELETED BY MODERATORS BECAUSE IT WAS RACIALLY INSENSITIVE. User Jack C. has been placed on automatic moderation list***

Jack C.
Guest
Jack C.

soren
Another crime committed by housed people and another bike portland thread full of hate directed at houseless folk.In the past two city council elections candidate(s) who supported a crackdown on houseless folk were resoundingly defeated and candidates who support housing rights were elected.Has it ever occurred to anti-houseless bike portland commenters that Portland voters disagree with your “sweep them up” and “lock them up” bigotry?And to all the cycling advocates and enthusiasts who are silent in the face of this kind of prejudice in your spaces, I can assure you that many politically active individuals have taken notice.Recommended 1

Whether or not these particular crooks were housed, many people you call “houseless” are also people without a conscience, e.g. desperate druggies. We don’t have time to learn their sad histories before making a quick judgment about keeping a safe distance from them.

That bike rider should have trusted his basic instincts and never turned his back on them. I sure don’t, ***PORTION OF COMMENT DELETED BY MODERATORS BECAUSE IT WAS RACIALLY INSENSITIVE. User Jack C. has been placed on automatic moderation list*** You have to be in “code orange” mode on many stretches of the Springwater trail.

X
Guest
X

Jack C– guessing you are some kind of N. European-descended white person (something you share with almost all of the sketchy looking, possible drugged, possibly criminal people that might be seen on the Springwater.) Thanks for adding serious weight to the stereotype of white people being afraid of black people.

What am I? I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like being flashlighted when I’m minding my own business in a park. Guess that equals thug.

Maybe those guys didn’t see the sign that said Sellwood was white.

Vans
Guest
Vans

Hi Jonathan,

Any follow up on this? I ride it daily and believe I was followed today by a potential ner de well from Powell to Harold south on 131 then down to 128th, he was with me as I turned onto 128 then turned around and went back the way we came, weird.

I have seen no enforcement whatsoever that was promised.