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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Eddie Report: Did gangster shootout feature an AR-15?

Our good friend Eddie the Lawyer files this correspondence after a round-trip ride on the MAX line:

Rode the MAX into downtown from Lloyd today and sat behind three "denizens of Old Town" who were busy swapping drugs and banter. At one point one asked the other two, a couple of sorts, if they had heard the shooting the other night. They said that they hadn't because they had apparently "slept through it," which I took to mean that they live in the area. The lone ranger then said that the word he got was that the shooter "broke out an AR-15 and started blasting." That magnitude of firepower would certainly explain the number of shots fired. It would also appear to be just the kind of fact that the O would prefer to ignore. The talker also said that the shooter had been hit by some return fire and was, in fact, the kid who showed up a couple of hours later at Emanuel Hospital. Scary stuff, and I have to say, although I wish it were not true, that I am finding my frequent trips downtown on the MAX from Lloyd for various hearings and appearances getting creepier and creepier.

On that same ride, a very badly tweaked out woman got on at the Old Town stop and immediately began screaming as though she had been stabbed. The fellow who had been sitting in front of me telling the story I have related above rose to the fray immediately and did a commendable job of calming the woman down. He appeared to know her. Then, on my ride home, an obviously mentally disabled Hispanic fellow about 21 years old made the mistake of audibly and repeatedly muttering comments to himself about two very tough looking, "large framed" and frankly pretty bruised up East County girls grooving to their i-pods. They told him repeatedly, and actually pretty courteously, to shut up, but when he persisted they jumped him and just pummeled him into the floor. These were a couple of big, tough girls, and nobody knew what to do. Fortunately, matters got heavy just as we reached my stop, and I got the hell out of there. But it really seemed like a bad sign of bad times.

Comments (28)

Jack, as a proud owner of an AR-15, I would be ashamed if it were used in such a manner. Seems to me it would more likely be an AK-47. AK owners are nuts!

Don't you just LOVE TriMet "Security" or the lack therof?
Could someone come up with the name of the adult idiot that "thought" it was a good idea NOT to have a turnstile type fare system on Max? Particularly when almost every large transit system has one?

I ride the MAX Blue line in from Gresham nearly every workday--and have for years. I would say about once every 10th ride, something happens that makes you feel uneasy in some way. Crazies, drunks, tweakers, punks, gangbangers, and drug dealers all ride the MAX for free every day. God knows which ones have weapons on them.

Dave A above is right, who was the moron who devised a system that allows anyone to walk right onto the train without paying? Are there any other U.S. cities of size that have a similar system? I haven't seen one.

I was recently in Istanbul for a week, and stayed in the old city area. One thing that I found interesting was their light-rail that looked almost identical to our Max system. Trains were almost identical.

This light-rail - they called it their tram - required a fare, and they figured out how to do it in very tight spaces. there were gates/turn-styles at every stop. Easy to circumvent their token system, but every stop additionally had a security guy to police the system and to provide info. I noted warnings of heavy fines and immediate arrest for anyone caught avoiding the fare, and I never noticed anyone trying to board for free.

One other curious thing is the tight spaces these trams ran thru. While we were walking on the sidewalks, we had to be careful to watch (or listen) for coming trains. In many places, the tram passed within inches of those walking on the sidewalk. In these areas, the tram crawled, clanking a bell and blasting a horn, to warn pedestrians. In less confining areas, it ran pretty fast, but it obeyed traffic signals with the buses and cars.

No bikes, but a few motorcycles and scooters were part of the traffic, and of course, the thousands of pedestrians. In the week we were there, didn't see any accidents or injuries. The survival techniques are well developed by all.

Oh, and I felt pretty safe riding at all hours. I think they have zero tolerance for bad behavior there, as I did not see any the entire time I was there. Something must be keeping them in line.

That's a whole bunch of Diversity and it sounds as it was very inclusive. Bravo!

The cops picked up a LOT of brass.

AK 47 is a tad over 7mm, AR-15 / M16 is a tad over 5.5mm. Ballistics reports will tell if its AK-57 or AR 15. The two calibers' brasses look nothing alike.

There area lot of AK - 47 30 round banana clips out there, and also some 30 round AR 15 stuff, but not quite so much so cheap.

Me, I'm betting on .40 or .45 pistol, or 9 / 1omm pistol, with a bunch of spare mags.

