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Category: assault

Woman seriously injured after mysterious crash on Columbia Slough path

Woman seriously injured after mysterious crash on Columbia Slough path

Ride Along with Ben Sanders - Vancouver to Lake Oswego-23.jpg

Riding along the Columbia Slough path north of Kenton.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Skjelse Rapoch thought she’d just had a very bad crash while riding her bike. Now the police her family thinks she might have been attacked.

It happened Tuesday night while Rapoch was riding on the Columbia Slough path en route to Portland International Raceway where her husband (who works at Velo Cult Bike Shop) was competing in a cyclocross race. Details of the incident are scarce because Rapoch doesn’t remember anything. It was only after she was recovering in the hospital that she spoke to police and began to put the pieces together.

“What we initially thought was a terrible bicycle accident,” her family says, “is the result of something far more sinister…. it would appear an individual(s) was hiding along the path and hit Skjelse in the face with a rock while she was riding by.”

According to statements from Rapoch and her family, the police are now investigating this as a possible assault (update: the police say there is no evidence to suggest it was an attack).

A rider who found Rapoch says they saw a lone suspect fleeing the area as they rolled up. Rapoch says police have found a bloody rock has been found nearby that matches her facial trauma.






Screengrab from fundraising page set up for Skjelse Rapoch.

Screengrab from fundraising page set up for Skjelse Rapoch.

While we don’t know much about the motives of the attack or the identity of a suspect, what we do know is that Rapoch has been very seriously injured. She was found unconscious on the path and suffered a severe concussion as well as numerous facial injuiries. She faces an long and arduous road to recovery and her family has started a fundraising campaign to alleviate some of the financial burden. So far over $10,000 has been raised.

The path she was riding on is very popular and recently received a significant upgrade that includes new connections to PIR and North Denver Avenue that leads up into the Kenton neighborhood. In 2014 we shared a ride report and said this path is perfect for families.

Over the past year or so we’ve heard from several readers who say a group of people live in tents and other housing structures along the Columbia Slough β€” especially under the bridge that connects Schmeer Road and Denver. In December of last year we got a report of a suspected chop shop in this area. One reader said he saw shopping carts full of bike parts and frames. The addition of people living along these paths has changed the riding environment.

If you’d like to help Rapoch get through her injuries and the medical pills that are headed her way, hit the GoFundMe link. If you have any information about what happened to her, please contact the Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

UPDATE, 9/19: Here’s the latest from the Portland Police Bureau:

At this point, we cannot verify whether or not it was an assault as the victim has no memory, there are no eyewitnesses or suspect information. The information about people hiding along the trail and throwing a rock that struck the victim has not been verified. The incident is suspicious enough to warrant further investigation. Anyone with information should call Assault detectives at 503-823-0400.

β€” Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Woman seriously injured after mysterious crash on Columbia Slough path appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Four year sentence in brick-throwing bike assault case is a rarity

Four year sentence in brick-throwing bike assault case is a rarity

Robert Hudgens, a 15-year-old who threw a brick into the face of a man bicycling past him on NE Tillamook back in April was sentenced to four years in prison yesterday .

The Oregonian had a reporter in the courtroom. Here’s a snip from her story:

Police say Hudgens and a 15-year-old friend were throwing bricks at cyclists on the evening of April 19. One cyclist, Jonathan Garris, 52 of Northeast Portland, reported getting hit in the leg. A 27-year-old cyclist also said he was targeted, but not hit.

It’s unclear who struck Garris. But Hudgens was charged with striking Richardson. His friend apparently missed the cyclists, so instead of being prosecuted for a Measure 11 felony in adult court as Hudgens was, the friend was charged with a misdemeanor and allowed into juvenile court.


Read full details and watch a video that includes a statement from victim Adrian Richardson, via The Oregonian.

Assault and harassment of bicycle riders is more common than you might think. While incidents like this that result in serious injuries are very rare, and felony convictions are even more so, I’m always disturbed by the amount of harassment I hear about. It’s a frustrating issue because, unless the case involves physical harm and a victim who will come forward to help with the prosecution, these things usually go unnoticed.

