6/16/2023 News Roundup


<<A 32-year-old Portland man is facing multiple assault charges after he allegedly attacked and injured a bouncer in a Portland strip club and restaurant while shouting racial and anti-Semitic slurs, according to court documents.

On May 28, police responded to the Acropolis Steakhouse on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard after reports of a customer, identified as Justin Anthony Gates, yelling racial slurs and punching several people.

Police said they found a club bouncer with “significant” swelling and purple discoloration around his eye and upper cheek. A manager also reported that Gates had punched him in the throat and face.

According to police, the club bouncer had confronted Gates on the request of a waiter after Gates began yelling racial slurs, including the n-word, and told him to leave. Gates allegedly responded by punching the bouncer “multiple” times in the face.

In court filings, the Multnomah County District Attorney states that as Gates attacked the bouncer, he shouted anti-Semitic epithets, the words “white power” and made white nationalist hand gestures.

Then, according to the DA, after being pushed out of the club, Gates forced his way back inside and punched the manager, all while he continued to yell racial and anti-Semitic slurs.

After being removed from the club again, the DA says Gates went around to the back of the building and broke a plate glass takeout food window.

The manager estimated to police that the window would cost $1,000 to repair and replace.

Responding police officers said they found Gates at a nearby bar on McLoughlin Boulevard and arrested him. They said they found dried blood on his right forearm.

According to police, “Gates continued to tell racial slurs and kicked the back doors of the patrol vehicle.” The DA said he also continued to repeat the words “white power.”

When he was booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center, officers observed that Gates’ cell phone background was an image of Adolf Hitler, according to the DA.

Two days after Gates’ arrest, the bouncer reported that he had been to the doctor and was diagnosed with fractured orbital socket and hemorrhage behind his eye. Since then, the bouncer has needed surgery and the implantation of a plate below his eye, according to the DA.

Gates faces charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree felony assault, bias crime, criminal mischief, burglary and harassment.

Gates also has eight previous convictions ranging from assault to burglary between 2010 and 2017.

On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Melvm Oden-Orr granted the DA’s request that Gates be kept in custody.>>


<<An Oregon man pleaded guilty on Thursday to two federal hate crime charges for attempting to run three people over with his car in Boise last year — prosecutors say he perceived these people as LGBTQ+.

As part of his plea agreement, Matthew Alan Lehigh, 31, also admitted he was responsible for three other anti-LGBTQ+ crimes that happened in Boise in 2022. He set fire to a pride flag on a Boise property, broke windows at an LGBTQ+ organization and punched a grocery store customer after Lehigh called him a slur.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho, Lehigh faces up to nearly four years in prison and at least three years of supervised release, while under the care of a psychiatrist for his untreated mental illness. He also must pay restitution to the victims.

On Oct. 8, 2022, Lehigh approached a transgender employee at the Boise Public Library Main Branch, called her a slur, punched her and threatened to stab her, according to court documents.

When her coworker – who was a library security guard – intervened, Lehigh left the library and went into the parking lot. When the security guard tried confronting him, Lehigh admitted to getting into a car and accelerating toward the guard, trying to hit him. The guard jumped onto a concrete barricade and wasn’t hurt.

Just days later, Lehigh yelled a homophobic threat and slur at two women in the parking lot of Kathryn Albertson Park who he believed were lesbian, court records show. Lehigh then intentionally drove his vehicle towards the women. They were able to jump out of the way, but he hit one of their cars.>>

<<Just days before this incident, Lehigh can be seen posting to his YouTube channel, discussing his thoughts on murdering LGBTQA+ people in a church. Multiple videos were posted, one after the other, depicting his violent thoughts about LGBTQ+ people, especially the trans community. >>



<<Portland ranks fifth in the country for stolen cars per capita, according to Portland Police.

For more than a year and a half now, officers at their east precinct have been working overtime to do ‘stolen vehicle operations’, in most cases, using their air support unit to keep track of these drivers who are avoiding police.

These operations are typically done in one shift and sometimes with help from local agencies like Gresham Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. PPB said these operations focus on stolen cares that are actively being driven around Portland that they say tend to be used for other crimes.

