9/8/2023 News Roundup


<<A man wanted on stalking charges died in an exchange of gunfire with police after an hours-long standoff in a Hillsboro neighborhood Thursday afternoon, according to the Beaverton Police Department.

Officers from the Hillsboro Police Department responded to a home on Southeast Duke Drive shortly after 11:30 a.m. to arrest a man named Ryan Richard Herinckx, 39, on charges for criminal mischief, stalking, violation of a court’s stalking protective order and third-degree escape.

When police found Herinckx in the driveway of the home and told him that he was under arrest, Beaverton police said, he went back inside and refused to come out.

Hillsboro police called in the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team and the Washington County Crisis Negotiation Unit, attempting to get Herinckx to come out. At 2 p.m., officers got a court-issued search warrant to go inside the home and arrest him.

While the crisis negotiators continued to communicate with Herinckx, Beaverton police said that the tactical team tried to serve the warrant.

Just after 3:15 p.m., as they were serving the warrant, Herinckx came out of the house with a handgun “and fired at officers,” Beaverton police said.

Members of the tactical team returned fire, hitting Herinckx multiple times. Beaverton police said that lifesaving efforts were attempted at the scene, and Herinckx was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No law enforcement officers were hurt during the incident. All officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.>>


<< A man was shot and killed by police Thursday afternoon after he resisted arrest by barricading himself in his Hillsboro home, according to the Beaverton Police Department.

Authorities say Ryan Richard Herinckx, 39, was shot at 1445 SE Duke Drive around 3:17 p.m. after he exited his home with a pistol and fired at police.

Despite lifesaving efforts at the scene of the shooting, police say Herinckx died in a local hospital due to “multiple gunshot wounds.” No officers had been injured.

The Hillsboro Police Department originally responded to the home to arrest Herinckx for crimes related to criminal mischief, stalking, violation of a court’s stalking protective order and third-degree escape.

However, when officers approached Herinckx in the driveway and told him he was under arrest, they say he retreated inside the house and refused to leave.

Hillsboro police requested SWAT assistance and obtained a search warrant to enter Herinckx’s home and arrest him. Officials say a crisis team tried to negotiate with him while the warrant was served.

In the process of serving the warrant, police say Herinckx came outside and shot at officers – which they say led officers to fire back. An investigation is still ongoing.

The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave, according to Beaverton PD.>>


<<A man was killed after a standoff with Hillsboro Police Department officers on Thursday.

Around 11:40 a.m., Hillsboro police responded to 1445 Southeast Duke Drive to attempt to arrest Ryan Richard Herinckx for crimes including criminal mischief, stalking, violation of a courts stalking protective order and escape in the third degree.

Herinckx was in his driveway when police arrived. When they told him he was under arrest, he retreated into his house and refused to come out.

The Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team and the Crisis Negotiation Unit were sent for backup.

A little after 2 p.m., officers obtained a search warrant authorizing them to search the house and arrest Herinckx while CNU members continued to negotiate.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Herinckx left the house while tactical officers were in the process of serving the warrant.

Police say he was armed with a handgun and fired at officers.

The tactical officers returned fire, hitting Herinckx several times.

Police say they gave him first aid at the scene before Herinckx was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No police were reported injured during the incident, and the involved officers were placed on paid leave.>>


<<Members of the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team, a multi-agency police unit, shot and killed a Hillsboro man Thursday after the man fired on officers, Beaverton police said.

Ryan Herinckx, 39, died in the 1400 block of Southeast Duke Drive in Hillsboro around 3:15 p.m. after Hillsboro police tried to arrest him on allegations of criminal mischief, stalking, violation of a court’s stalking protective order and third-degree escape.

Police said the events began before noon when Hillsboro officers tried to arrest Herinckx in his driveway. He went inside his home and then refused to come out. Officers then called the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team and the Washington County Crisis Negotiation Unit.

Around 2 p.m., a court issued a warrant for law enforcement to search the home, but when the tactical team tried to serve Herinckx the warrant, he came outside and fired on officers with a handgun, police said. Members of the team fired back, inflicting multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Beaverton police did not identify the officers who shot the man. No officers were injured.>>


<< A man is dead after being shot by police in Rockaway Beach Thursday evening, according to the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say the male suspect was pronounced dead in the area of North Juniper Street despite resuscitation efforts by first responders.

