9/9/2023 News Roundup


<<Sean Milligan said he was on a walk with his dog near a restaurant in Northwest Portland’s Slabtown district when he heard a man shout “I hate Asians!” at a group of Asian people who had just scurried inside.

The man followed that up by throwing patio chairs, dishes and drinking glasses at the windows of the restaurant, Mama Bird, Milligan said.

Moments later, the man spotted two young women of Asian descent, shouted “Don’t you walk away from me!” and violently shoved one of them into the other, he said.

That’s when Milligan intervened to give the women a chance to flee.

Milligan said he and a Mama Bird employee forced the man to the ground in front of New Seasons near Northwest 21st Avenue and Raleigh Street and held him there until police arrived last Monday evening, the end of a long Labor Day weekend.

“There were so many bystanders, some with their phones out,” said Milligan, 28. “Someone needed to take action before somebody seriously got hurt. It was kind of a split-second decision.”

The attack was the latest in a series of recent attacks against people of Asian descent or members of other targeted communities in Portland.

Among them, police earlier this week distributed photos and asked for the public’s help in identifying a man who spat at and assaulted multiple people of Asian descent on Aug. 21 in downtown Portland. In early August, an unknown individual vandalized the granite base of a lion statue at the gate of Old Town Chinatown and shattered a window at the nearby Lan Su Chinese Garden in an act the garden’s organizers believe was motivated by bias.

In the most serious recent case, 25-year-old Adrian Cummins is accused of attempted murder, assault and hate crimes for allegedly stabbing two Black teenagers on a Southeast Portland MAX train on Sept. 2.

Overall, these crimes are part of an upward trend. Reports of hate crimes and hate incidents to the state’s Bias Response Hotline have nearly tripled in the past three years.

In Monday’s case, the man appeared to be either high on drugs or in mental crisis, witnesses said.

Police identified him as Zion M. Cochran, 29. They cited Cochran on four counts of felony and misdemeanor criminal mischief for allegedly causing at least a few thousand dollars of property damage. Police said that included damage Cochran inflicted while jumping on a moving car and smashing the windshield of a parked car that evening.

Police didn’t cite him for hate-related charges or crimes of assault or harassment. Police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Allen said officers tried to locate Cochran’s targets to get firsthand accounts from them, but they hadn’t lingered at the scene.>>

<<Police said they summoned paramedics, who sedated Cochran and brought him to a local hospital to be evaluated. They also put a police officer hold on Cochran, who appeared to be a danger to himself or others.>>

<<Milligan, the bystander who intervened, said he hopes the man gets help.

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Milligan said he knew he was in a position to do something. He remembers the fear he saw in the young women attacked. And he wants Portland to heal and be a place where everyone feels safe.

“I think safety in the city is a real issue,” Milligan said. “It’s scary for a lot of people but specifically people of color that are being targeted.”>>


<<A Multnomah County grand jury has indicted a man accused of stabbing two teenagers in an alleged bias crime in the Lents neighborhood on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Adrian Austin Cummins, 25, now faces 12 charges related to the stabbing incident on a MAX train that witnesses say seemed to be racially motivated because the 17-year-old victims were Black.>>

<<According to the DA’s office, he is charged with two counts of first-degree bias crime and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. He also faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault, first-degree robbery, interfering with public transportation, and attempted first and second-degree assault. >>

<<On Tuesday afternoon, Cummins pleaded not guilty in the Multnomah County Justice Center. The DA’s office also filed a motion to seek preventative detention, meaning Cummins will be denied release until his case is resolved. >>

<<TriMet says they have doubled security since 2022, and are working to increase patrols as coordination with law enforcement, but the agency also pointed out Cummin’s status as a convicted felon facing several criminal charges unrelated to TriMet.>>



<<A man was killed in Rockaway Beach in an apparent confrontation with state police and a Tillamook County sheriff’s deputy, authorities said Friday.