Jack - You can thank seeing all those crazies wandering around on Ronnie Raygun. It's not just in PDX either. Because Tri-Met cannot be bothered to serve my area, I rarely ever ride public transportation in PDX anymore. However, when I was in SF in July, staying in the Castro, I took public transportation almost everywhere and the number of crazy homeless folks on public transportation was disturbing to me. A couple of them tried to take care of the worst of the worst but by and large everyone normal tried to look the other way.

Nonny Mouse,

Every single AR-15 sold in the state of Oregon since the expiring of the assault weapon ban a few years back comes with a 30 round magazine or two. In recent years, the AR-15 is a very popular gun, so I am sure there are millions of 30 round magazines out there. Mine came with two. You can pick them up for around $15 at any surplus store as well.

Yesterday morning I was on MAX on my way to work when this guy got on and after a minute or two starting yelling at his reflection in the window. It was pretty odd. A lot of other people either got off at the next stop or moved to the other end of the train.

who was the moron who devised a system that allows anyone to walk right onto the train without paying? Are there any other U.S. cities of size that have a similar system? I haven't seen one.

San Jose
San Diego

Few European transit systems, other than subways, have turnstyles. Istanbul is really the exception, based on my limited experience. In Germany, even the subways don't — they operate in general on the honor system, with passengers required to carry a valid ticket. This also applies to intercity rail systems, where it's possible to ride without encountering a conductor. Our transit security problem isn't a lack of turnstyles: it's a lack of social support for the mentally ill and for drug addicts.

Our transit security problem isn't a lack of turnstyles: it's a lack of social support for the mentally ill and for drug addicts.

Agreed. It's also a near complete lack of any repercussions for boarding without a valid fare.

If TriMet put some fare inspectors out in force on a regular basis (and made sure all the ticket machines work) half their budget problems would be solved and the ride would be a lot more comfortable.

Istanbul would be a poor city to wish to emulate for level of safety. On my last visit of a month in the city there were two pedestrian deaths, a bombing had occurred and I personally had a gun stuck in my chest. All of this in a true police state where the police carry M16's. A great city yes but certainly not safe. Not by a long shot. Portland is the safest city I have ever lived in. I hear cul de sac's are very safe.

I hear cul de sac's are very safe.
Correct, but Metro and Portland wants to eliminate them because they hurt walkability and bikeability.

See this for more crime encouraging things Portland does:

New Urbanism and Crime,
presented by Stephen Town, West Yorkshire Police Dept


"AK 47 is a tad over 7mm, AR-15 / M16 is a tad over 5.5mm. Ballistics reports will tell if its AK-57 or AR 15. The two calibers' brasses look nothing alike."

Just for accuracy, the AR-15 can be configured for several different types of ammunition by changing out the upper receiver, which is a non-serialized part and thus not subject to arms control. There's the standard .223 Remington / NATO 5.56mm, 6.8mm, .45 ACP, .50, .308 Winchester, 10mm, .40 Smith and Wesson, .22LR, etc. etc.

It's a very versatile firearm.

". . . a lack of social support for the mentally ill . . ." Did ya see The O this morning? The state--taxpayers-- spends $17,000+ a month to take care of one 43-year-old man. Let's see a show of hands of those who said "wow" when they saw that headline.

You don't those kinds of problems on the bus. But, according to TriMet, white and uptight Portlanders don't like buses ...

Wow, I like all the Turkey travel literature in these posts. We're going next year to the international tango festival, provided all the planned bombing sorties over Iran haven't ruptured US-Turkey relations by then. We will be sure to look out for gun, bombs, and trams.

Video below for anyone interested in tango in Turkey, where Islamic fundamentalism has not choked off a sumptious and sensuous art form that has been alive and well there since the roaring 20's, thanks to Ataturk and the secular constitution he instituted (and which is under slow attack by the mullahs of the world).


We have to make up our minds. Is Portland little Amsterdam or little New York? We can't have it both ways. My bet is that New York is the better model to follow because, unlike Europe with its heavily socialized cradle to grave social service programs, there are tons of mentally ill homeless people just bouncing around with nothing to do but stare at their own reflection on the Max train windows. I really can't stand Rudy Giuliani, but you have to give him some credit for cleaning up NYC. Hard to say if the bleeding hearts around here will have enough guts to do anything before some sort of horrendous incident forces them to take more assertive security measures. Apparently it's just not bad enough yet for them to do what needs to be done.

