Updated: Stolen bike recovery leads to confrontation in South Waterfront

(Street view of SW Sheridan and SW Moody)
Screenshot from a police dispatch tracker on Twitter.

A person told police they were robbed of their e-bike at gunpoint late Friday morning near the intersection of South Sheridan Street and S. Moody Avenue.

(UPDATE: We have since learned from multiple witnesses that the person who called police might not have been telling the truth about what happened. I’m working on an update to the story and will post it soon to help clear things up. – Jonathan)

The incident occurred around 11:30 AM under the numerous overpasses of the I-5/405 interchange, near Portland’s South Waterfront Park and the Knight Cancer Research Building of the Oregon Health & Science University. There have not been any arrests.

The Knight Cancer Institute warned their community about the incident via email yesterday afternoon as stipulated by the Clery Act which requires universities to report crimes in the vicinity of their campuses.

Here’s that email:

Clery Act Warning: Incident on South Waterfront

On March 17 at approximately 11:30 a.m., a person was robbed at gunpoint for their electric bike under the overpass near the intersection of S. Sheridan and S. Moody. No arrests were made, and the subject was described as a white male driving a grey BMW SUV. 
 
Please be cautious, take advantage of Public Safety escorts as you need and take a moment to review safety reminders below.

If anyone has more details about what happened, please let us know.


UPDATE, 3/20 at 12:20 pm: We’ve learned more from the Portland Police Bureau about what happened. Here’s what they shared with us:

On March 17, 2023, at 11:34 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the intersection of South Sheridan Street and South Moody Avenue on the report of a robbery. An officer met with the victim, while others search the area. The victim told officers he was asleep in his tent under an overpass when he was made aware that someone was taking his bike. He tried to convince the suspect to leave the bike, but the suspect refused. The suspect warned the victim not to approach. The victim then approached in an attempt to get the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect produced a gun and showed it to the victim, after which the victim left. The victim told officers the bike had been stolen from his sister, so he was taking it back. Nobody was found.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at lisacaballero853@gmail.com.

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Amelia
Amelia
1 year ago

Hi all. I precipitated this event, supported it, and witnessed the entire course of it, though I did not engage directly with the “victim” of this police report, only stood by. There is coincidental footage of me via the chest cam of a friend of mine who happened to ride past as things were starting up, and it is posted publicly, but I’m not planning on linking to it at this time. I’m disappointed that this article was published on such a fragile foundation. I’m disappointed with people speculating and engaging in conjecture. I expect that some will be disappointed with my actions this day. I wholly believe I did the right thing given the circumstances and am happy to engage in good-faith discussion around this, but will not fight or argue about it.

The contents of the police report and this article are highly inaccurate. The person who filed the police report is intentionally misrepresenting events. They were very clearly struggling with hard substance abuse based on their appearance and behavior. This is not a judgement of character, but a statement of fact for the consideration of people in other comments who have speculated as to why they would call the police if the bike was not rightfully theirs. Sometimes (often) people behave irrationally, much more so under circumstances such as those this person appears to be in.

On the morning of this police report I was out running errands. Around 11:15 I was riding north from the OHSU pharmacy nearby; I am probably on security camera footage coming and going if it is still available. As I passed through, I spotted this e-bike parked outside a tent. I recognized it as being a high-end model, and as one that was reported stolen out of the owner’s garage and posted on one of many stolen bike recovery Instagram pages in September 2022. It matched down to the stickers and, as I would soon learn, to the serial number. I posted it on my Instagram story along with a repost of the original stolen-bike post from September and tagged several similar pages (BikeIndex, etc.). Someone responded to my story saying that they knew the rightful owner personally and intended to recover the bike immediately. I waited for them to arrive, then supported them in recovery of the bike with my presence. While there was verbal conflict, at no point did I hear any talk of firearms or see a gun brandished. The person in possession of the bike was belligerent, incoherent, and appeared to not understand the concept of serial numbers – it is legally provable that this bike was not theirs, that it was stolen, and yet they still tried to tell us that they bought it “at a shop up the road”, gesturing vaguely westward, and called the police as it was being repossessed. They proceeded to chase me and the other person on foot even as I biked away and the other person drove away with the bike on their car’s rack, yelling into the phone “she’s leaving the scene”.

It’s possible that the person who had the bike wasn’t the original thief, that they bought it from the thief. If this is the case I empathize with them for being duped, but anyone who buys a bike is responsible for checking the serial number.