A state trooper had gone to a house in the small coastal town around 6p.m. Thursday to help the deputy who had asked for assistance with an “agitated suspect.” After the trooper arrived, officers fired their weapons, Oregon State Police said in a statement. The suspect was declared dead at the scene, they said.>>

<<State police provided no details about the man who was shot or the shooting.>>



<<A Clark County detective who was shot and killed while investigating a gun theft two summers ago was a victim of a premeditated ambush, prosecutors told jurors in court. But the gunman’s attorneys argue he was defending himself.

On Friday, jurors at Clark County Superior Court heard the opening arguments in the trial of Guillermo Raya Leon. He faces charges of aggravated murder for shooting and killing Detective Jeremy Brown in July 2021.

The killing became the violent end of a lengthy investigation into a firearms heist that involved Raya Leon, his brother and his brother’s wife.>>

<<To Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, who opened the proceedings, the killing was a calculated act. He portrayed Raya Leon as making decision after decision to deliberately confront Brown, who was part of a surveillance team tracking Raya Leon’s family.

“He knew he was an officer. He ruminated that he was an officer,” Golik said. “He shot Jeremy Brown from behind, from a position of ambush.”>>

<<Defense attorney Therese Lavallee disputed the characterization and instead painted Raya Leon as a tag-along who got sucked into rapidly devolving scheme to sell illicit firearms, led by his brother’s wife, she said.

Raya Leon’s decision to confront Brown, she contended, wasn’t malicious.

“He says, ‘Hey what are you doing? Are you waiting for somebody?’” Lavallee said. “And he says in his statement that the person in the driver seat immediately grabbed a gun and immediately turned and fired.”

As Lavallee reconstructed the scene to the jury, she noted it’s unclear who fired first. She suggested Brown shot first, and Raya Leon shot back. She described the killing shot as “unlucky.”

On the day he died, Brown was a late addition to an ongoing investigation into a spate of break-ins, the most recent of which involved a cache of rifles, handguns and ammunition. That break-in occurred in June 2021.

Over the weeks after the robbery, Clark County detectives and other law enforcement agencies homed in on Raya Leon’s sister-in-law, Misty May Raya.

On July 23, Clark County detectives tracked Misty May Raya to Castle Rock, Washington, where she was with her husband and Raya Leon. The detectives followed them south through Clark County and into a shopping center on Hayden Island.

Ultimately, they followed them to The Pointe apartment complex in east Vancouver.

Court records state Guillermo Raya Leon became convinced they were followed. He went outside and confronted a maroon-colored Jeep in the parking lot, driven by Brown. The two exchanged gunfire. Brown later died of his wounds.

The trio sped off in a car driven by Raya Leon’s brother, Abran Raya Leon. They crashed about a mile away. Police then arrested Abran Raya Leon and Misty May Raya in the backyard of a home. Guillermo Raya Leon was caught in Salem the next day.

Guillermo Raya Leon’s trial is expected to last about three weeks.

Last month, a jury found Abran Raya Leon guilty of second-degree murder, possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He’s since been sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Misty May Raya is slated to go to trial Oct. 9. She faces a slew of charges including second-degree murder, theft, burglary and more than two dozen counts of theft of a firearm.>>



<<Neighbors rallied at a park in Northwest Portland Friday, calling for the city to address their safety concerns.

People who live near Couch Park said they’re seeing violence, drug use and camping at the park, which is along a walking route to several nearby schools.

“This is the kind of thing we see at the park here,” Zarnitz said. “It’s just a needle with who knows what’s in it, just laying here out in the open. This is school property, that’s a playground right there.”>>

<<One of the people camping near the park, who goes by Tacanna Ocean Love, said they understand why neighbors are upset and frustrated with the way things have turned out.