No officers were seriously injured.

The sheriff’s office has yet to publicly identify the suspect, and did not share what events had led to the shooting.>>


<<A man is dead after a shooting that “involved” police Thursday evening in Tillamook County, according to the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.

At 8 p.m., the sheriff’s office announced that the Tillamook County Major Crimes Team responded to “an officer involved shooting” in Rockaway Beach.

Police said a suspect was declared dead at the scene in the area of North Juniper Street. They did not release any further information at this time.>>



<<A correctional officer who was charged with sexual misconduct at Oregon’s troubled women’s prison last month has faced allegations of inappropriate behavior from at least two other women. That includes another criminal investigation into sexual abuse allegations in which the Washington County District Attorney’s declined to bring charges.

In July 2021, staff at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility called Oregon State Police detectives after a woman in custody accused Sgt. Levi David Gray of sexually assaulting her and giving her illegal drugs that she said he smuggled into the prison inside an Altoids mint container, records show.

And in a separate complaint filed with the state, a third woman who was previously incarcerated at Coffee Creek — identified in a redacted tort claim by the initials K.M. — alleged she was “forced to perform an act for the sexual gratification of Officer Levi Gray” before he would bring her items that belonged to her while she was in the prison’s segregation unit. The tort claim, which typically proceeds a lawsuit, also states that other officers in that unit “were aware of Officer Gray’s sexual abuse/misconduct with other adults in custody, yet turned a blind eye.”

Last month, a Washington County grand jury indicted Gray, 47, on two felonies and two misdemeanors for sexually abusing a 19-year-old woman identified in court documents by the initials J.B. Gray has pleaded not guilty.>>

<<The Oregon State Police has made an unusual public appeal for witnesses, other victims or anyone with information about Gray’s behavior as a correctional officer to get in touch with detectives.>>

<<In July, a former nurse at Coffee Creek was convicted of sexually abusing nine women while they were in custody. A recent legislative report found the prison is systemically failing the women in its care.

The report also found women in custody can face punishment and retaliation after making allegations of sexual misconduct.

That’s been J.B.’s experience, according to her attorney, Lynn Walsh.

“She was sexually abused by Sgt. Levi Gray starting in April 2023 until the abuse was reported on or about May 23, 2023,” Walsh wrote in an Aug. 28 tort claim notice sent to the state. “The abuse would occur up to three times a day, up to 40 minutes on each occasion. Although corrections officers were making rounds while the abuse was occurring, they failed to intervene.”

J.B. faced “cruel conditions” in prison and faced retaliation from Coffee Creek staff since reporting the abuse, the tort claim notice states. Walsh was willing to let OPB interview J.B., but declined to talk outside her presence. The Oregon Department Corrections denied OPB’s request to interview J.B.>>

<<The Oregon Department of Corrections hired Gray in 2010. He became a correctional officer at Coffee Creek in 2012. Before Oregon, Gray worked at prisons in Utah and Washington state, according to records from the Department of Safety Standards and Training. According to a lawsuit and a complaint filed with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, from 2005 to 2008, Gray worked as a bouncer and said he was later promoted to help manage the Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge, which at the time was a strip club in Northeast Portland.

After he was fired, Gray filed a lawsuit against the owners of the club, stating the Viewpoint facilitated prostitution, discriminated against dancers based on their willingness to engage in unlawful sex acts, and that a club general manager sexually assaulted employees or paid them to have sex with him. In his suit, Gray also accused bartenders at the club of serving alcohol to underage patrons, over-serving other customers and allowing illegal drugs to be purchased at the club. Days after a judge denied a motion in 2010 to toss out the lawsuit in its entirety, the parties agreed to dismiss the case. Any potential settlement wasn’t made public.

Gray’s prior employment at a strip club should have “disqualified from working in a women’s prison,” Walsh wrote in J.B.’s tort claim notice to the state.

It didn’t.

In 2021, nine years after he was hired at Coffee Creek, Oregon State Police opened a criminal investigation into Gray.

The woman in custody at the center of the 2021 case “claimed Sgt. Gray, a DOC employee brought cocaine into the prison and did three lines” with her, according to the redacted copy of the state police investigation that doesn’t include woman’s name.

