By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly
A hate crime took place last week at Bagby Hot Springs — and the Clackamas County Sheriff has asked the community’s help to find the perpetrators.
The attack occurred between midnight and 1 AM on the morning of Tuesday, December 2. In an exclusive statement to PQ Monthly, Portland-area resident Mik Holland explained that he and a friend from out of town were visiting Bagby’s soaking pools; there, they met two young men and engaged in conversation with them. As per a statement to PQ, the tenor of the conversation changed when the issue of sexual orientation arose; shortly thereafter, Holland and his friend were attacked by the men, with Holland suffering significant head wounds from being bludgeoned with an industrial flashlight. The perpetrators fled from the scene immediately after the attack. With the help of passerby, Holland and his friend made their way down Bagby’s long trail; they were ultimately picked up by an ambulance and taken to OHSU, where Holland was treated for his injuries. Both are recovering well from their injuries, but continue to deal with both the physical and mental after-effects of their experience.
“Talking about it in plain speech, this was a hate crime,” says Lieutenant Robert Wurpes of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. “However, while do have a hate crime [classification] — Intimidation — the officer wrote it up [in the police report] as assault in the second degree. Assault in the second degree carries heavier fines and penalties than intimidation in the first degree, which may have been why the officer listed those charges.” Lieutenant Wurpes notes that, if they are able to find the suspects, the District Attorney will be able to tack on more charges, possibly including Intimidation.
However, the Sheriff’s office has not yet found the suspects. “We only have vague descriptions of who the perpetrators were and a possible vehicle, so this is a difficult case,” he says. “This is an open investigation, and we’ve set a deputy and supervisor [onto this case]. The one thing we’re hoping for is that we were able to seize the flashlight used in this crime and send it to the Oregon Crime Lab; we’re hoping to get fingerprints or DNA off the light.”
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the community’s help in finding the alleged attackers and the vehicle spotted at the scene of the crime:
The first alleged attacker was described by Lieutenant Wurpes as a male of possible Eastern European descent, 67 inches in height, 180 lbs, with blue eyes and short blonde hair. At the time of the attack, the alleged perpetrator was wearing blue jeans, a green vest, and a grey sweatshirt. Holland notes that this alleged perpetrator identified himself as Alex, noted in conversation that he was of Siberian descent, had no facial hair, weighed about 155 lbs, and “looked Estonian.”
The second attacker was described by Lieutenant Wurpes as a male of possible Eastern European descent, 72 inches in height, 200 lbs, with short brown hair and a Russian accent. Holland notes that this alleged attacker identified himself with a name beginning with J (possibly James), stated that he was 22 years of age, was about 180 lbs “with a slight gut,” and had a bit of grey in his hair.
The vehicle is a 2007-2010 Dodge pickup with an extended bed and Washington plates. The vehicle may be dark blue or charcoal grey; Holland notes that it was likely a diesel model.
Community members with any possible leads or information about the case are encouraged to contact the Clackamas County Sherriff tip line at (503) 723-4949 and reference case # 13-36459. As they are still recovering from the after-effects of this attack, Holland and his friend request that members of the media and public please do not contact them. PQ will continue to post info as the situation unfolds and will have a full report with further statements from the survivors in our upcoming print issue, to be released December 19.