“I do understand it because it’s messy and some people are very messy and it’s disgusting,” Tacanna said. “And it’s really not okay. I wouldn’t want to come out of my house seeing that. And it’s frustrating for people that take care of their camps and do appreciate neighbors and try to have respect for them. But where the heck are these people supposed to go if all you do is kick them out of every place that they’re at.”>>

<<Sgt. DiMatteo said police are taking steps to try to make things safer for everyone. “We need to establish what the rules of use of the park are,” DiMatteo said. “There have to be consequences if people violate those rules – what’s going to be done? These aren’t things we can make happen overnight, because as they’ve kind of fallen off people’s radar, or they’re not being enforced, we need to bring it back into the spotlight as say ‘hey, this is how we take back our park.’”

Sgt. DiMatteo said he will reach out to park rangers and ask officers to walk by the park when they have time, to try and ease community concerns, as well as deter any bad behavior.>>


<<A group of neighbors spent Friday morning taking back the park. A few spray-painted ‘school zone’ signs up and down the sidewalk as a way to remind people the park is no place for shady behavior.  Neighbors said there is non-stop drug use and dealing, and illegal camping in the park.

“I think we’re all frustrated with what our living situation has become in the city and in this neighborhood and in this park and we’re looking for solutions,” Todd Zarnitz said.

“It’s pretty sad,” Kerry Duff added. “It’s sad. I’m hoping neighbors getting together can change things. We can make a presence in the park and take our park back.”

Neighbors told KGW they are not happy with the way the city has responded to their concerns.>>

<<“In an effort to ease community concerns, officers have made efforts to do extra patrol in the park. That will continue as staffing and call load allows,” said Sgt. Kevin Allen with PPB.>>



<<Nike has abandoned its efforts to reopen its long-shuttered community store in Northeast Portland and now plans to make the store’s closure permanent.>>

<<Portland community leader Ron Herndon said a Nike representative called Thursday night to inform him the community store would be closing permanently.

“It’s very disappointing,” Herndon said. “I wish we could have had a different outcome.”

Herndon and the Black United Front approached Nike nearly four decades ago and urged the company to build its first ever factory store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, then called Union Avenue. >>

<<In a letter sent to Mayor Ted Wheeler in February, Nike officials confirmed that the store had closed due to “deteriorating public safety conditions and rapid escalation in retail theft,” and referenced prior meetings between Nike officials, city staff and the police, but said they had not yet reached a workable solution to reopen.

Nike offered to directly pay for dedicated police support to reopen the store, either by contracting off-duty uniformed Portland Police Bureau officers to guard the store or by entering into an agreement with the city to fund additional full-time officers. The offer included a deadline of May 1, with Nike hinting in the letter that the closure could become permanent if the city didn’t accept one of the ideas.

Internal city emails obtained by KGW showed that several officials in Wheeler’s office reviewed the letter, but that the city couldn’t agree to the company’s proposal because it couldn’t spare any police officers.

It wasn’t a question of money, according to the city’s emails — the city simply didn’t have enough officers on staff and couldn’t get more trained and certified fast enough. >>

<<Wheeler reiterated that position in a statement Friday, saying that he was “very disappointed” with the decision to make the store’s closure permanent.

“My team and City Staff have worked tirelessly and in good faith with Nike for almost a year to offer creative solutions to their safety challenges,” he said. “Ultimately, the City cannot offer Nike, or any other private business, with dedicated off-duty PPB officers due to PPB’s staffing shortage. I remain committed to supporting Nike’s future success in Portland and look forward to their future investments in our community.”>>


<<Nike confirmed they are permanently closing the community store on Northeast MLK Boulevard in Portland, months after they requested a security partnership with the City of Portland.

In February, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he would increase patrols in the area is Nike re–opened the story. But the store remained closed for months>>


<<Still, the store was certainly a frequent target for thieves. The Portland Police Bureau received 276 reports of shoplifting at the factory store in 2022 alone, according to police records obtained by WW last October.>>


<<Portland civil rights and education activist Ron Herndon and the Black United Front worked with Nike in the 1980s to bring the brand’s first ever factory store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, then called Union Avenue.