The car was not an SUV. There were no white men involved, besides the person who was in possession of the stolen bike. There were no guns involved nor violence of any kind. The bike was not stolen from the person who called the police, it was stolen before that and repossessed from them. I resent that I have to come out publicly to clarify all this, and that this may lead to a forced interaction with the police who I generally avoid at all costs because the outsized weight of their judgements in the eyes of the general public puts people like me and others in different marginalized groups at risk of illegitimate social and legal consequences or even direct bodily harm. I resent that in order to get justice in situations like these, cyclists generally must resort to vigilantism.
Ultimately, while a lot about this situation sucks, and whether or not vigilantism is right, I am happy that this e-bike ended up back in the hands of its rightful owner and proud to be a member of a thriving bicycle culture here in Portland. We have to take care of each other. Fuck bike thieves.

Amelia
Amelia
1 year ago
Reply to  Amelia

Just saw that Royal has commented here, and want to confirm that he/Timberwolves/SLVS was the party I referred to anonymously here who replied to my Instagram story and had a more direct role in the recovery. Fully support him in all he does and respect the hell out of him.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Amelia

I resent that in order to get justice in situations like these, cyclists generally must resort to vigilantism.

This is a real problem, and I am hearing more anecdotes about people resorting to extra-legal measures to remedy failures in our legal system and breakdown of social mores. Relying on vigilantism adjacent tactics strongly favors those who have power (social, physical, economic) over those who do not.

It is a profoundly unhealthy trend.

Francis Discuccio
Francis Discuccio
1 year ago
Reply to  Amelia

Good looking out, Amelia! I’ve attempted two other stolen bike recoveries myself, both of which were unsuccessful after being physically threatened and / or chased by the persons possessing the bikes. In both cases I matched the bikes on BikeIndex stolen listings and reached out to the owners with photos to confirm.

All while endlessly on hold with PPB non-emergency, who never picked up after 45-60 minutes of hold time.

It’s absolutely maddening to see bicycles mindlessly abused and destroyed on the street and it’s infuriating to hear the usual voices endlessly make excuses for it. For me it boils down to one thing, and it’s essentially what you said: no compassion for thieves and crooks, especially those that target bikes.

The cognitive dissonance on display by those who continue to enable antisocial destructive behavior is just astounding, especially when these same folks endlessly pitch multi-thousand-dollar e-bikes as a viable solution to fight climate change. News flash: they’re not helping much when they’re destroyed and dumped in a random bush.

As for this story, it’s feeling like Veloprovo 2.0.

Joseph E
Joseph E
1 year ago

Re: “after being physically threatened and / or chased”… That is when you call 911, not the non-emergency line, since it is a crime in process. This is a situation where you really do need someone who is trained and in authority.

Charley
Charley
1 year ago

Crap. I guess I won’t go that way anymore. Fingers crossed the police find the bike.

Adam
Adam
1 year ago
Reply to  Charley

This is premature. There is not enough evidence in yet about this report to really state this particular area is now so dangerous as not fit for future travel. I ride through this area on my regular commute, on my e-bike, and have never felt threatened at any time. Even if this one incident proved to be completely accurate, I would still ride it without much additional care.

JJ
JJ
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam

I was shoved off my bike in July not far from there (SW Harrison and Harbor) by someone who came out of the bushes wielding a tent-pole, while riding with my teen son. He wanted my bike, I said hell no and eventually was able to get back on my bike and get away, not before being hit with the tent pole on my back, resulting in a bruise and welt. Cops came and asked if I wanted to press charges but basically said it wouldn’t do any good, and I was so freaked out, all I wanted to do was get home so I declined.

It was literally moments after I told my son that the loop we were doing was a good safe one for him to do solo. I retracted that statement.

Vincent D.
Vincent D.
1 year ago

Isn’t that right where the little MUP that comes from the waterfront and harbor drive connects to Moody just before the Tillicum? I just posted a comment a couple days ago about how I don’t feel safe riding my electric bike on my big loops as I used to do. That was on one of the loops I used to do, crossing the Steele bridge then going down that way to either do a little loop over Tillicum or big loop over the Sellwood bridge… So maybe it’s not all in my head afterall.

dw
dw
1 year ago

That really sucks. I hope the bike gets returned or the thief at least gets caught.

Before the rash of comments scapegoating the homeless or Hardesty, we need to keep perspective on this – cars get stolen at gunpoint too. That being said, people need to feel safe being out and about if we are going to have any meaningful shift away from cars. Lack of public safety is a viscous cycle that only serves to atomize and divide our society even further. Nobody should end up in a situation where they feel like robbing someone at gunpoint is a logical thing to do, a nobody should fear being robbed at gunpoint while moving around the city.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

“Nobody should end up in a situation where they feel like robbing someone at gunpoint is a logical thing to do”

I’m sure the poor guy was just hungry.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Lack of public safety on the waterfront is always a viscous issue.

soren
soren
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

Definitely “viscous” as in a tough problem that won’t be solved by giving more money to authoritarian and grossly ineffective cops.

