Commissioner Amanda Fritz's husband dies in Salem crash

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland city commissioner Amanda Fritz's husband died in a car crash in Salem on Wednesday morning, said Dana Haynes, a spokesperson for the mayor's office.

Dr. Steven Fritz, 54, worked as a psychiatrist at Oregon State Hospital. He was driving a zebra-striped 1993 Nissan Sentra, which the family nicknamed "The Zentra."

Cary Marie Fairchild, 64, was riding with Fritz and is in critical condition. Fairchild, who regularly carpooled with Fritz, also works at the Oregon State Hospital.

"This is a very, very difficult day for everybody here," Haynes said.

"The commissioner's staff is holding up exceedingly well. Their first thought they had was 'how can we serve the commissioner,' then 'how can we serve her family,' then 'how can we serve the constituents.' It's been pretty remarkable."

Haynes said Amanda Fritz and commissioner Nick Fish went to Salem together after they got word of the crash.

"We at City Hall are here for Amanda, her family and her staff," Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. "We will be doing everything possible to help in the days and weeks ahead.

"Amanda is aware of the outpouring of condolences. And she is deeply appreciative of everyone's thoughts."

The accident happened around 8 a.m. Oregon State Police said a small truck driven by 53-year-old Michael Lippman of Salem was traveling north when it collided with a semi, then crossed the raised grass center median and hit Fritz's car head-on.

Two other southbound vehicles, a Toyota pickup and a Dodge pickup, were also involved. Lippman and two other people were sent to the hospital.

"My heart goes out to Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her family," Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a statement. "Her husband Dr. Steve Fritz dedicated himself to the service of those in need."

Amanda Fritz once wrote about the car on her blog.

"I find the zebra car, and the smiles I get when I drive it, simply fun," she wrote.

A city council meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday morning was canceled.

CORRECTION: Initial information from Oregon State Police was that two people died in the crash.

This breaking news story will be updated.

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