Here’s one such case that a reader shared with us last month:

“Last night at around 1:30am I was on US Grant Place and 37th-ish with my partner, riding to South Tabor from a party near Mississippi. We both were wearing helmets, riding single file with me in back (pretty close to the curb since there were no parked cars), and had our lights on. I heard a car coming up from behind, but we were just chatting away waiting for it to pass. The car pulled up extremely close next to me and slowed way down. As I turned towards it to look, pretty confused as to why it was there, someone hanging halfway out the back window (I believe a woman, looked around mid 20s) said something about “cyclists”, reached out with both arms to grab my backpack, and pulled me down on the ground. By the time I looked up, they were speeding around the corner. It happened so incredibly fast and was so confusing that neither of us caught the license plate or a better description other than to say it was a light gold or silver sedan.”

In the above case, there was a physical assault, but no suspect. And it’s unknown whether the police were notified and/or what they could have done given no solid evidence or leads.

Then there’s the incident below that happened on Monday in Damascus (southeast of Portland) and that’s making the rounds on Facebook:

“Today (at around 1:00) this woman was in such a hurry to get to the bank in Damascus, and I impeded her driving by 5 seconds by being on the road, so she tried to run me off the road by passing me so close I had to move into the dirt (almost ditch) to avoid being hit while blaring her horn and swerving into where I would have been had I not braked at the last second. I got to the stop at the same time as her and followed her to the Key Bank to talk with her, educate her, and remind her that I am a person, and that my family depends on me and that I have kids. She asked the teller to call the police (I wish they would have) and proceeded to tell me that I should have not been in her way, I should not be on the road, that I need training wheels, and the next time she sees a cyclist she will make sure she hits them and she hopes it is me.”

That type of thing is relatively common. But, without any contact being made by the driver, it wouldn’t be considered Assault under Oregon law. Instead, it would be a case of Menacing (ORS 163.190), which is a Class A misdemeanor.

When trying to figure out how to deal with these type of interactions, knowledge is your friend. To learn more about the various types of harassment, what your legal rights are, and what you can do about it, I strongly recommend reading Part III of Ray Thomas’ excellent Pedal Power Legal Guide. It’s a free PDF download available on his website.

The post Four year sentence in brick-throwing bike assault case is a rarity appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Police arrest three teens, one in connection with bike-related assault

Police arrest three teens, one in connection with bike-related assault

Portland police arrested a teen boy Sunday in an iPhone robbery who they say is linked to an Aug. 19 assault and robbery involving a person on a bike.

Samaryia Lambert, 15, was taken in along with Aureaunte Bennett, 15, and Anthony Madison, 16, after several officers with a police dog responded to a 9:53 p.m. robbery of a person at Northeast 21st and Alberta by three teens. The alleged victim identified all three, police said.

Lambert was then identified by detectives as “the suspect in an Aug. 19 assault and robbery at Northeast 17th Avenue and Klickitat Street, where the victim was assaulted and knocked off his bicycle,” according to a police news release.

“Robbery detectives are reviewing other reports to determine if any of the suspects may have been involved in other assaults or robberies in Portland,” the news release said.

The unwritten implication here is that there may be a connection to the string of bike-related assaults by small groups of young people that attracted media attention last month on our site and others. We’ll refrain from speculating, except to hope that the criminals are indeed caught.

Lambert was arrested on suspicion of two counts of second-degree robbery and one third-degree assault. Bennett and Madison were suspected of one count each of second-degree robbery. Police released the minors’ names because Robbery II is a serious enough crime to trigger the state’s manatory minimum sentencing laws.

“Anyone with information about this group is asked to contact Det. Robert Hollins at (503) 823-3441 or robert.hollins@portlandoregon.gov,” the news release said.

Police arrest three teens, one in connection with bike-related assault

Police arrest three teens, one in connection with bike-related assault

Portland police arrested a teen boy Sunday in an iPhone robbery who they say is linked to an Aug. 19 assault and robbery involving a person on a bike.