Herndon said all the store not only hired workers from the neighborhood, but also invested all the profits from sales at the store into Portland’s Black community.

“Obviously, I was disappointed to hear that they wasn’t going to be able to reopen the store,” Herndon said. “I think this is a failure of leadership at City Hall … I just believe folks at City Hall don’t have the skill or creativity to address major issues that impact not only the Black community but all of Portland.”>>


<<Nike has permanently closed what it once considered its flagship Community Factory Store on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Portland, the Beaverton-based company confirmed in a statement to OPB on Friday.

Nike had sold discounted and out-of-season items at the Northeast neighborhood factory store since 1984. Citing theft and safety concerns, the sportswear giant temporarily closed the retail location late last year.

But the temporary closure stretched from days into months. Then earlier this year, Nike officials asked Portland city leaders for increased security in the area, if it were to reopen the store.>>



<<Washington will receive $62.6 million in a multistate opioid settlement with major retailer Walmart.

Last December, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he would join the settlement in an effort to combat the state’s drug crisis — a crisis that Walmart has been accused of contributing to by offering opioids at its pharmacies.

On Thursday, the attorney general notified the public that the multi-million-dollar settlement would be distributed across state, city and county agencies in Washington.

“This is real money that funds real resources that will save lives,” Ferguson said in a statement. “But I am not done here. My office still litigates active cases, which we will use to hold all companies that fueled the opioid epidemic accountable. My team is working to bring even more money and resources back to affected Washington communities.”

The Walmart settlement totals $3.1 billion and involves all 50 states.

The corporation has also been ordered to closely monitor its pharmacies so patients are restricted from having multiple opioid prescriptions.

However, Walmart isn’t the only company that has agreed to pay billions of dollars to state governments due to its suspected role in the drug crisis.

Drug manufacturers Teva and Allergan, and pharmacies CVS and Walgreens submitted their final payments from their own opioid settlements earlier this summer.

As part of the settlement, Teva was banned from promoting opioids and Allergan was banned from selling them for the next 10 years. CVS and Walgreens were also advised to monitor their pharmacies for “suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions.”

In total, Washington has received $1.1 billion from 11 companies that are considered liable for the drug crisis.

“The Attorney General’s Office has upcoming trials against one opioid manufacturer and multiple pharmacies that helped fuel the epidemic,” Washington officials said.>>


<<Schwartz co-founded Recovery Works NW. The organization operates a trio of outpatient drug treatment, detox, and diversion programs. Soon, it will add a medically managed detox center in Southeast Portland to its roster–the first in the region to be opened using funds from Oregon’s Measure 110.

Recovery Works NW estimates about $1.5 million from Measure 110 funds were used to help purchase and establish the site, with another $236,000 from Clackamas County.

The new detox center is slated to open within the next two weeks, as soon as staff are trained and onboarded.

The new Foster Road Detox Center will offer 16 beds, mostly to people who need to withdraw from fentanyl, and is expected to serve about 1,200 people a year. Medically-managed withdrawal takes about three to five days. It’s the first step in the longer road to recovery. The center won’t accept walk-ins. Prospective patients need to call for an appointment or have a referral. >>

<<Measure 110 was approved by Oregon voters in November 2020 as a pathway to treating drug addiction as a public health problem, rather than a criminal problem. Under the measure, users are supposed to be offered drug treatment and rehabilitation as a way to avoid jail time and criminalization. The measure uses state funds from cannabis sales to pay for treatment services. To date, the state has allocated more than $264 million toward Behavioral Health Resource Networks (BHRNs), which can include addiction treatment services, across Oregon.

