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When A Portland Walking Tour Turns The Corner And You See Portland Cold Case.

People love Portland. You’ve probably heard it before.

If it’s not the cute shops it’s the funky food; the Portland Building and cast iron building span the years.

Public art? Who doesn’t love driving by the eastside ramps off the Hawthorne Bridge to see a rusted welding project?

Portland is a state of mind? Not until Billy Joel sings it like he did New York State of Mind where he can take the circle cruise around Manhattan.

No Circle Line here, but there’s water.

On a lovely evening stroll under the street lamps of downtown Portland it’s easy to see the attraction.


There’s the ELK statue, public art as wildlife shocker. There’s the mens’ and women park that contained the Occupy movement a few years back.

Then there’s the back side of the Justice Center, aka County Jail and police station. And the sign shown in the top image.

Cold Case.


Every city has crime and criminals woven into the fabric of society. They are the dropped stitches you try and cut out but are so difficult to find.

Portland isn’t Disneyland.

No matter how happy the people seem, it’s not the happiest place on earth. Neither is Disneyland, but that’s another story.

Cities like Portland like to roll out the welcome mat, but it’s hard when it comes up missing.

Radio stations play Cold Case segments to ask for help. Police need all the help they can find on the longer cases.


What’s it like being around a cold case? Chilly, to begin with.

I went to a funeral for a woman murdered in her home. She was a friend, and a friend of friends. When you hear someone described as one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, don’t you get a little suspicious?

You start looking for faults.

The biggest fault of the dead woman was she was as nice to strangers as she was to friends. Not too nice, just always nice all the time.

Maybe you’ve heard the advice about avoiding people who bring you down? This woman was just the opposite, someone you hope you’d have in your life forever.


The mood at the funeral was one of great loss, and anger.

Due to the nature of the crime, the killer was a man, and every man at the funeral could be that man. Looks of grief on women turned into looks of ‘you’re one of them’ toward men.

The killer was a cold case guy who’d run amok before, a convicted felon released after doing his time for his last crime, then going on a new rampage of rape and death. Except no one caught him on the death part.

He was arrested on a rape charge after the murder and headed back to prison. Twenty years later he took a DNA test that matched up with the cold case crime scene of the dead lady’s funeral.

Twenty years is a long wait for anything, but it finally happened.

The next time you hear a civic booster pump up Portland, smile knowingly and remember the work being done to make the city brighter.

Scrubbing the cold cases clean helps Portland live up to it’s glowing reputation.



About David Gillaspie
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