PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —Portland Parks and Recreation together with Portland Police have stepped-up security at Sellwood Riverfront Park.
“We are in touch with Portland Police and have visited the Park last night and today for additional presence,” Portland Parks and Recreation spokeswoman, Jennifer Yonon, told KOIN News.
Police are looking for a man accused of threatening a woman at knifepoint while trying to rob her Tuesday at Sellwood Riverfront Park.
The 18-year-old victim says she was walking her dog on a trail in the wooded area towards Oaks Amusement Park around 10 a.m. when a man suddenly came out of the bushes and demanded her property, Portland Police Bureau said.
She says the suspect grabbed her arm and displayed a pocket knife. Police say she ran off to a friends house where she called 911.
“I’d say it’s a little odd–a little freaky,” dog owner Michelle Stahlecker told KOIN News. “Because you usually see the regular dogs around here and people.”
Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect.
Ian Hilgart tells KOIN News, he warned the city about danger at Sellwood Riverfront Park in a letter three weeks ago, after he was attacked for the second time.
“This was the second time in about three months I’ve had issues at this park. On the first occasion I had a homeless person pull a knife on my dog and I,” Hilgart told KOIN 6.
Hilgart said he warned the city in a letter about the dangers at the park and homeless campers nearby. He never got a response. KOIN 6 News inquired about it with Amanda Fritz, who oversees the parks department, she was unavailable for comment.
“I don’t think we have strong leadership,” Hilgart told KOIN 6. “Strong leadership means making decisions that not everybody is happy with, but they’re the decisions that need to be made to keep people safe. More than owing me an explanation, they owe that girl and explanation.”
The city’s parks department said they will take Hilgart’s reports into consideration with patrolling this summer, but in recent patrols, they haven’t seen camps nearby.
Portland Police say they are stretched so thin, they aren’t able to send extra patrols to deal with homeless camps after every complaint because the problem is all over the city.
The suspect in Tuesday’s attack is described as a white man in his 20s, 6 feet tall with a skinny build, a goatee or beard and light brown hair. He was reportedly wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black cargo pants, a black mask and black shoes at the time of the alleged robbery attempt.
Anyone with information on the case should call 503.823.3333..