Officer Michael Terrett, who helped start these SOVs, said one example is the shooting that injured two students outside of Jefferson High School last October.

“The vehicle here that, basically delivered the people, was a stolen vehicle,” Terrett said. “When we think about stolen vehicles, we don’t just think in terms of not only the property crime, the inconvenience, but we also think of the other things we see when we experience with those vehicles and what they’re used in.”

When the east precinct first began these operations, they found they were stopping people who weren’t driving stolen vehicles, which meant fewer instances of arrests and recovered cars.

Lieutenant Norman Staples, who manages these operations, said these stops are still a learning opportunity.

“Based on our stats and when we run the probability numbers, we can say when we have these factors, they’re not stolen cars anymore. So, that helps us learn ‘maybe we shouldn’t stop cars like this’,” Staples said.

“It’s a compare and contrast, so you have to have the positives and you have to have the negatives. So, is it a waste of time? No. Is it taking away time from actually getting a stolen car? Yes.”

They looked at their success ratios and thought they should take a scientific approach to this and began looking at what they call enrichment factors. Enrichment factors could be anything from fake trip permits to DIY tints and printed out license plates, which help them better identify stolen cars.

Since they’ve used these factors, Terrett has partnered with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Dr. Jeffrey Tyner for peer review to make sure they’re taking the best, data-driven approach to these SVOs. During their first five operations without this approach, for every 31 stops, they only came across one stolen car. Now it’s one in six.

“Less stops, we believe, is better for the community, we believe it’s better for our officers. It’s safer, safer for us, safer for the community, less impact on the community. If we can do that with better outcomes, when we can actually get an active stolen vehicle out of the community, we believe that to be a good thing,” Terrett said.>>



<<Federal auditors have flagged problems in the Oregon Health Authority’s oversight of mental health grants, including the potential misappropriation of more than half a million dollars.

Their review, obtained by the Capital Chronicle in a public records request, shows the agency has failed to adequately inform a federally-mandated advisory council where money for programs to help Oregon’s most vulnerable in communities across the state has gone.

The grant program run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, known as SAMHSA, provides a prime funding source for Oregon’s behavioral health and addiction services, giving the state $13 million in the last two years.

The report found that the lack of oversight resulted in the health authority improperly awarding more than $570,000 in federal dollars toward the expansion and remodeling of a residential youth facility in Eugene. Using the money for major building improvements isn’t allowed under the federal mental health grant program, auditors said in their preliminary findings.>>

<<The health authority signed off on an agreement to dedicate $574,228 towards the remodeling of a psychiatric residential treatment facility in Eugene for children and youth run by the nonprofit Looking Glass Community Services. Funding construction or major facility improvements with the grants is not allowed.>>



<< Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone has announced her retirement from Portland Fire & Rescue, effective July 12.>>

<<Public Safety Commissioner Commissioner Rene Gonzalez named 25-year PF&R veteran Ryan Gillespie as interim fire chief. He will serve until the city administrator takes operational responsibility for PF&R in 2025 under the City Charter reforms approved by Portland voters in 2022.>>


<<Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Sara Boone announced her retirement Thursday afternoon. She will step down July 12 from the position she’s held since 2019.

Boone’s retirement comes at a time when the fire bureau is chronically short-staffed and under the new leadership of City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, who’s been an outspoken supporter of the firefighters’ union.

During her time as chief, Boone struggled to manage high overtime costs and the changing demands of the fire bureau as homelessness and mental health crises increase. Her retirement also comes at a time when the fire bureau is experiencing cultural friction with Portland Street Response, a mental health response program under the fire bureau’s watch and budget.

The division chief who oversaw Portland Street Response, Tim Matthews, is currently on leave and accused Boone of retaliating against him in a tort claim notice filed earlier this year. Boone denied any wrongdoing and said a city human relations investigation cleared her.

Gonzalez has appointed Ryan Gillespie, who replaced Matthews as chief of the fire bureau’s Community Safety Division, as interim fire chief until the city switches to a new form of government in the fall of 2024 and the bureau comes under the control of a city manager.>>