Pablo R
Pablo R
1 year ago
Reply to  soren

The issue in Portland is not that police are ineffective it’s that’s they are grossly understaffed and therefore have been rendered ineffective by misguided politicians we unfortunately elected. We have the fewest cops in 30 years. It’s not rocket science to figure out why we are setting homicide, shooting, car theft and traffic violence records. The pendulum is swinging on this but not fast enough for this poor ebike owner. https://www.oregonlive.com/data/2021/11/why-portland-has-less-cops-now-than-any-point-in-past-30-years.html

Concordia Cyclist
Concordia Cyclist
1 year ago
Reply to  Pablo R

So understaffed that they could afford to send several dozen cop cars to a single incident this weekend on Skyline. Yes, they are understaffed, but it’s amazing how few are available for the “small stuff”, but can muster the entire force for a call of two unarmed people not leaving a house.

Priorities.

Kayleah Q Williams
Kayleah Q Williams
1 year ago
dw
dw
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Probably wasn’t hungry, but what happened in their childhood that led them down that path? People aren’t born criminals.

Matt S.
Matt S.
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

Maybe they’re are, it just takes a minute to mentally and physically mature to commit crimes.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt S.

In that case, wouldn’t it save time to identify those with inborn criminality early on, say by kindergarten age? That way they could be more effectively prepared for their eventual life of incarceration! Maybe while future responsible citizens are playing Little League, the naturally criminal tykes could be learning to stamp license plates!

Fred W
Fred W
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

“I’m not going to sit here and advocate for more attention on bike theft..when we have so many issues with people on the street and so many issues with police brutality….”

Jonathan Maus (Interview with KGW April 13, 2021)

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred W

Yes, the 6 months of fake astroturf “protests” (or breaking windows for the hell of it…) in this Lilly White city were so necessary…

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  dwk

You are being completely bad faith to the point of lying if you characterize those protests as “astroturf”. That’s ridiculous and it’s just straight denial of the fact that people actually have a legitimate grievance. You can disagree all day about if you think they were right or not, but they were 100% not astroturf.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred W

Interesting that an e-bike theft gets a big bold headline at BikePortland while regular bike thefts get downplayed and swept under the rug.

maxD
maxD
1 year ago

I think its a good call, having a bike stolen is a horrible experience, but being hijacked at gunpoint is next level and this is the first I have heard of in Portland.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

yes, keep in mind that I was away from Portland on a family trip and got a text from Lisa that someone with a bike was robbed at gunpoint.. That’s all we knew at the time so I decided it was something we needed to inform the community about ASAP. I realize sometimes stories like this can be messy and we might never know exactly what happened. My goal is to err on the side of warning the community of threats and then share as much accurate information we can.

Millie
Millie
1 year ago

This theft most likely happened at the by the Timberwolves Cycle Recovery (Instagram link here.) I think it’s worth running another story on them.

Community defense is important as an alternative to Police violence. But what should this look like? and how can we avoid reproducing state violence in order to do this?

Steve C
Steve C
1 year ago
Reply to  Millie

Interesting, the plot thickens

Steve C
Steve C
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve C

Random thought: If the owner claimed the loss of the bike on their renters or homeowners insurance as some policies purportedly allow. And then the bicycle is subsequently recovered, months later. Is there a duty to notify the insurance company? Assuming there was a payout, does the company now own the bike?

When my car was stolen and I took a settlement from my insurance, they said if the car was subsequently recovered they owned it and would sell it at auction.

Is the owner committing fraud if they for instance keep it or decide to sell it without the insurance co’s knowledge?

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Millie

What’s the difference between “community defense” and “vigilantism”?

X
X
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Community defense is knowing your neighbors and caring about what happens to them and by extension, to their stuff. Vigilantism is seeking out people that you take to be offenders and punishing them without due process. There’s a lot of space in between.

I’d consider what the Timberwolves have done to be closer to community defense. They reclaimed identifiable property without arms or physical violence. They did not assert a non-judicial right to arrest or punish which is more or less how I would define vigilantism.

I once reclaimed my well-known and practically unique personal property from a person in my neighborhood who displayed a pellet pistol in the course of the affair. The police arrived about 40 minutes later. I described the events. Paraphrase: no harm no foul, our work here is done.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Millie

Thanks. I‘be reached out to that group about this and hope to hear back soon.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Millie

I’ve reached out to that group and hope to hear back soon. Suffice it to say I will look into this and try to get some answers

Racer X
1 year ago

The use of a weapon & especially a gun, at this point in time (until it becomes normalized – I hope it never does reach that point) is definitely worth a “top of the fold” headline.

