“It’s him. He died.”
It was 3:50 in the afternoon and Caran Johnson had just let the world know that the car accident she had been tweeting about involved her husband, Craig.
It was the end of two hours in which Johnson, a well-known listener of emergency radio in Clark County who tweets out what she hears under the name @scancouver, slowly came to realize that her life was changing.
Johnson, a mother of two who lives in Salmon Creek, has spent a lot of time over the past couple of years letting residents of Clark County know about some of the stuff they probably wish they had never heard about: fires, murders, assaults, robberies.
What happened to Johnson is a reminder to anyone who makes their living off the fact that bad things happen to good people.
“It’s him. He died.”
Let me introduce you to Matt Conwell.
I am thankful that he is out there and, I suspect, if you spend even a few minutes on the phone with him, you will feel the same way.
It’s late Thanksgiving night and Conwell, finally home after a long day of holiday celebrating with family and friends, is all to happy to talk about what he is thankful for.
“I am so grateful to be a part of a community that is willing to make a change and not just talk making a change,” he says over the phone.
Conwell is talking about the gaming community and the charity event they just did that brought in tens of thousands of pounds of food for the Union Gospel Mission.
Sometimes the most innocent of moments can result in events that leave a profound impact.
It was the night of Nov. 12, 1988 and Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant studying at Portland State, was being dropped off at his apartment on Southeast 31st Avenue.
He was 28 years old, had a son and would not live much longer.
Peter Parker. Tony Stark. Rob Libke.
All regular people by day who turned into superheroes.
Just ask Libke's nephew, Dustin Lies.
“He was the bravest person I knew, the smartest,” he says from his home in Montana, where he is still getting used to the fact that the person who was a father figure to him was gunned down on Sunday.
When the City Council meets Wednesday, one issue that will not be on the agenda is reform of the police bureau.
That’s been put on the back burner.
And Lavonne Griffin-Valade, the city’s auditor does not think that’s such a good idea.
The affidavit from the FBI agent might as well be the opening scene of a thriller.
It is August 10 of this year, about 10:30 at night. The FBI has four planes in the air above Portland. The planes are equipped with special cameras pointing to the ground.
Two of the planes belong to the bureau and two belong to the Portland Police Department.
Their mission – figure out who has been aiming a laser at planes approaching Portland International Airport.
It’s one of those rare stories that make me want to leave the news business because there are some things I just don’t want to know.
I really wish I had never heard the names of Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and her 11-year-old half-sister Abigail Robinson.
I would be fine if no one had told me how the two of them had been playing in a pile of leaves outside their home in Forest Grove on Sunday when a car plowed through the pile.
"I was dealing drugs - crack - before I was a teenager," says Robert Rean, reflecting on how he got to where he is.
"I was a bad a man. Lots of people on the street knew who I was, what I was capable of and to be afraid of me."
Rean, who has been out of jail for almost a year, says that is no longer the case.
In a flash, the gun went off and Tiffany Jenks, 35, was on the ground. Dead.
There were three people with her by Blue Lake Park in Fairview when it happened. And all will be behind bars Saturday when a memorial is held at Crane High School in Burns for Jenks.
Friends and family of Jenks have described her as having been a warm, caring, outgoing person who had struggled with addiction and depression ever since her father died in 2010.
She had worked as a hydrologist for the Bonneville Power Administration, a job she left around the time her father died.
In court documents released Friday, the story of the night unfolds like a movie. And since we know the ending, it’s easy to find yourself wanting to reach into the paper and shake some sense into Ms. Jenks before it is too late.
But no such luck.
Jessie Marie Cavett is just one of many.
The 27-year-old woman was shot once in the head and killed in front of her daughter on Saturday. Police say the man who pulled the trigger was her husband.
She had an order of protection against him - commonly known as a restraining order.
And while he is now under arrest and there will likely be a sense of justice – he told the police he had “just f****** killed someone” – the case highlights the unfortunate truth that, in the end an order of protection is just a piece of paper.
It all started in 1826.
Emilius Simpson was in London at a dinner party in his honor. He was the head of the Pacific Coast trade for the Hudson Bay Company and was getting ready to visit his cousin who was the governor of what is now Vancouver.
A woman at the party, having finished her apple dessert, took five of the seeds, wrapped them in a napkin and gave them to Simpson, asking that he plant them when he arrived on the other side of the world.
Sunday was one of those days that convince people Portland is a grey, miserable city where people exist in a bubble of rain.
It was coming down straight, sideways, at times hitting puddles so hard you would not have been blamed for thinking the rain was coming up from the ground. It was not pleasant.
And yet, for several hours, I was among some of the most pleasant, content people on the planet.
It was the annual walk put on by the ALS Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington.
You know the old expression about the numbers speaking for themselves?
From April 2011 through June 2013, 202 people in Portland committed suicide. That’s roughly 34.4 people per 100,000, or three times the national rate, according to a report issued by the Portland Police Bureau.
Another way to look at that is there were approximately 7.5 suicides a month, or one every four days.
There were nearly twice as many suicides as homicides and traffic fatalities combined.
Lynsie Lee, a single, working mom in the Portland area, found herself Wednesday in the national spotlight.
A graduate of Reynolds High School, Lee went to Mt. Hood Community College where she studied philosophy and geology. She’s also smart and funny, which has attracted more than 10,000 followers to her Twitter account.
Her activity there – some 40,000 tweets - also brought her to the attention of a woman making a documentary about Twitter, Follow Friday.
Also in the film are such notables as Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed and Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark and candidate for the United States Senate.
Lee and Booker tweeted back and forth, sometimes flirtatiously and on Wednesday that became national news.
As the rains come, it seems easy to forget how dry much of the state was and the fires that were raging just a few weeks ago.
With those fires were the hundreds of firefighters who traveled from all over to save homes, land, lives.
In the process, two firefighters in Oregon lost their lives.