“On the same day, AIC (redacted) claims Sgt. Gray touched her inappropriately through her cuff port while she was in (redacted),” the report states. On a different day, Gray “escorted her to medical and sitting in the waiting room touched her vagina over and under pant while waiting to be seen by nursing staff.”

In October 2021, detectives interviewed Gray. He denied the allegations. Gray was not placed on leave in 2021, according to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

“Employees who are under investigation are not always duty stationed at home,” Campbell, with the corrections department, told OPB. “Several factors are considered and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.”

State police turned the results of their investigation over to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 20, 2021, Senior Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown signed a one-page memo explaining why prosecutors would not file charges against Gray.

Brown overstated the length of time Gray had worked in corrections, writing that it was “almost 20 years” when it was in fact closer to 13 years, according to state records. She also noted in her memo that the alleged victim was a convicted felon.

Brown said the investigation showed “insufficient corroboration of the alleged victim’s report and evidence that she has a motive to fabricate allegations against the suspect.” Detectives, Brown said, “also learned that she was angry at the suspect because he had written her up for rule violations.”

Not only were no charges filed in 2021, but the Oregon Department of Corrections investigated the case internally, the DOC’s Campbell told OPB. State corrections investigators found that the case was unsubstantiated, meaning they couldn’t say one way or another whether what the woman alleged occurred. That’s by far the most common finding for internal investigations conducted between 2017 and 2021 at Coffee Creek, according to the most recent state prison data available.>>



<<The past two weeks have seen the toughest sentences yet for top Proud Boys and other paramilitary figures convicted of seditious conspiracy and related felonies for plotting to invade the U.S. Capitol and prevent Congress from ratifying the 2020 presidential election.

The sentences for Enrique Tarrio (22 years in prison), Joe Biggs (17 years) and Ethan Nordean (18 years) close a chapter of extremist politics that regularly touched Portland. As WW reported in 2021, the Capitol insurrection was an event the Proud Boys and other groups trained for with regular, violent incursions into this city, which they viewed as a leftist stronghold.

Meanwhile, another convicted felon bumped into Oregon in a different way.

A federal jury found Brandon Craig Fellows guilty last week of felony obstruction of an official proceeding for his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The press release from the FBI is an all-timer: “Defendant Illegally Entered Capitol, Smoked a Joint in a Senator’s Office,” it announced Aug. 31.

Prosecutors said Fellows, now 29, scaled the Upper West Terrace and entered the Capitol through a broken window, “wearing a fake beard fashioned of red yarn, a hat in the shape of a knight’s helmet, sunglasses, and carrying a flag and a trash can lid that he held as a shield.”

He then made his way to the offices of U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), where he was photographed smoking a joint with his feet up on the senator’s desk.

“I walked in and there’s just a whole bunch of people lighting up in some Oregon room…they were smoking a bunch of weed in there,” he would later tell a reporter. “I have no regrets.”

He was arrested 10 days later in Albany, N.Y. The handyman lived in a converted school bus, according to the FBI, and represented himself at his trial.>>



<<Jesse Johnson, a Black man wrongfully convicted for a 1998 murder, was released on Sept. 7, following a reversal of his conviction by the Oregon Court of Appeals two years ago. The case highlighted longstanding racial bias within the justice system.

The Oregon Innocence Project, which handled Johnson’s appeal, strongly criticized the state’s handling of the case, branding it a “heinous injustice.” The Marion County District Attorney’s office finally sought to dismiss the charges against Johnson after citing the unavailability of critical evidence and the extended passage of time. A judge granted the motion, allowing Johnson to finally walk free.

Johnson, who steadfastly maintained his innocence, rejected plea deals over the years>>

<<Initially sentenced to death in 2004, Johnson’s case took a significant turn when former Gov. John Kitzhaber imposed a moratorium on executions in 2011. Then, in 2022, Gov. Kate Brown commuted all 17 of the state’s death sentences and ordered the decommissioning of the execution chamber.>>

<<The Oregon Innocence Project had pointed out the role racism played in Johnson’s wrongful imprisonment. They asserted that Johnson’s trial lawyer failed to interview crucial witnesses, including one who observed a white man fleeing the scene. The neighbor in question, Patricia Hubbard, revealed she witnessed a white man entering Thompson’s residence shortly before the murder occurred. She also recounted hearing screams, a thud, and then an eerie silence. Hubbard claimed that the responding detective made racially charged remarks, indicating a predetermined bias. “A Black woman got murdered, and a Black man is going to pay for it,” Hubbard said a detective told her.