Royal Johnson
Royal Johnson
1 year ago

I’m the person that was there recovering the bicycle from the person in the tent, this bike was stolen out of my former friends garage on September 19th 2022. I am a cycle theft recovery advocate, and a cyclist as well, while this was going, there was no gun ever in the situation, the perp only said that so the cops would rush to this incident. There was no violence or anything of the sort, we fully matched the bicycle to our records. I wish that everyone in this situation can understand that we don’t disparage the homeless and that we act professionally in these situations.- SLVSbiketheftrecovery

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Royal Johnson

Thanks for commenting Royal. I have a story that will follow this one up and will hopefully clarify what happened. I haven’t been able to finish it today but it will likely publish Wednesday. I’ve spoken to another witness as well. I regret any confusion this initial story has caused.

Jim
Jim
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

His mommy didn’t hug him enough.

Racer X
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Doubtful it was hunger in this case, as he could have sold the wheels/ rims or done a few Uber / Lyft rides for a grocery run. “ The suspect was described as …driving a grey BMW SUV.”

It is more likely he has been reading the Portland press and was tired of buying gas / paying for expensive parking so he upgraded for an ebike. (Sarcasm).

[Glad the cyclist was not shot and hope PPB reactivates the bike patrol .]

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

Can anyone be more defensive?
Who scapegoats Hardesty anymore? ***Moderator: deleted end of sentence***
It was a simple crime. Not a right wing indictment of you.
Yes, Portland needs more policing, I don’t think that is controversial unless you are taking the brown acid…

was carless
was carless
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

I doubt many homeless people are driving around brand new $85,000 BMW SUVs dude.

Pierre Deloux
Pierre Deloux
1 year ago
Reply to  was carless

Probably stolen. Even though I am dismayed by how we have enabled homelessness in Portland I don’t think most of these criminal types are unhoused. Maybe better to only ride junker bikes in Portland.

Christopher of Portland
Christopher of Portland
1 year ago
Reply to  was carless

Was it described as brand new? You can find several gray BMW SUVs on craigslist for under $8,500. Old ones are no more expensive or prestigious than a lot of less “luxurious” vehicles at this point.

Dwk
Dwk
1 year ago

And your point is that it was okay to steal the bike because it might have only been an $8,500 car that was used?
Thats it?

Christopher of Portland
Christopher of Portland
1 year ago
Reply to  Dwk

This is a strange assumption about what I said.

Jim
Jim
1 year ago
Reply to  dw

“ Before the rash of comments scapegoating the homeless”

I know right, was it the gray BMW SUV that screamed homeless to you, as well?

was carless
was carless
1 year ago

This is basically in front of an elementary school, while the school was in session and hundreds of kids were on lunch recess. Why were we not informed of this?!

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  was carless

On the other side of the freeway, and it wasn’t a man-hunt, but rather a reported crime after the fact. I suggest you ask the PPB and your school’s leadership why no one was told.

Michael
Michael
1 year ago

I am just one old man on a nice bicycle. I quit riding in Portland three years ago. Used to go from Fort Vancouver into downtown Portland, eat a couple of tacos and down a couple of beers and head back north. fun ride. But who wants to go for a ride in a place where you feel the need to be packing heat? Portland’s nosedive continues to steepen and accelerate..

Pablo R
Pablo R
1 year ago

Terrible. This is why I now ride less in Portland than I used to. 🙁

Can’t wait for the crime apologists of Portland to chime in. Here is a preview:

“This happens everywhere”
“It’s the pandemic”
“Insurance should cover this”
“This is caused by the price of housing”
“This is not good, but people are suffering” (so it’s okay)
“We need to look at root causes and think of what the thief has been through” (they are the true victim here)

blumdrew
blumdrew
1 year ago
Reply to  Pablo R

You can (and should) differentiate between solving root causes of criminality and being a responsible/street smart citizen.

I see reports like this and it definitely bums me out. It sounds awfully traumatic to endure something like a robbery at gun point. That said, it doesn’t really affect how I chose to get around though. I will still bike as my primary means of transportation, because I still love doing it, and because I can reason with myself that a theft at gunpoint is much much less likely to occur than a car-related crash (which in my estimation is still the largest risk). The bike theft that worries me more is still the lock-cut variety. And in that sense, I do prefer to ride transit or walk to some parts of town (especially after dark). I recently took the bus to Stark/Grand rather than bike because I was mildly concerned about it being stolen for the few hours I was busy for after dark there.

And concerning root causes of criminality, poverty is overwhelmingly the largest contributor to criminality. When people bring that up, they (shouldn’t) be referring to preventing a singular crime – it’s about reducing the likelihood that crimes occur in the aggregate.

I’d also like to say that I don’t see a single person saying any of the things you are referencing here – other than dw’s comment about root causes (which I think does a fine job of discussing both root causes and the individual case in the article).