Recovery Works NW’s Foster Road Detox Center is a major milestone. Since implementation, Measure 110 has seen more public criticism and backlash over a perceived lack of results than it has celebrated wins. Elected leaders have criticized the state’s rollout of the measure, and drug recovery specialists report a patchwork of resources in Oregon that leaves people in need of treatment on a long waitlist. Now, physicians say service providers and taxpayers are finally starting to see services come online. >>

<<Since the measure was passed in 2020, the landscape has been further complicated by a surge in fentanyl distribution and addiction. Addiction medicine specialists say heroin used to be the drug du jour. Now, fentanyl is more readily available and far more deadly. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s more potent than heroin, making it easier to overdose on and harder to treat. Because of its potency, it only takes a small amount to mix with other drugs, often making it less expensive than other opioids sold on the street.

The Recovery Works NW CEO said the organization has been providing behavioral health and addiction treatment services for a decade, but staff there “have never seen anything approaching the severity of the current emergency.”

Oregon Rep. Rob Nosse (D-42), whose legislative district includes Portland, chairs Oregon’s House Interim Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care. Nosse calls himself a champion of Measure 110.

“That measure is about shifting to a public health approach as opposed to a criminal justice approach,” Nosse told a crowd gathered at the Foster Road Detox Center for a ribbon cutting celebration. “We’ve had over 50 years of a War on Drugs and a criminal justice approach, and it’s time that one place in the United States try and give a different approach a chance.

Nosse said Oregon is now diverting people from “a system that we know is not helping them, to one that actually provides treatment.”

“Treatment. Not jail,” Nosse emphasized.

Nosse estimates Measure 110 has saved Oregon’s criminal justice system $40 million since it went into place.>>

<<The new detox center, which previously served as an adult foster care facility, is slated to be the first drug withdrawal center in the Portland metro region that will focus on fentanyl addiction.

It’s also one of the few detox centers that will accept Oregon Health Plan patients.

After a stay at the detox center, patients are referred to services where they can be in longer outpatient treatment, or if space is available, move on to an inpatient rehab center.

The new center is expected to fill a gap in addiction treatment services, but it’s a small part of the bigger push for treatment centers and access that’s needed to truly put a dent in Oregon’s addiction crisis.

Oregon health care studies show the need for addiction treatment far surpasses the state’s available services.

“I think a lot of the biggest needs are around supporting access to treatment,” Eve Klein, a medical director at CODA Inc. treatment and recovery center, said. “It’s so complex. There are so many different needs. Measure 110, largely where it’s fallen short so far, is because of access.”>>


<<The Oregon Change Clinic in Northeast Portland held a graduation ceremony Friday to recognize the completion of a six-month intensive program.

OCC is a culturally specific outpatient treatment facility for substance use recovery and mental health disorders. On average, they have about 25 people a month in their six-month intensive outpatient program, and say they’ve been able to help more people thanks to Measure 110.

CEO Shannon Jones says Measure 110 helped extend their program from three months to six months.

“Three months just wasn’t enough for people to get stabilized and find a long-term housing, find employment, go to school, and those kinds of things, to really get prepared. We realized early on that people needed more time we’re working with people who are considered intensive outpatient treatment,” says Jones. “We individualize the treatment plan so that everyone’s journey is just a little bit different.>>


The Merc comments:

<<You’ve probably noticed the intense efforts to revoke the voter-approved Measure 110 which prioritizes drug treatment over criminalization (a method that has never, and will never, work).

However, Portland City Council certainly didn’t get that memo, and on Wednesday voted 5-0 to shove through an illegal ordinance that would criminalize public hard drug use, thereby pushing it back into the shadows. (As you know, Council is much more interested in hiding problems from their rich benefactors rather than working to solve the city’s most pressing issues.) Did I mention hard-liner Commissioner Rene Gonzalez was behind this new ordinance? Right… you correctly assumed that already. In any case, can’t wait to vote every one of these willfully ignorant, blustering, theatrical show-ponies out of office!




<<Turning to the kinds of policies he would pursue as mayor, Mapps said he thinks there’s a “clear consensus” that Portland’s houselessness, public safety and economic recovery policies have all failed, based on the amounts of money spent and the worsening numbers of homeless residents and homicides in recent years.