The Oregon Court of Appeals underscored the failure of Johnson’s defense team to interview Hubbard, a critical oversight that led to the reversal of his conviction in October 2021. Further, requests for additional DNA testing, which might have unveiled alternative suspects, were met with resistance from the state.

“For 25 years, the State of Oregon has fought to defend their deeply flawed case against our former client, Jesse Johnson,” declared Steve Wax, the legal director of the Oregon Innocence Project. “There can be no more heinous injustice imaginable than for Mr. Johnson to have heard a sentence of death pronounced against him all those years ago… and to then waste away for years on death row.”

In asking the judge to dismiss the case finally, prosecutors admitted to the absence of any identified alternate suspect in Thompson’s murder despite ongoing investigations. Wax said Johnson, now a free man, finds himself with nothing, not even the customary release funds because of the dismissal.>>



<<Millions in underspent funds from the Supportive Housing Services are being allocated following a meeting Thursday.

During a Multnomah County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, a vote approved $17.6 million in underspent funds to be allocated to new shelter sites, workforce supports for service providers, rent assistance and employment programming, according to officials.

The $17.6 million in underspent funds is part of a larger $40.5 million previously approved by the Board.>>

Allocation following Thursday’s meeting breaks down as the following:

    $4.7 million for capital investments to support two more of the City of Portland’s Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites

    $10 million for capacity-building grants for homeless service providers

    $1.5 million for immediate response client and rent assistance,

    $1.5 million to expand Central City Concern’s Clean Start program to locations throughout the County.

The allocation was decided on in a unanimous 4-0 vote.>>


<<Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and the nonprofit that runs Bybee Lakes Hope Center at the former Wapato Jail have cut a deal to keep the homeless shelter’s doors open through at least the end of the year.

After a month of stubborn negotiations, Vega Pederson agreed this week to give Bybee Lakes $1.5 million for operational expenses; Bybee’s board of directors says that’s the minimum needed to keep the 175-bed shelter running through the end of the year. Bybee had originally asked for $5 million from the county, but the chair for weeks stuck to a $808,000 offer with the stipulation that Bybee hire a third party to scrutinize its finances.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the emergency funding at its Thursday meeting.>>

<<Prominent Portland developer Jordan Schnitzer purchased the never-used Wapato Jail from Multnomah County in 2018 and then leased it to the nonprofit Helping Hands (founded by formerly homeless Alan Evans) in 2020 for $1 annually for five years for use as a homeless shelter.>>

<<When Bybee first opened in 2020, Helping Hands insisted it would not need public funding. Several times since then, the nonprofit has warned that without city, county and state funding, the shelter was at risk of closure.>>


<<Oregon’s largest homeless shelter has won a reprieve and will remain open — at least until the end of the year.

The Bybee Lakes Hope Center, which is housed at the old Wapato Jail site in North Portland, threatened closure this week saying it didn’t have the money to continue.

But now, Multnomah County has provided $1.5 million to keep it open on one condition: that Bybee Lakes open its books for a third-party financial review.

Back in 2020, the Bybee Lakes Hope Center was the talk of the town.

After years standing empty, the old Wapato Jail site was going to be used to house homeless people, even though it’s 11 miles away from downtown Portland and the fact some people didn’t like the idea of putting unhoused people in a jail.

The shelter was to be run by Alan Evans, a man who’d been homeless for 27 years. He’s head of the nonprofit Helping Hands, which operates four other homeless shelters around Oregon.

Evans says Bybee Lakes operates 175 beds and has helped thousands of people get off the streets, “We’ve served over 2,200 people at Bybee Lakes Help Center since we opened our doors in 2020.”

While that’s welcome news to people experiencing homelessness in Portland, Evans has not fully opened his financial records for government perusal. And that’s been a sticking point for collecting public funds.

For years, Multnomah County wouldn’t put money towards a homeless shelter at Wapato because it’s so far away from public services. And it’s expensive to operate.