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  blumdrew

causes of criminality

We’ve been talking about addressing the root causes of criminality for many decades. For whatever reason, despite falling numbers of children living in poverty, we’ve been unable to be “tough on the causes of crime” in a way that reduces lived criminality. Either we don’t know how, or don’t want to spend the resources.

Probably both.

blumdrew
blumdrew
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Eh, overall poverty rates have been fairly steady since the 60s. Undoubtedly, poverty in the US is lower now that it was 100 years ago, but our currently political system seems to have stalled out in reducing it much further. Crime is a notoriously difficult statistical measure, but from 1900-2001, a large fall in homicide rate is observed in the economic boom times between 1940 and 1968 or so.

It’s certainly not straightforward to create policy that allows for similar economic conditions that persisted in the post-WWII era in the US. I wouldn’t pretend to know how – but it is worth talking about how that era also coincides with the New Deal political era. Which included tons of programs that would be considered “socialist” today (the TVA, PWA, and WPA come to mind). If we want to reduce poverty and by extension criminality, some more intense government intervention will be needed than just dancing around things with half baked measures and tax incentives (which seems to be all we get these days).

Romy G
Romy G
1 year ago

Here’s a great news segment on the elimination of the Bike Theft Task Force (with an appearance by none other than Jonathan Maus). Jonathan implies that bike theft enforcement is not that important due to other priorities. And we wonder how we got here….

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz7qa_c1B3E

Shawne Martinez (Guest author)
Shawne Martinez
1 year ago

Hi Friends! It wasn’t us. We are safe. This is just a file image of the area.

cyclingistruth
cyclingistruth
1 year ago

Lisa,
You better check with Jonathan before you publish any more stories about bike crime or car on pedestrian and bike violence. My Bike Portland forum account was recently disabled for posts like this about bike crime and traffic violence. Frustrating and alarming when one of the biggest local bike and pedestrian advocacy sites shuts down voices bringing awareness to the terrible increase in death and injuries caused by automobiles in the Rose City. Unfortunate to see such intolerance to varying opinions and input that are striving to make Portland’s streets safer for ALL.

cyclingistruth
cyclingistruth
1 year ago

Thanks. I find it concerning how he limits and stifles information and opinions on Portland traffic violence & homeless impacts on cyclists and pedestrians in the Bike Portland forums. Guess he doesn’t like that much of a dose of realty??? (Sorry but that’s how I see it).

squareman
squareman
1 year ago
Reply to  cyclingistruth

Maybe you should start a Portland bike blog and build an audience from there.

Ray
Ray
1 year ago
Reply to  cyclingistruth

Your so-called “varying opinions and input” are(were!) nothing more than you posting links to news articles and then lamenting the decline of “lawless Portland” without offering anything constructive. A completely useless endeavor.

Cyclingistruth
Cyclingistruth
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray

Ray,
We can’t fix our problems until we realize we have them. Raising awareness of how we are failing our community is paramount in improving it. Keeping one’s head buried in the sand is the useless endeavor—that behavior actually perpetuates our failures.

Ray
Ray
1 year ago
Reply to  Cyclingistruth

I actually agree with your expressed sentiment.

Having said that, I’d posit that the vast majority of visitors here to BikePortland (blog and forums) do in fact realize that there are many problems in Portland in regard to public safety. The disagreements usually seem to stem from what the priorities are and possible solutions to any specific issue. And of course, just throwing money at it simply won’t work. I don’t have any answers, and it doesn’t seem like you do, either.

I’m nearly positive that every article you linked to (that I saw) was an article or event I had already seen. Your commentary attached to the article is simply tiresome coming from someone who hasn’t offered anything substantive.

Enjoy your day.

Charley
Charley
1 year ago
Reply to  cyclingistruth

Bike Portland is a business, you know? It’s not your business, either. So Maus and company can make editorial decisions about what news they print as well as what comments they allow! It’s their job to create a site that people want to read, and if they allow it to become a cesspool, with nothing but diatribes against Portland or against homeless people, fewer readers will click. That’s bad for the business, and kind of useless, to boot. It’s not like BP only covers good news!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  cyclingistruth

it’s a bit more complicated than you make it seem. I disabled your forum account because you posted way too much and frankly I think the stuff you post about, the volume of your posts, and the tone of your posts are annoying and not as helpful as they could be. And yes, this is my business and I will make decisions that I feel are in my business’s best interest. Your assertion that I am somehow “shutting down voices” and don’t want “reality” to come out are pretty absurd and not supported by my very detailed and long public record of actions and decisions.

Curtis
Curtis
1 year ago

The BMW was probably stolen at gun point too.

I used to work in that area in the late 90s and again in 2019, it’s always been sketchy. I stopped riding in that area years ago, especially near the overpasses of Morrison and Hawthorne bridges.

pedro ferbel-azcarate
pedro ferbel-azcarate
1 year ago

Need more info to discern this situation. Someone driving a bmw suv stole an electric bike at gunpoint.

