PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Homicide detectives with the Portland Police Bureau are investigating a stabbing underneath the Burnside Bridge in Southwest Portland.
The incident was reported at 3:56 a.m. Saturday in between the Portland Saturday Market and the TriMet Skidmore Fountain MAX platform, police said.
The victim, 39-year-old Bryce Carlton Powers, remains in critical condition, but is slowly improving, Sgt. Peter Simpson said in a prepared statement.
Officers on scene said the call for help was initially placed to 911 as a possible hit-and-run vehicle crash. When officers arrived and located the victim, they found he had a wound to his chest consistent with a stabbing, officials said. It does not appear the man was hit by a vehicle.
Detectives have learned Powers, who is homeless, was involved in an argument and fight with several other suspected homeless men underneath the Burnside Bridge when he was stabbed, Simpson said. Powers walked away and ultimately collapsed in the roadway of Southwest Naito Parkway near Ankeny Street.
Police have not said if anyone was in custody. Several homeless people sleeping under the bridge at the time of the incident have been detained as potential witnesses. Police were not allowing them to move their belongings, one man, who declined to give his name, said.
The victim was transported to Oregon Health & Science University with critical injuries, police said.
Due to concerns about public safety, Central Precinct officers will not allow any overnight camping on the sidewalk underneath the Burnside Bridge, Simpson said. Police will work with social service agencies to recommend shelters or other alternatives for those needing a place to sleep, Simpson said.
Because of the man’s condition, homicide detectives, the Forensic Evidence Division and the bureau’s mobile command center responded to the scene.
TriMet told KOIN 6 News that eastbound MAX blue and red line trains are not stopping at the Skidmore Fountain platform because of the police investigation. TriMet estimated the closure to early afternoon.
Southwest Natio Parkway has been closed between Northwest Couch and Southwest Ankeny Street. An officer on scene said people will have access to the Portland Saturday Market, they will have to walk around the crime scene. There is no impact to the waterfront running or biking path.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Mark Slater at (503) 823-9319 or Detective Erik Kammerer at (503) 823-0762.
– Brent Weisberg