PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Dr. Steven Fritz, the husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, was killed in a collision that involved multiple vehicles on I-5 near Salem Wednesday morning.
Steven Fritz was a psychiatrist with Oregon State Hospital. He was 54.
At 9:31 a.m., Mayor Charlie Hales spokesperson Dana Haynes sent out an email alert that said, “There is news today of a tragedy that involves Portland City Hall. We ask for patience and privacy for family and staff, as we work through today’s situation.”
At a press briefing about an hour later, Haynes said he didn’t have any details on the crash itself, but said Fritz was at City Hall when she heard the news.
“She left with Commissioner Nick Fish as soon as she found out,” Haynes said.
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese was the person who drove Amanda Fritz and Fish to the scene.
“We here at City Hall are all there for Amanda and her family and her staff. We spent much of the day today just trying to be good caregivers and colleagues to her staff,” Haynes said. “[We’ll] take the burden of whatever work we can take from her office to the rest of ours for the next few days, so they can deal with the shock of this.”
Haynes said Amanda Fritz’s staff is holding up well under the circumstances.
“This is a very, very difficult day for everyone here and the staff is really holding up well,” he said. “The very first thought they had is how can we serve the commissioner, then how can we serve her family, then how can we serve the constituents as well. It’s a big loss and right now everybody is pretty stunned, so we’re trying to assimilate the data as best we can.”
Her office is closed for the day, and the city council meeting was cancelled.
Her city web page said, “Amanda has been married to Steve for over 30 years, and they are the parents of Luke, Maxwell, and Ali — all graduates of Portland Public Schools.”
Mayor Charlie Hales released a lengthy statement. In part, he said, “Today is a terrible tragedy for our friends and staff at City Hall. Nancy and I, and my staff all mourn the passing of Dr. Steven Fritz, husband of our colleague, Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
“Our hearts also go out to the family of Cary Fairchild, who was injured in the crash. Cary’s husband, Jim Fairchild, works in the Portland Fire and Rescue Bureau. … We at City Hall are here for Amanda, her family and her staff. We will be doing everything possible to help in the days and weeks ahead. …
“A community vigil has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at Terry Schrunk Park, for everyone who would like to pay their respects.
We will have a Place to leave cards or flowers or thoughts, downstairs in the atrium at City Hall.”
Following Hales’ statement, Amanda Fritz tweeted, “Thanks to all helping with my loss of the great Steve Fritz. No flowers or cards, please. His kids and I will announce charity choices soon.”
Fritz’s son, Luke, also took to Twitter saying, “Reflections on a life well lived. Your thoughts, prayers, and support are all so appreciated, my friends.”
In a tweet, Gov. John Kitzhaber said, “My heart goes out to Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her family. Her husband Dr. Steve Fritz dedicated himself to the service of those in need.”
In a statement, the superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, Greg Roberts, praised Fritz. He said he worked “to help people with mental illness for more than 27 years.”
Roberts called Fritz “a gifted psychiatrist, respected and beloved by both his colleagues and his patients” who had an “unwavering belief that people can recover and live life to the fullest.”
“We are heartbroken by this news. This is a great loss for patients, staff, and the mental health community, and we will dearly miss our co-worker and friend,” Roberts said.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.