Bybee Lakes is also largely a high-barrier shelter, meaning people must be sober to get a bed, take life classes on how to manage money; as well as volunteer and pay rent of about $250 a month. The facility also helps people find housing and stay sober through recovery classes. People who test positive for drugs or alcohol are kicked out of the facility.

For years, Evans said that he wouldn’t take public money. Since then he has received $1 million from the federal government as part of the recovery act and will now get help from Multnomah County, “It didn’t take us long to realize that long-term sustainability in the community was not going to happen without a partnership with the counties and with the state and with the city,” he said.

Evans said that to start with, there was lots of private money to open Bybee Lakes, largely because of the infamous nature of Wapato. It was built in 2004 at a cost of $58 million dollars. But it never opened because it was so expensive to run.

But once Bybee Lakes opened, private interest waned and this year Evans said they only collected enough to keep the doors open until Friday, September 9th.

But now, after a month of intense negotiations, Multnomah County has agreed to give Helping Hands $1.5 million to keep the doors open until December 31st.

County chairwoman, Jessica Vega Pederson, has heard Bybee’s success stories, but wants a third-party, independent financial review, to make sure the county knows exactly where taxpayer money is going.>>

<<Months before Bybee Lakes opened, metro voters approved a new income tax to raise money for homeless services. Now the county is sitting on a massive pile of cash and has struggled to spend it quickly.>>

<<Jordan Schnitzer, one of Oregon’s wealthiest residents, bought the Wapato Jail for $5 million in 2019. He’s leasing it to Helping Hands for one dollar a year.

He gave OPB a three-page financial summary that he’d receive from Helping Hands for the 2023/24 operating year.

It shows the cost of serving one resident at Bybee Lakes is about $49 a day. That’s substantially higher than the nonprofit’s other shelters.

For example, in Clatsop County it’s $29 a day and in Yamhill County it’s just $11 a day.>>

<<But the document Schnitzer shared with OPB didn’t include data on how successful the center has been in helping unhoused people land housing.>>

<<In addition to Bybee Lakes, Multnomah County voted Thursday to invest more than $17 million in several different homeless projects, including 140 new sleeping pods and safe parking for people living in RVs.>>



<<City commissioners blame a loophole in Oregon law for the proliferation of visible fentanyl and methamphetamine use on Oregon’s streets. Now, they’re pressuring state lawmakers to change it.

Oregon law currently doesn’t prohibit the public use of controlled substances, and it doesn’t allow local governments to do so, either.

Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday, Sept. 6, to direct the city’s Office of Government Relations to lobby state lawmakers for an amendment to Oregon’s law. Council also approved a separate ordinance that would amend city code to ban the possession or consumption of controlled substances, as soon as state law changes or a court rules in the city’s favor.

A statewide push for drug policy reform and decriminalization culminated in the passage of Measure 110 in 2020, suggesting Oregon was eager to undo the harm caused by decades of failed federal drug policy and give addicts easier pathways to recovery. Three years later, Portland’s leaders say the scourge of fentanyl over the last few years has created a new beast, and they have no mechanism to fight it. >>

<<Critics worry the council is trying to re-hash failed policies of the War on Drugs. Others say the resolution will do nothing in the near-term, and could cause harm, long-term. >>

<<Portland leaders want state lawmakers to make it a Class A misdemeanor to use hard drugs in public, like it is for alcohol and cannabis. The council’s resolution also wants local governments to be able to enact and enforce their own laws around public consumption.

Wednesday’s proposal was introduced by Commissioner Rene Gonzalez–the city’s de facto torchbearer of hardline policies toward homelessness. >>

<<City commissioners said having a law would allow police and other first responders to refer more people to drug treatment programs, as called for in Measure 110.

But right now, Portland has too few.

A report on Oregon’s substance use disorder and gap in services published jointly in 2022 by Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University noted Oregon ranks first in the nation for percentage of people needing but not receiving treatment for substance use disorders. The same report recommends more harm reduction programs that offer access to safe use sites, clean needles and drug testing kits–measures which the city and county have soundly rejected in recent months.

Recovering addicts and homeless services providers say the council’s effort to arrest drug users is expensive and ineffective at getting people off drugs.