“For the first time in 40 years, I’ll tell you, the number of people who are living in Portland has actually decreased,” he said. “People are fleeing Portland. That combination of high crimes, high homelessness and people literally fleeting the city is a sign of a city heading in the wrong direction.”>>

[KW NOTE:  Survey data show that people are leaving Portland  because housing is too expensive.  Mapps, who ran against rent-control advocate Chloe Eudaley, with backing from the police union, naturally cannot address affordable housing and prefers to frame the issue and crime and disorder.]

<<Reflecting on his own two-and-a-half years in office as a city commissioner, Mapps said he felt that he’s helped the city begin to turn a corner, with homicide rates starting to go down and the city taking a “much more rational” approach to houselessness. He also talked about the council’s efforts to grow the police department, which he characterized as a shift from a mentality of reducing police funding that prevailed when he was running for office.

“If we stay on track, we’ll actually have a police department that is actually adequate to meet the needs of the city,” he said. “And at the same time, I haven’t forgotten the facts — which I can never forget, as a Black man and a Black father — that it’s important to have a police department which is equitable and fair and transparent and just to all people, regardless of the color of their skin.”>>


<<This week, the Portland City Council unanimously passed a drug use criminalization ordinance, crafted by Commissioner Rene Gonzalez and Mayor Ted Wheeler. The measure would ban the public use of drugs like fentanyl and meth only if the Oregon Legislature changes a state law. >>

<<Gonzalez recently joined OPB’s “Think Out Loud” for a conversation about public safety. Below are excerpts>>

<<“The idea is ultimately that people are getting treatment. I wanna be crystal clear. This is a good criminalization step. But our goal is to get the people who need the treatment, the treatment under our system. The court system has been an effective way to compel treatment in the past. Many will argue that volunteer is more efficient. I don’t necessarily dispute it, but this is another means to get people into treatment … we’re really hoping that once we have the ability to do this, we can start accelerating people going into drug courts which drives them to addiction services … what’s important for police is the ability to book, and usually that’s going hand in hand with some sort of public consumption in conjunction with some other negative behaviors.”>>

<<“First and foremost, this is a response to Portlanders that were outraged by public consumption — witnessing in front of their children, breathing the fumes — this is a response to voters and our citizens reaching out to us with deep, deep concern about this. And frankly, the city and the community has a right to have a say on what goes on in the right of way. And that’s including whether that’s the user or the non-user. We all have a stake in when it occurs in our common areas.”>>

<<“I would also submit that we’ve taken a number of steps in recent years including Measure 110 to destigmatize public drug use. And we were promised if we destigmatize that, that would lead to better health outcomes. We’re not seeing those better outcomes … treating addiction as a disease that has not led to better outcomes anywhere on the West Coast. From my vantage point, we are amidst a major national crisis on and regional crisis on overdoses. We have done what the advocate said, we have destigmatized. We have allocated substantial dollars towards addiction services which I continue to fully support. I mean, that’s one part of Measure 110 I am all on board with is putting as many dollars towards addiction services as we can, but it has not led to the positive health outcomes we were promised. So I think it’s fair to push back on that.”>>

<<On Portland Street Response

“Well, it’s a great program to efficiently find non-police intervention for those in mental distress. And mobile response is finding another way to get people to de-escalate, ideally connect them with services, although that sometimes is elusive, depending on whether the recipient is willing to take those services at that time. But it has added some efficiency in our system for certain types of police calls.”

“The medical side is a little bit more elusive. We’re still working on actually trying to deepen their medical capabilities, deepen ties in with our program called CHAT, which is low acuity medical outreach for Portland Fire. [Portland Street Response] is really on the behavioral health side, CHAT is on the low acuity medical side, and these are both strains on our system. So they originally were solving two separate problems. Where we’re kind of seeing, however, is that merging the two together may have some real benefits because often there is a combination of behavioral health needs and low acuity medical at any given time.”>>




[KW  NOTE: There’s been a noticeable increase in these feel-good cop stories.]