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Monday, January 21, 2013

Knife attack on Interstate MAX goes unreported

A reader writes:

Like most, I follow the news and have been aware of the problems on various MAX trains in and around the city. Like most, those problems have, to me, been something to read about, but not something that touched me or someone close to me personally. That changed Friday, January 18. My daughter works at a design firm in Old Town. Friday she left work and boarded the MAX yellow line to meet her boyfriend and others at the Rose Center in Albina for drinks and dinner. During the ride she sat busying herself by sorting through items she brought with her. Absorbed with this task, she had her head down most of the ride to the Convention Center Rose Quarter. When she glanced up she noticed a woman standing a few feet away staring at her with what she describe as a hateful face. When their eyes met, the woman began to step toward my daughter, and it was then that it was noticed that she had a rather large knife in her hand. Alarmed, my daughter scooted away abruptly, which caught the attention of a man seated near her, who also shifted position. As she moved away, the woman continued her approach, swinging the knife threateningly, and screaming invectives aimed at my daughter.

At this point the train was stopping at the Convention Center Rose Quarter station, and one of the passengers alerted the train operator that a passenger was being attacked by another passenger. All the passengers were now wary of the woman, and some, concerned for my daughter, made motions to intervene. Realizing that she was the apparent subject of the woman's ire, and hoping to prevent others from being injured if they intervened, my daughter exited the car, followed by the woman, who continued to scream and pursue her with the knife. My daughter got back on the train and the operator then closed the doors. The woman tried to reenter the train, screaming in a rage. She finally fled the scene.

Both Portland and transit authority police responded. My daughter was pretty rattled by this time. Police asked her if she wanted to press charges, and she said no -- thinking that since the woman was gone, nothing could be done. When she told me this, I told her I thought that was a big mistake. This woman, if found, needs to be arrested. It was only after she had joined her friends that my daughter remembered she had snapped a photo of the woman with her phone camera. It's blurry, but could be used to help identify the assailant. She then called the police, and they returned to interview her again and obtain the photo.

It's curious to me that nothing, as far as I can see, has been done to warn the public about this woman, who is at large in the community. I can't find anything in the Oregonian about it. Wouldn't the police or TriMet issue a release including the woman's photo? Certainly this woman is not merely a harmless disturbed person -- she needs to be found and restrained for treatment or incarceration.

In any event, my daughter was appreciative of the fellow passengers who seemed ready to intervene before she exited the car. I advised her that she should consider any MAX train to be a potential crime scene at any time and suggested she attempt to avoid riding MAX. I think she got lucky. I hope the next one to encounter her assailant is as lucky.

UPDATE, 11:43 a.m.: We've asked the reader for some clarification here, as the MAX Yellow Line does not stop at the Convention Center, but it does at the nearby Rose Quarter. Not that it affects the import of the story much.

UPDATE, 4:56 p.m.: The reader has clarified that the action went down at the Rose Quarter stop on the Yellow Line.

Comments (28)

How much do you want to bet the assailant had not purchased a fare?

I have said it and written it until I'm blue in the face. Secure the boarding and you will eliminate 90% of the crime.
For the amount of money they are spending on the Milwaukie fantasy train, Wes and all the other pork projects, they could have easily installed turnstyles and secured boarding systems at all the stops.

But of course, if the boarding was secured, Tri Met couldn't lie about ridership. Which is, as far as I can tell, the only reason they don't secure it.

Lucky no one was hurt, but the lack of news coverage is not surprising. There are hundreds of similar episodes every year in Portland involving "attempted" or "threatened" acts of violence. Most times the local media simply won't pick up the story even if the cops would like them to. On a really slow newsday, maybe. I really doubt TM had any interest in fighting for more negative attention.

Sadly,it might have gone un-noticed anyway because there has been so much more deadly or violent news to report in the last few days.

This doesn't surprise me at all. Joel Burrows, co-owner of Valentine's Bar in SW who was hit by a local television stations news van in 2011 in SE Portland- initially survived being hit by the van. For several months and multiple brain surgeries, Joel held on for his life and died in October, 2012. No mention has ever been printed in the Williamette Week, Oregonian, Mercury or any other local publication regarding Joel's accident or any mention of his struggle. I also witnessed a homicide crime scene on the Max line in SW last year while dining at Ringside Fishhouse in the evening. I scoured the local news for any mention of what we witnessed (there was several officers and police tape up). Never found any mention. I could go one with other stories, hopefully you are getting the picture. I have lived in many cities & Portland takes the cake with how scripted, rigged & completely full of lies and deceit Multnomah County officials/government/police are. This year expect many truths to come to light. This town is smaller than it thinks and people here have nothing better to do than dish on each other. Should be interesting year for Portland.

Maybe just a sleep-deprived, double-shifted fare-checker? Just shut up and pay your taxes & "fees" -- nothing to see here. Move along. Take your soma....

Secure boarding and a security officer on every train/at each hub are necessary. Of course, the system doesn't make enough to pay for itself, but letting the crazies/punks ride and menace people with impunity is going to end in a fatality, I fear sooner than later.

Dave Lister and NEPguy know as well as anyone that TriMet has no interest in enforcing fares. TriMet needs the ridership numbers up as high as they can get them to justify the ever increasing payroll tax they impose.

If TriMet enforced the fares, then ridership goes down, and folks like BoJack will say, "Why is TriMet raising taxes when ridership is down."

TriMet's motto should be: "A rider with a knife is still a rider."

If TriMet had turnstyles and secured boarding systems, ridership might actually go up. I know many (myself included) who would use MAX if it wasn't full of wackos looking for a free ride or a place to keep warm.

