Field Notes

Prosecutors say glamorous image was front for sex trafficker

Prosecutors say glamorous image was front for sex trafficker
Taquarius Ford

Taquarius Ford paints a picture of the Hollywood life in press releases and websites announcing various initiatives.

He says he has a talent agency. He says he represents musicians and people in the entertainment industry. He says he started an organization to keep kids from using drugs.

There are pictures of Ford with Taylor Swift. Ford with Jermaine Jackson. Ford with Nick Cannon. Ford with The Biebs.

It all comes across as borderline glamorous.

Prosecutors say that made it very easy for him to lure young women into his fold.

Murder case shows what happens when people stay silent

Murder case shows what happens when people stay silent
Jessica Dutro-Bogess.

“Had they been made aware, they would have been able to talk to each other and get their story straight.”

That was Dr. Danny Leonhardt on the stand in Washington County Court earlier this week.

He was talking about the reaction of Jessica Dutro after he had told her the extent of the injuries her son, 4-year-old Zachary had suffered.

Joy of bots: Kids "let the world in" and help others

Joy of bots: Kids "let the world in" and help others
Winterhaven student with his bot.

It’s hard to argue with Sharon Hatrak when she starts to talk about the sense of satisfaction when you see them smile.

“When you see the joy on the faces of kids when they have finished something, even when they are working on something,” she says. “You immediately know how important the arts can be.”

Cover Oregon and why doesn't anyone say they're sorry?

Carolyn Lawson would like you to feel sorry for her.

At least that’s the impression one gets from reading the notice she filed against the State of Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority, Cover Oregon and several officials letting them know she’s thinking of suing.

“She has endured significant financial loss and considerable emotional pain,” her lawyer writes.

Social Security inaction puts neediest of the needy on the brink

Social Security inaction puts neediest of the needy on the brink
The closing of Safety Net of Oregon has put people receiving disability checks from Social Security at risk.

It hasn’t always been this hard for Charles Vaughn.

In his mid-40s and based in Alabama, Vaughn worked for FEMA as an emergency responder. He helped people recover from Katrina. He was on the ground for the aftermath of several tropical storms.

About four years ago, he went through a divorce. FEMA apparently gave him the opportunity to relocate. He picked Portland as his new home.

The circumstances that brought him here are not 100 percent clear because soon after arriving, Charles suffered a traumatic brain injury. Much is gone from his memory.

The man who had been there to help others is now in the position of needing help to get by day to day.

Cop sees 'heartbreaking' loss as meth makes a comeback

Cop sees 'heartbreaking' loss as meth makes a comeback
Brett Pearson (left) and Robert Miller, accused of shooting Pearson's parents

The 17-year-old sat in jail last week telling a reporter things were supposed to be different.

Brett Pearson that said instead of being there, he should have been at home having dinner with his parents.  The problem was that he and a friend of his, according to police, had shot and killed his mother and shot and wounded his father.

Why did things go so wrong?

Meth, he told the reporter.

FBI agent focuses on mystery of active shooters

FBI agent focuses on mystery of active shooters
Sandy Flint

It was three days after the shooting at Clackamas Town Center and Sandra Flint was in the Portland FBI headquarters setting up the conference room for a training session scheduled for the next day.

A special agent for more than 20 years and a trained firearms instructor, Flint is also the crisis management coordinator for the office. There hadn’t been a lot of downtime the previous couple of days and she was focused on getting the room ready.

“Brenda burst into the room,” she said Saturday, looking back on that day, referring to one of her colleagues. “She told me that my three phones – my personal cell, my work cell and my desk – were all ringing off the hook. ‘Can’t you hear the overhead pages?’ she wanted to know.

“I told her, apparently not.”

Illmaculate's immaculate idea on race relations: We can make it better

Gregory Poe is a soft-spoken 28-year-old from North Portland who stands about 5’5” and has an alter ego who comes across as twice as tall and many times more powerful.

But this Tuesday morning, days removed from having walked off the stage at Blue Monk and out of the club where he was supposed to perform, the soft-spoken Poe is beginning to feel the emotion that powers Illmaculate, his hip-hop persona who has won rap battles from here to Cincinnati to England.

“I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as Illmaculate the Great,” he says facetiously. The thing is. It’s not undeserved. After all, as Muhammed Ali said, ‘it ain’t bragging if you done it’ and Poe has racked up more than his share of accolades.

