Sandy Ridge trail users report confrontations with mace-toting couple

Sandy Ridge trail users report confrontations with mace-toting couple

Sandy Ridge sign

(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Users of the popular Sandy Ridge MTB Trail System are speaking out about an unidentified couple they say has repeatedly threatened and assaulted people during and after their bike rides.

According to allegations, an “older couple” has hiked up the mountain bike trails from the parking lot and “accosted” riders.

Members of the Sandy Ridge Trailhead Mountain Bikers Facebook group have been discussing the incidents since last month. One member of the group, Brian F., described an incident he claims took place on February 26th:

“last night the crazy gun toting, bear mace your dog couple struck again to my friend m***** in the lower parking lot. the woman maced ender, the dog… the older man has pulled his weapon on 2 of my friends in the parking lot and the woman carries a can of bear mace, they dont like dogs or bikers and hike the trails.”

Following this incident, the couple was followed home and their address was reportedly handed over to law enforcement.

Another Sandy Ridge trail user we’ve been in contact with via email said several other groups of riders have also had confrontations with this same couple. It’s not clear why the couple is targeting mountain bikers; but some suspect they are particularly annoyed with the riders’ off-leash dogs. (It’s worth noting that the Sandy Ridge Trail System was developed by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the Bureau of Land Management specifically as a mountain bike riding area. As such, it has become a very popular regional riding destination and it’s not that common to see people hiking on the trails.)

We first heard about the incidents last week and we are still following up with local authorities to learn more. There are three agencies that have jurisdiction at and around Sandy Ridge: The BLM, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Water Bureau.

The Water Bureau has a stake in Sandy Ridge because of it’s proximity to the Bull Run watershed. Their public information officer, Tim Hall, said he’s been notified by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office about the situation, but so far he’s not aware of any trail users that have come forward to file an official complaint against the couple. Hall confirmed that Water Bureau security guards are aware of mace being used on a dog and officers have interacted with the couple. Hall says the couple hike the trails a lot and “They’re fearful of the dogs going off leash.” Hall added that Water Bureau security officers have passed the case on to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Clackamas County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Griffin told us he’s aware of the incidents in the area; but that there is not active investigation at this time. (Some of the trail users are skeptical about law enforcement getting involved because no one has gotten hurt yet.) We’ve left a message with the Sheriff’s Office public information officer to learn if any other other investigations have been opened.

We’ll continue to follow this case and post updates as warranted.

In the meantime, if you have come in contact with this couple or if you have more information about these incidents, please call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at (503) 655-8211.

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