Did they ask for help loading it into the trunk? Think about it! Need more info. No other witnesses at 11.30 AM in this high traffic area?

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

I agree with pedro. The whole story doesn’t add up for me.

Vote for Pedro.

John J
John J
1 year ago

So, this story is just a fund raising campaign?

pedro ferbel-azcarate
pedro ferbel-azcarate
1 year ago

I appreciate your reporting so that we can be better informed.

I notice how your readers respond to your reporting, beyond what you were reporting on, blaming the houseless, fears of crime etc.

I question the story because I have an electric bike and I bike by that intersection on my commute. With my experience loading my heavy bike into a van, the SUV reference is intriguing and made me wonder what actually happened. Was there a police report? Does OHSU have more information?

I want to encourage you to keep reporting so we can be better informed.

Thank you!

qqq
qqq
1 year ago

It’s not a really high traffic area in my experience. And it’s incredibly loud, not a place that anyone lingers at, and there are hardly any buildings nearby with potential witnesses. And it would take just a few seconds.

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5047531,-122.6736841,3a,75y,345.02h,103.27t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKGros18gvlVMqvm3ZLB9Zw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

It was an SUV, so there’s a large, easily accessible cargo area (not a trunk) and electric bikes aren’t so heavy that one person couldn’t load it in.

And if someone were making up this story, it seems weird they’d choose a BMW SUV as the thief’s vehicle.

And if you wanted to find a place where you’re guaranteed to come across someone driving an electric bike, the South Waterfront seems perfect. And of all places in the South Waterfront to stop a biker and load their bike into a vehicle, this location makes sense.

Not guaranteeing it happened, just saying it seems totally plausible to me.

pedro ferbel-azcarate
pedro ferbel-azcarate
1 year ago
Reply to  qqq

You bring up good points.

My experience putting my electric bike into my Nissan NV 200 cargo van is difficult but not impossible. I am not doubting something happened; I am curious about the details to better understand as I will continue to bike the springwater, across the tilacum, and through that intersection.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago

There are lots of different kinds of electric bikes. Not all are like SUVs on two wheels.

Kris Chalmers
Kris Chalmers
1 year ago

Pointing a gun at someone is a crime, no way around that. But otherwise this is a property dispute and the tent dweller admits that it was stolen “from his sister” and they were “taking it back” aka they stole it from someone else.

At this point any police investigation should require documentation of ownership: a serial number, registration, proof of purchase, photo of the alleged owner with the bike, etc. Otherwise this story is a load of bull.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago

Aw man! That’s awful. I hope that person is ok.

Beth hart
1 year ago

Portland is a bike unfriendly city I have had my bike stolen my stuff stolen off my bike I have an electric bike and I know it for valuable time always. Cautious I had to quit riding the bike path to the harassment the actual physical altercation of people trying to shove me off my bike the bike path are worthless they are now just Tweaker cities

JG
JG
1 year ago

I’ve never had any safety concerns at that intersection, especially in broad daylight, though that MUP and the stretch up to/on Harbor Way are sort of isolated (and the latter is in real need of an upgrade). I’ll keep going that way on my ebike, though cutting down River Parkway to Moody would be a decent alternative. But it has streetcar tracks.

Julie R
Julie R
1 year ago
Reply to  JG

Just because you’ve never had a problem doesn’t mean it’s safe or not a problem to have cyclists “bikejacked” at gunpoint right?

Jd
Jd
1 year ago

This is exactly why I stay home with the blinds drawn and shiver in fear these days. Good thing I have a smart trainer so I can at least pretend to remember how it feels to ride my bike outside.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Jd

I think you’ve summarized this comment section pretty well.

I rode through this spot twice this past weekend. Life is a game of risk mitigation, and I guess everyone has different levels of comfort. I’ve been riding in this city for 20+ years, and it’s definitely changed. I see a lot more luxury SUVs carting around expensive-looking gravel bikes on weekend mornings now.

maxD
maxD
1 year ago

I walked through there less than 30 minutes after this, I find this shocking! I work near this intersection and bike through here 2X daily and walk here at least once in the middle of the day. There are always others people walking and cycling here, many regulars who I see every week. The freeway is a super negative presence, but overall it is very calm and friendly area. I find it super hard to imagine an armed robbery at 11:30 on Friday- it was so sunny- the path was mobbed with joggers and dog walkers. I would love to learn any additional details- this is such a strange story. I hope the bike is recovered and the the is caught and punished

maxD
maxD
1 year ago

I did not meant to imply doubt- I believe it- I am just surprised and confused and want to know more! I I had walked the dogs 20 minutes earlier I could have witnessed that!