Samaryia Lambert, 15, was taken in along with Aureaunte Bennett, 15, and Anthony Madison, 16, after several officers with a police dog responded to a 9:53 p.m. robbery of a person at Northeast 21st and Alberta by three teens. The alleged victim identified all three, police said.

Lambert was then identified by detectives as “the suspect in an Aug. 19 assault and robbery at Northeast 17th Avenue and Klickitat Street, where the victim was assaulted and knocked off his bicycle,” according to a police news release.

“Robbery detectives are reviewing other reports to determine if any of the suspects may have been involved in other assaults or robberies in Portland,” the news release said.

The unwritten implication here is that there may be a connection to the string of bike-related assaults by small groups of young people that attracted media attention last month on our site and others. We’ll refrain from speculating, except to hope that the criminals are indeed caught.

Lambert was arrested on suspicion of two counts of second-degree robbery and one third-degree assault. Bennett and Madison were suspected of one count each of second-degree robbery. Police released the minors’ names because Robbery II is a serious enough crime to trigger the state’s manatory minimum sentencing laws.

“Anyone with information about this group is asked to contact Det. Robert Hollins at (503) 823-3441 or robert.hollins@portlandoregon.gov,” the news release said.

‘Redditors’ set up donation fund for man assaulted while biking on MLK

‘Redditors’ set up donation fund for man assaulted while biking on MLK

Reddit user “SpanishMoles” shows off the damage.

A man who was bicycling down Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in northeast Portland on Sunday was allegedly the victim of an assault. After he posted a photo of his injuries to user-powered news site Reddit, a community of strangers has started donating money to help rehabilitate his injuries.

Yesterday morning, Reddit user “SpanishMoles” posted: “Some kids threw a traffic cone at me while I was riding my bike down MLK. Any other shitty areas I should avoid?” He called the police, whom he says were “helpful”, but they had no luck finding the three young kids who he saw throw the cone at him.

As you might expect, comments poured in and the online discussion touched on many different issues including: SpanishMoles’ route selection (most people avoid riding on MLK, which is a state highway); whether or not the assault happened because he was on a bike, or simply because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time; and so on.

As you can see in the photo, SpanishMoles suffered several chipped teeth when the traffic cone made him lose control of his bike. When fellow Redditors realized he didn’t have dental insurance, one of them decided to do something about it.

After reading about this incident, Tim Oberlander set up a campaign at GoFundMe.com to help raise money for SpanishMoles’ dental work. “He mentioned how he didn’t have insurance in his post,” wrote Tim in an email to BikePortland, “Several people also stated they felt bad for him and wanted to help. I felt like it was a way to help someone out who had something out of their control happen and needed some help.”

Tim also felt bad because SpanishMoles had just recently moved to Portland from the Midwest (which explains why he didn’t realize there are other good bike routes besides MLK) with “a duffel bag, $100, and a bicycle.” In a comment, SpanishMoles shared his gratitude for the community support:

“You guys are amazing πŸ™ I’m going to Emergency Dental later today to see about getting some caps put on the teeth while I save up for two root canals. It looks like the caps will be about $400? I just hope they hold for a long enough time to get money together for a real fix. Whoever put together the fund to help me, I’m humbled and indebted to your generosity.

I moved to Portland about a month ago with a duffel bag, $100, and a bicycle from the Midwest. Needless to say, things have been rough, but this city is beautiful and it’s inhabitants are some of the most endearing and awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I think degenerates exist in every city and I unfortunately just encountered a group of ’em in a bad way.

Thanks everyone for you kind comments, advice, and everything you’ve offered me. I’m learning so much every day here.”

As for his choice to ride on MLK, SpanishMoles posted that he plans to find new routes in the future.

So far, $85 has been raised with a goal of $1,000. If you’d like to drop a few bucks in the jar, check out the donation site at GoFundMe.com.

UPDATE: For more on this story β€” and another, similar attack in northeast Portland, read coverage on OregonLive.com.