“Undoubtedly, many people would benefit from referrals to drug treatment programs, but even if the capacity for this actually existed… The likelihood of someone relapsing when they are being released from such a program onto the street or, at best, a temporary shelter, is extremely high,” Justice Hager, who works with Armony at Sisters of the Road, told the Mercury.

Hager pushed back on the notion that decriminalization and a lack of state law is fueling addiction. Instead, Hager suggests it’s “a direct byproduct of the opioid addiction crisis” fueled by heavy overprescription of opiates like OxyContin. >>


<<A recent study revealed that drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl are found in the air and on the surfaces of public transit vehicles in Oregon and Washington.

Although researchers determined that the small traces of drugs weren’t enough to pose a health risk to passengers or drivers, TriMet is still looking to crack down on drug use in its vehicles.

The University of Washington conducted this study with funding from five transit services: TriMet, King County Metro, Community Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit.

On 28 nights from March 27 to June 22 of this year, researchers gathered air and surface samples of fentanyl and methamphetamine in 11 buses and 19 train cars.

The data was collected during times and routes that transit employees identified as popular for drug use. Additionally, the samples were taken near operators and other areas where smoke typically accumulates.

“A work environment that includes drug use and drug smoke can make it harder for transit operators to safely and effectively do their jobs, regardless of the level of exposure that operators may face,” Dr. Marissa Baker, an assistant professor at UW, said.

Across all of the transit vehicles, 98% of the surface samples and 100% of the air samples tested positive for methamphetamine. For the fentanyl tests, 46% of the surface samples were positive and 25% of the air samples were positive.

The tests didn’t determine whether secondhand fentanyl or methamphetamine was detected in the drivers’ systems, nor did it determine if long-term exposure can lead to permanent health effects.

Still, researchers say transit services should consider the physical and mental health conditions that operators face as a result of drug exposure.

“The potential long-term health effects associated with daily exposure have not been adequately researched, so until these relationships are established, we’re suggesting protective measures that transit agencies could implement to keep operators safe,” UW Research Industrial Hygienest Marc Beaudreau said.>>


<<TriMet says it’s working to combat drug use following a study of drugs in the air and on surfaces of buses and MAX trains, as well as several other transit services across the Pacific Northwest.

According to the tests, 100% of sampled surfaces on TriMet light rails tested positive for low levels of meth. Other findings across TriMet found low levels of fentanyl across 37.5% of air samples collected and 50% of surface samples as positive for fentanyl.

The study, conducted by the University of Washington, was done by placing air pumps on board and collecting samples from seats, windows and doors in 30 transit buses and trains across the PNW, including in Portland and Seattle.

Samples on 21 TriMet light rail vehicles break down into the following:

16 air samples

Fentanyl – 6 of 16 positive (37.5%) Meth – 16 of 16 positive (100%)

Cocaine – 1 out of 7 was positive (14%)

26 surface samples

Fentanyl – 13 out of 16 positive (50%)

Meth – 26 out of 26 positive (100%)

Cocaine – 6 out of 6 sample (100%)

42 samples overall:

Fentanyl – 19 out of 42 positive (45%)

Meth – 42 out of 42 positive (100%)

Cocaine – 7 out of 13 positive (54%)

The transit organization described the drug findings as “extremely low” levels but says it’s still taking action.

TriMet says the following changes are being made:

    Increased security personnel for more on-board presence.

    Updated TriMet Code to address illicit drugs.

    Updated standard procedures for when someone is seen smoking drugs on board.>>

<<Outside input on the safety of passengers came from Dr. Robert Hendrickson, a professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicologist at OHSU “The concentration of drugs detected in the air and on surfaces in this study were extremely low and would not cause harm to TriMet riders and operators,” said Hendrickson. “There is no threat to the public related to these study results, and individuals who use public transportation for travel needs should continue to feel safe doing so.”

The union that represents TriMet employees says they want research done on the long-term impacts of constant exposure to the drugs.>>

<<TriMet says they have doubled their security staff since 2022 to address problems and are working with local law enforcement to fill all of their transit police positions.>>


<<Low levels of drug residue from methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine have shown up in TriMet vehicles, according to a study released Thursday by the University of Washington, but local health officials say the drugs present no danger to passengers.