Racer X
1 year ago
Reply to  maxD

maxD…since you walk through this intersection a lot, do you remember e-bike(s) generally being parked next to or under tents / tarps? (Based on the victim statement update.)

maxD
maxD
1 year ago
Reply to  Racer X

No. I did notice a tent get set up on Poet’s beach- I think Thursday evening. There are not too many other tents around. I walk by that tent and there wasn’t a bike on the path or nearby, but noone was around so they were presumably riding it.

Pat Lowell
Pat Lowell
1 year ago

There was a recent post on NextDoor about a driver in a grey BMV SUV almost hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk in the NW 23rd area, then following the pedestrian to the Fred Meyer and spraying him with mace. That just stuck out to me as I read about another incident involving a grey BMW SUV..

Kris Chalmers
Kris Chalmers
1 year ago

The victim told officers the bike had been stolen from his sister, so he was taking it back.

Something doesn’t add up here. We’re taking the word of someone who was apparently storing a presumably multi-thousand-dollar e-bike in an illegal encampment, as truth. Let’s see a serial number, BikeIndex registration, receipt, etc., anything proving that they have any ownership whatsoever of this property.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris Chalmers

This update really changes the story. Sounds like a bike theft victim found their bike, presumably in the camp of someone who either stole it or received it as stolen goods, and then took it back at gunpoint as to avoid getting stabbed or shot in the process.

Dwk
Dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Welcome to the wild west…
Who needs a police force, what could go wrong?

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 year ago
Reply to  Dwk

We have no police force in Portland

Boyrd
Boyrd
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Also, based on the update, it sounds like there may not have been a gun involved at all. The person that took the bike may have claimed to have a gun, according to the police report. But saying that this was a gunpoint robbery was a bit of a stretch, given the new information.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Boyrd

The report says a gun was displayed.

Adam
Adam
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

The victim reported the gun was displayed. That does not, in and of itself, in fact mean a gun was displayed.

Racer X
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Bike Portland readers…stay tuned to this “Bat Channel” and “buckle up”.

The evolution of this story is making it far more interesting…it could go in one of two [or three] ways…almost a ‘1970s crime movie’ in the making (vigilante or victim …in the new Portland) for Filmed by Bike. Potential titles: ” ‘Dirty Sprocket’ along the Waterfront”, or “Unprotected Bikeways of Inner Portland”

Now a follow up question: did the “sister” file a police report for the previously “stolen and recovered” bike the ‘victim’ was holder for her…perhaps Bike Portland can follow up with the PPB, as a request from the press. This might help clear up everything.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris Chalmers

Camping on public property is not illegal. Prohibiting camping on public property while shelter bed capacity is insufficient to meet the needs of the unhoused population is illegal in Oregon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_v._Boise

Jesus Monteban
Jesus Monteban
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

No, that’s just our city / county’s warped interpretation of the ruling.

Trespassing is trespassing, and the squatters have no right to seize public property for months at a time. Stop the madness.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesus Monteban

Does obstructing sidewalks with cement-filled metal barrels for months at a time count as “seizing public property”? Asking for a friend.

IMG_20220327_224744.jpg
Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

That has to be one of the clearest sidewalks I’ve seen in the city. No restaurant seating, sandwich boards, or tents in site!

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Maybe because it’s next to a fenced-in vacant lot. Not sure how sandwich boards or restaurant seating make a place “unclean” though.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

Camping on public property is not illegal.

According to your link, the city can restrict camping on public property, just not ban it in a blanket manner. That particular campsite could very well be illegal.

The ruling held that cities cannot enforce anti-camping ordinances if they do not have enough homeless shelter beds available for their homeless population.[2][3] It did not necessarily mean a city cannot enforce any restrictions on camping on public property.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago

Given the recent update from PPB it sounds like there’s a lot missing from this story and I’m not inclined to believe that any involved party actually owns this bike. Let’s see some proof.

TK
TK
1 year ago

As so often with these type of incidents, lot’s of speculation going on. I’ve got one, maybe the guy with the gun was the original owner and reclaiming an e-bike that had been stolen and went outside a system that is broken. Of course, I have no idea whether that happened or not.

J_R
J_R
1 year ago

Well, well, well. It’s sounding more likely that the guy(s) in the BMW SUV were recovering a stolen bicycle than stealing one.

Who’s more likely to actually own an e-bike, a guy driving a BMW SUV or a guy sleeping in a tent under an overpass at 11:30 am?

There are plenty of people contributing to his forum who absolutely believe that the bicycles and parts in the encampments along the multi-use paths are simply cast offs given to campers. I don’t, but that’s because I don’t believe the shopping carts were given to them by the managers of Safeway, Target, Home Depot and Fred Meyer.