Knowing the parking situation is so bad, I took my daughter to the zoo on MAX last year; it was a full on "gang train" - she was scared and couldn't wait to get off. Luckily we ran into some friends who gave us a ride home.

While we call MAX unsafe, TriMet and the City call it "equity".

I guess THAT would explain why transit managers, administrators, employees, and the bureaucrats that give them OUR money do not ride the same Crime-Met they force on the rest of us.

Reading the E mail Jack posed suggests why gub sales and CCW permit applications in Mult. Co. are spiking.

Far too many folks are experiencing situaions like he correspondent's daughter and concluding that where they live and travel there is no safety beyond that which they supply themselves.

Do the "official" crime statistics count only charges filed, or do they count calls for service (when Transit or other police are actually summoned to a location?)

Dave Lister is (as usual) spot on in his analysis, but here's another: Force all TriMet management and the Board to use TriMet exclusively for their metro-area travels. The likes of pretty-girl Tiffany Schweitzer actually having to ride TriMet throughout Portland at all hours of the day...

Doesn't the one guy live in Corvallis now?

Better yet, have Earl Blumenauer ride TriMet
all hours of the day, and then be expected to live for awhile in the neighborhood he grew up in.
It may be that the reason there aren't turnstiles is that the ridership numbers are needed to continue getting federal funding. It is not about the safety of the people here as economics once again trumps human values.

The corollary to complaining to TriMet is to also advocate for new investment in treating mental illness. This doesn't sound like a "crime" in the traditional way society thinks about it (i.e., a bad guy intent on robbing, assualting, raping, etc.). This is a mentally ill person who is a danger to others (and probably herself) who is committing a crime because she's mentally ill. Even if the police find her, there are very few places to put her. If they keep her in jail for a few weeks, the sentence for menacing will be time served, and she'll be back on the street.

We're all seeing more of this type of behavior, and a big reason is that the Oregon Health Plan dropped coverage over the last 10 years for single individuals in extreme poverty -- the population most likely to be mentally ill. Obamacare restores it to 133% of poverty in 2014, and people like this woman will have coverage for mental health treatment -- which might just give the police another option when they find her (or the hundreds of others like her).

That's a fair point, Miles, but unfortunately when the police fine people like this is does not usually end well. There needs to be another type of first responder for those cases.

'I can't find anything in the Oregonian about it.'

Ha. I defy anyone to go on their site and find anything resembling 'news' on any given day.

I'm sorry the victim took a cell phone to a knife fight.


We must all be 'good sports' when it comes to living in and around Camp Stumpytown. And that is especially true where our fascist-like public transportation system is involved. We must afford the criminal/mental misfits drawn to this city (no doubt because of the neat toy trains) their space for Max trains. It may be looking and feel like the gritty and grimy East Germany before the Wall came down. But that is due to weather, not where the progressive luddites are taking us.

Last month I flew into PDX and took the Red Line home. The train was mostly empty.

Right around 82nd Avenue a guy got on the train and sat in a seat across the aisle from me. He was talking to himself and agitated. He soon accused me of taking his picture with my cell phone. I had not and told him so in no uncertain terms.

I was concerned enough about his demeanor that I planned to move away from him or even switch cars at the next stop.

He ended up getting into a loud argument with some "Jesus freaks" nearby and exited at the Rose Quarter. I was impressed they got the best of him.

I was at the max stop in Nopo near Widmer last month. The platform had 6 trimet guys doing fare checks. They got on all trains in both directions and pulled off everyone with no ticket and wrote them up.

Never travel unarmed. Concealed carry would have resolved this.

The last few times I have taken the train there was someone either mentally ill or aggressively vagrant or just plain nuts way to close at hand. I think I would rather walk than take the crazy train.

Yes, Tri Met will make a big show of occassional fare stings and insist that they are cracking down. That is no replacement for a secured boarding system.

It doesn't count unless you can or do call it an "assault rifle".

Someone should start a website devoted to publishing trimet horror stories. Video tape would start coming in. The business would be so embarrassing that the slackers avoiding hard decisions about how to manage public transit might take their medicine and get something done.

As it is, I am warming to the idea of a concealed weapon. Or at least a vicious-looking dog.

I commute via max to and from work every day. I see all sorts of sketchy stuff. Assaults, arguments, shoplifters boarding at gateway unloading their parkas with their stolen goods. I have been messed with once, but never this bad. Being that as it may be, I also have a Ruger LCP .380 with crimson trace laser sight in my pocket. All legal of course.

CCW with permits is what's up.

Multno is one of the counties that are increasing CCW the fastest. Good to see that at least some people there are thinking with their brains before they get smashed in by the punks. Better to bring a .380 (or a 9mm or .40 S&W) to a knife fight, than a cell phone. When seconds count, the police are only 2 minutes away.

The faster the scum bags realize that more and more of the local population is armed and not to be screwed with, the faster the scumbags will start to behave, instead of thinking that everybody enjoys being a victim of their abuse.

"Concealed carry would have resolved this"

I love how concealed carry is considered a cure-all these days. Just because someone is licensed to carry a weapon does not mean they are properly trained to use it in a tense, crowded situation. Nor does it automatically mean that the owner will have the balls to utilize the weapon when their life is on the line. You don't instantly become Rambo when you get your permit.

Yes, I have a CCW permit and quite frankly the training and testing required is a joke. It does not give me peace knowing how easily it can be obtained and how unprepared a person who possesses one could possibly be.

True that, Brian.

But all the training in the world by Hillsboro PD, State Police and Forest Grove PD didn't help those 10 LEOs and the 16 shots taken against one of their own Thugs in Blue who was beating his wife.

It's good that guy wasn't taking a whiz in a public park in Ptown.... He'd be dead by now.

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