Man attacks woman at PSU, she fights back

PORTLAND, Ore. - Campus security at Portland State University is looking for a man they say demanded a woman's backpack and punched her in the face.

Officials with the university say the attack happened on campus at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday near Southwest Montgomery between Broadway and 6th Avenue.

The woman was walking toward her car when a man came up to her and demanded her backpack. Then he hit her in the face and injured her, campus security says. She was able to punch the man back in the face and even hang onto her backpack. She was treated for injuries to her face but is OK.

The suspect ran east on Montgomery and is still at large. He's described as white, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and in his mid-20s. He was wearing a puffy green coat and may have an injury on his face.

This latest attempted robbery was the second this month on the campus and the 11th safety concern in just more than a year. Since November 2012, there have been two robberies, three sexual assaults, four break-ins to women's housing and two physical harassments.

"Policing in an urban university is a very complex issue. Portland State has grown a lot," said the chief of PSU's Campus Public Safety Department, Phil Zerzan. "The community of Portland is a relatively safe place, the campus is a relatively safe place, but we want to be on the cutting edge."

Zerzan points to a recently developed safety task force that completed a report with safety recommendations in November. However, he couldn't release the details of the report until they are further reviewed. He said his department has already added a couple new officers, a detective and better lighting as part of a strategy in the last year.

When asked if he thinks it's safe for a woman to walk alone on campus after dark, he responded, "It certainly should be."

Anyone who has information about the attack is asked to call Campus Public Safety at 503-725-4407.

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