Kevin, I understand what you're getting at, but as a Portland native, I sure used to like it when Portland was just Portland. Seems that was what originally attracted all the transplants anyway. I don't understand the "What a great place! Let's change it!" mentality.

I was in NYC subway recently- turnstiles everywhere, not a single mentally ill person in sight. Most amazingly, it felt, like, safer than the streets, and the streets felt totally safe (as long as you weren't trying to jay-walk without knowing exactly what you were doing).

I boarded it once after midnight, alone, and it was emptier, and a bit messier with gum-wrappers and McDonald's bags and such, but still felt totally safe.

A far, far cry from the days of Bernie Goetz. So many people came to Portland to escape urban blight in places like NYC. Ironically, now, many won't ride the Max in Portland because it feels a little too close to the days of Bernie Goetz...

Lifer, I've been here since '88 and I don't understand the whole change for sake of change mentality either. I think it's driven by a group of elite real estate types who are constantly looking for ways to increase their equity in what was formerly dirt cheap real estate through the public development process and the politicians who are in their hip pockets. I agree with you Gayle...the NYC subway feels totally safe even if there were a few slightly sketchy looking characters here and there.

The last fare inspectors (several weeks ago)I saw on Max, which I ride from the eastside several times a week, were actually at the bottom of the stairs at the 60th Ave station. Unfortunately, several of us missed the train due to their insistance on everyone digging their passes out of their purses/bags etc.

Curiously enough, when I did catch the next train, there were several riders who I would guess had not paid, and also loud disruptive behavior. Guess Tri-Met's employees are also afraid to ride Max.

". . . a lack of social support for the mentally ill . . ."

Are you kidding me?!? The heart of the issue for the mentally ill is that the state cannot hold anyone against their will (i.e. poor farms in the olden days)

Old Town and a large segment of SW Portland are defined by their low income housing, homeless, addiction and mentally ill services funded by millions of local, state and federal dollars.

I'm the guy who started this post with the news to Jack about the AR-15. Regarding the comments about Bernie Goetz and the NYC subway, I should point out that I taught high school in Harlem from 1988 to 1990 while living in a "marginal" neighborhood in Brooklyn. During those years I spent a lot of time riding the 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 trains and was held up at gunpoint twice. (For the "armaments" thread: .38 Police Special the first time; scary muthaf'ing 9 auto the second). The horror of the NYC subway, since then unimaginably improved, was one of the reasons I moved to PDX in'90 and met Jack. Sad to have to agree with those other threaders who point out that MAX has gotten even weirder than the NYC subway. As for Istanbul: definitely one of the world's coolest cities, but turnstiles didn't stop anybody from bombing the British Consulate right on the Istiklal. Watch your back in that fine city.

I was just about to write a response very similar to Mike (one of the many)'s. I spent a few days in Istanbul this month and was surprised how the 13+ million people manage to navigate the city and not kill one another. The rail system is, indeed, impressive but driving a car around that town is pure insanity. As someone noted: "In the middle of the day it would be quicker to walk from the Old City to the Asian-side than drive."

PDXLifer: . . .but as a Portland native, I sure used to like it when Portland was just Portland. Seems that was what originally attracted all the transplants anyway. I don't understand the "What a great place! Let's change it!" mentality.

Many of us used to like Portland. I think that others saw it as a "ripe plum" ready to be picked and sold. They jumped on the train of the UGB to propagandize the community to go for that agenda. I think that some of the watchdogs here could make quite a list of code violations and code changes that were done to accommodate this change of what was once our nice "City of Roses".

Just yesterday talked to someone who spent her entire life here and she communicated sadness over what has happened to our city.

This is far from over. In some parts of our city, single- family home neighborhoods have taken quite a loss in quality of life matters. Some think that if the city could do it faster they would, to eliminate these homes with yards so that they could do more and more infill. Is there anyone else here who feels a movement afoot by our city and by newcomers to be against those who have lived in this city for years in the neighborhoods? Are plans in place to make those who have been long time residents feel out of sorts with the new agenda to the point of feeling unwelcome, and sadly, either having to consider leaving their roots or having their city stability yanked out from underneath them?

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