“The quantity of the drugs found are really, really, small,” said Dr. Robert Hendrickson, medical director at the Oregon Poison Control Center. “The exposures to the quantity of drugs do not pose a risk to drug toxicity.”

University researchers conducted the study by placing air sensors in 11 TriMet MAX trains and collecting surface samples from the seats, windows and doors over a two-day period in late June. TriMet did not tie reported smoking incidents to individual vehicles tested but said they traveled the same routes where smoking incidents were reported.

Testing found fentanyl in 25% of air samples and 46% of surface samples. Methamphetamine tested positive “in low levels” in 100% of the air samples and 98% of surface samples. Researchers found cocaine in 45% of tested samples.

Although little data exists to quantify the effects of long-term exposure to the drugs, the sampled amounts fall “thousands of times” below medical prescriptions, Hendrickson said.>>

<<While TriMet assured the public that the drugs pose no health risk to riders on board for only a short while, the effects of long-term exposure on transit operators — who daily ride buses and trains for hours on end — are still unclear.>>


<<Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs for years brought lower overdose rates and more people in treatment was a model for Measure 110 in Oregon.

However, in the three years of Oregon’s experiment with decriminalization, the result has been almost the exact opposite. Now, the Health Justice Recovery Alliance, the organization that backed Measure 110, is buying a trip for elected leaders and law enforcement to go to the European nation.>>

<<There are key differences that have been well reported between Portugal and Measure 110, which allows someone to avoid a $100 fine if they call a treatment number. Portugal has noncriminal penalties such as revoking passports and licenses, and at least until the last few years, Portugal has had much readier access to treatment and recovery services—Oregon ranks last in the nation for addiction services.>>

<<The HJRA invited one of Measure 110’s loudest critics, Grant Pass Republican Representative Lily Morgan, who confirmed that she has accepted the invite.

“I do want to see what Portugal did differently. I want to make sure to see what is working (and) what is not,” she said. “I want to make sure that whatever said over there, there’s accountability for when we come back.”>>

<<“This trip is a fact-finding mission. Oregon stakeholders want to see what a fully developed drug decriminalization program looks like. We are eager to know what lessons Portugal has learned throughout this 20+ year process and bring those lessons back to Oregon policy work to strengthen Measure 110. The program has stood the test of time; we want to know more about what led to the program’s success, and what they wish they would have done differently too,” said Devon Downeysmith with HJRA.>>



<<An agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been charged in a crash that killed a bicyclist in Salem, according to the Salem Reporter.

Police said the agent, 37-year-old Samuel Landis, was on duty and driving a pickup at the time of the crash on March 28. According to the initial press release, Landis allegedly “entered the intersection and crossed the bicyclist’s path of travel, resulting in a collision.”

The cyclist, 53-year-old Marganne Allen, was critically injured and later died at Salem Health.

Salem Police Department officials said none of its officers were involved at the time of the crash. But they said the police department and the DEA have a long-established partnership through a local task force. Due to that connection, the Keizer Police Department took over the investigation.

No charges were filed in connection with Allen’s death for more than five months.

The Salem Reporter, which has been pushing police for details on the incident, reported Wednesday that Landis was indicted by a grand jury on a felony charge of criminally negligent homicide.>>



<<Two men have pleaded guilty to vandalizing power substations in Washington state in attacks that left thousands without power on Christmas Day.

Jeremy Crahan, of Puyallup, admitted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma that he and Matthew Greenwood conspired to cut electrical power in order to break into ATM machines and businesses and steal money, Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a news release.

According to the plea agreement, Crahan, 40, and Greenwood, 32, damaged four power substations on Dec. 25, 2022. The substations targeted were the Graham and Elk Plain substations operated by Tacoma Power and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations operated by Puget Sound Energy.

In all four cases, the men forced their way into fenced areas surrounding the substations and damaged equipment to cause a power outage.

Crahan admitted that he helped plan the scheme and primarily served as a lookout that day.

Afterward, the men plotted additional ways to cause power outages by felling trees in order to cut power and burglarize businesses and steal from ATMs, Gorman said. Law enforcement arrested both men in late December before they tried that plan, according to the news release.

Greenwood, also of Puyallup, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to destroy energy facilities. After his arrest, Greenwood went to a substance abuse treatment program.

Both face up to 20 years in prison.>>