Woman sexually assaulted on Springwater Corridor, city may hire private guards to patrol

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Gresham police say a 22-year-old Portland woman was sexually assaulted Friday afternoon on the Springwater Corridor near SW Highland Drive Gresham.

Police said they got a 911 call around 4:20 p.m. last Friday after the victim ran to the Walmart in the 3900 block of W. Powell Boulveard.

She had been riding her bicycle westbound on the trail when her tire went flat. While changing the tire, the woman flagged down a man riding a dark colored mountain bike and asked for his help.

"I was kind of shocked but not surprised," says Phillip Bryant, who lives along the Springwater Trail not far from the attack site.

Bryant says the trail's become a magnet for people willing to break the law.

"As of recently there's been a lot of crime, I would say, in the area. Police have stepped up services and patrols which are noticable. But then again, you know, as you see it didn't really always help all the time," says Bryant.

In Friday afternoon's attack, the victim told police the man talked with her for a short time before threatening to kill her with a knife if she screamed. He then forced her into a wooded area to the south of the trail and sexually assaulted her.

"She flagged a guy down who was also riding and asked to use his pump to help her pump up her tire. And at that point - at some point in the interaction - she was, she was forcibly assaulted," says Gresham Police Detective Adam Baker.

It's not the first trouble along the Springwater Trail in Gresham.

Just east of the attack site, the city's put up barriers trying to keep homeless campers out of wooded areas along the trail.

They've also beefed-up police patrols during the afternoon and evening hours.

The city says it's also trying to hire private security guards to patrol the trail.

Phillip Bryant would rather add police officers.

"Just manning the police force right," Bryant said. "It's kind of hard say because I know that's funding issues. But if we're gonna pay private security we might as well pay a police officer to do the same thing."

The suspect in Friday afternoon's sexual assault is described as a bald white man in his forties with a medium build, about 6' to 6'2" and clean shaven. He was wearing a red jacket, blue jeans and a dark colored backpack.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Gresham Police tip line at 503-618-2719.

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