“Really, though, I just want to help figure this out. I don’t have the answers but I know some of the questions.”

Court papers paint picture of fractured Woodburn Police Department

Court papers paint picture of fractured Woodburn Police Department
Photo: Woodburn Police Department

Officer Daniel Kelly had been a member of the Woodburn Police Department for less than a year in 2009 when his supervisor allegedly attempted to sexually attack Kelly’s girlfriend.

They had all been off-duty at a party when the supervisor, a sergeant, asked Kelly to give him a ride home because he had had too much to drink. Once home, the sergeant asked the two to stay the night given the shape was he in.

They agreed.

Later that night, court papers say, the sergeant “burst in sexually aroused, and attempted to sodomize the female companion of Officer Kelly, in Officer Kelly’s presence.”

That incident is detailed in a series of court papers filed on behalf of three Woodburn officers against the department. The first papers were a notice of intent to sue filed last November. A second notice with more allegations was filed this past week.

Audit of Sex Crimes Unit shows progress but "tragic outcomes" still occur

It was January 5, 2010 and SD was working in the Emergency Department at Legacy Emanuel when she went into an office supply closet. She was followed by Jeffrey McAllister, a nurse at the hospital.

Inside in the closet, according to police and a complaint she has filed against the hospital, McAllister sexually assaulted her.

If that had been it, it would have been enough to consider the story troubling.

As it turns out there’s more.

Police chief credits 'heroes' doing their jobs in arrest of serial hotel robber

Police chief credits 'heroes' doing their jobs in arrest of serial hotel robber
Ernest Lee Dean

Know the name Devon Edwards.

She is one of the heroes of today’s story.

It was around 4 a.m. Jan. 5 and Edwards - a 2-year veteran of the Cannon Beach Police Department - was doing a regular patrol when she noticed a car quickly pulling away from the Stephanie Inn.

As judge considers settlement, questions remain on dealings with mentally ill

For hours on Tuesday, dozens of people took to the courtroom of Federal Judge Michael Simon to give their opinion on whether a proposed settlement between the Portland Police Bureau and the United States Department of Justice is “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The Justice Department had determined that Portland police engaged in a pattern of practice of using excessive force against people either with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness.

The settlement, which came after months of negotiations, includes policy changes – particularly when it comes to use of a Taser – as well changes to training and oversight.

Many of those who spoke were against the settlement, saying it didn’t go far enough.

Crash witness: What amazes me is that no one was killed

Crash witness: What amazes me is that no one was killed

It’s Valentine’s Day and Chris Schwab, a personal trainer from Happy Valley is in his car on Highway 26, taking his girlfriend to Cannon Beach for a romantic weekend.

It was about 6PM and they had passed Camp 18 and were coming up on Milepost 16 when things changed.

“There was an Acura headed East-bound,” he says. “It swung out, saw the oncoming traffic and tried correct things.

“But it was too late.”

Four teens facing charges after allegedly torturing boy

Four teens facing charges after allegedly torturing boy »Play Video
Four teens face charges after allegedly torturing another teenager in this shed. Watch On Your Side Investigator Anna Canzano's report by clicking the "Play Video" button above.

Drugs and ignorance is not a good combination.

That's the conclusion of several law enforcement sources after looking into the case of four teenagers facing kidnapping and assault charges after they allegedly lured another teen to a shed in Southeast Portland and tortured him for several hours.

Those under arrest are three boys and a girl. The youngest is 14. Two of them are 15 and one is 17. They were arraigned Tuesday, and the grand jury started hearing the case on Thursday.

The 14-year-old is described as the ring-leader.

The target of the teens is a 14-year-old that they perceived as a bully. Sources say that the teens targeted their victim in what they believed would be an act of revenge.

How was he a bully?

Portland: we're just not like other places

By around 5PM Monday things in Portland were beginning to return to normal.

The icepocalpysapalooza that had gripped the city in the icy hands of white death from the sky and threatened to keep us frozen for 1,000 years or until Aslan returned was starting to fade away.

And, as is so often the case in Portland in February, people were talking about rain.

But before we totally let go of the events of the last few days and return to focusing on what exactly it will take to build an ark as the rains return and the place becomes so wet seagulls that have been camped out miles from a real body of water get to say, I told you so, a few thoughts.