While I agree the unhoused can be victims of crimes, I’m inclined to think this was a stolen bike recovery effort by the actual owner who’s given up on the city and the PPB.

Unless the city makes some real strides in addressing the problems, I think we’ll witness more citizen resorting to vigilantism.

blumdrew
blumdrew
1 year ago
Reply to  J_R

While I agree the unhoused can be victims of crimes, I’m inclined to think this was a stolen bike recovery effort by the actual owner who’s given up on the city and the PPB.

Unhoused Portlanders are like 10x more likely to be victims of crimes. They bear almost the entirety of the “crime spike”. And they bear almost the entirety of the spike in pedestrian deaths as well. Saying that they “can” be victims of crimes is underselling it.

I have never seen a single person in the comments section say that the bikes and parts in encampment bike chop shops are “cast offs” or “gifts” – and I spend far too much of my time here.

And hey, even if someone stole my bike I wouldn’t pull a gun on them if I was trying to take it back.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I have never seen a single person in the comments section say that the bikes and parts in encampment bike chop shops are “cast offs” or “gifts” 

I have, but I doubt people posting comments like that even believe it themselves.

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

I remember some spirited, but mainly emotional debates between the “they’re all cast offs” vs the “they’re open air chop shops” sides, but that was several years ago.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago

The evolution of the comments on this post is fascinating. What was originally a terrible crime suddenly became justifiable vigilantism as soon as it was made clear that the victim was an unhoused person, along with demands for proof that the victim wasn’t the actual thief. Couldn’t make up this kind of naked classist prejudice if you tried.

Adam
Adam
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

It is true that people bring their priors when reading the same set of facts. Some are inclined to presume the innocence of the person reporting the crime, some are inclined to be skeptical.

We know that someone, who happened to be living out of a nearby tent, reported their sister’s bike was stolen as they were in the process of returning the bike to their sister.

That person then claimed that a white man, driving a silver BMW SUV, attempted to take it, and when confronted, displayed a gun.

The only evidence we have, so far, is the word of the person reporting the incident. Their word is not enough on which to build a criminal case. Their word is not enough to factually establish a gun was displayed.

Hopefully the police are following up with the reporter’s sister to verify she in fact owns a missing e-bike, expecting her brother to recover it for her.

If there are any security cameras or witnesses in the area that can verify any part of the reporter’s story that would be helpful.

Of course, if there ends up being no sister, or there is a sister, but she does not own an e-bike, then the rest of the reporter’s story has to be viewed as dubious.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Adam

Hi. To be clear, this is not the “reporter’s” story. We are just sharing out info that was shared with us. We are making no assumptions about anyone’s guilt or innocence and fully acknowledge that what really happened is only hearsay until more provable facts emerge. I will reread the story to make sure it’s objective and as accurate as possible given the information out there so far.

Ray
Ray
1 year ago

Jonathan,
I believe Adam was using “reporter” in reference to the person who reported the theft.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Ray

OK thank you Ray.

Jesus Monteban
Jesus Monteban
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

I suppose you’re one of the people who believe that becoming houseless automatically makes one incapable of committing a crime?

This story stinks. We’ve had it with the constant gaslighting.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesus Monteban

Yup, it’s very fishy that the so-called “victim” would “report” a “robbery” to the “police”. Sure sounds like something a criminal would do. I am very smart.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Fuller

It’s time to admit you were/are wrong:
https://bikeportland.org/2023/03/22/what-really-happened-with-that-bike-theft-confrontation-in-south-waterfront-371759

The person reporting the “crime” fabricated nearly the entire story.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
1 year ago

Obviously there’s more to this story than any of us knows. It does appear, however, that this was not a random armed robbery of someone who just happened to be riding an E-bike in the South Waterfront neighborhood in the middle of a weekday, which was the conclusion I jumped to when the article was first posted.

To connect it to the previous hot topic article about plummeting rider share in PDX, hopefully a more complete story will reduce the fear factor some might have experienced. That’s not at all to say that we shouldn’t be concerned that many drivers are armed, and that bike theft in Portland is epidemic. But I bike commute 3x/week to South Waterfront and I know many other cyclists who do as well, and it feels pretty safe for us. I would hope that emerging info about this incident will serve to calm the fears some may have had about riding in this area.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 year ago

This was not armed robbery. This was a stolen bike recovery. Please correct this story. The person that claimed there was a gun was actually the belligerent person in possession of the stolen bike. There was no firearms involved. The person that recovered the bike is a well know person in the bike community.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Jay Cee

yes we know that now Jay Cee. New story coming Wednesday morning.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 year ago

I hope that the person that filed a fake police report about being robbed with a gun is held accountable. He put people in potential danger with this false report.

Skid
Skid
1 year ago

Now we’re calling thieves “victims”. I’ve been homeless more than once and never stole a bike.