PORTLAND - Detectives were investigating what they called a possible bias attack against two gay men on the Eastbank Esplanade.
Lieutenant Robert King said 23 year-old Brad Forkner and 25 year-old Christopher Rosevear were attacked by several suspects around 8:30 p.m. Sunday night.
Forkner and Rosevear told investigators they had been holding hands in Waterfront Park and walked from the Burnside Bridge to the Hawthorne Bridge, while several men following them were talking, laughing and pointing.
The two said they were not sure it was directed at them. Forkner said he was was pushed and punched by several men before he was able to break away to call 9-1-1.
"I'm concerned by any assault of this nature," Police Chief Mike Reese said. "Particularly when it appears that the victims were targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation.
The suspects hit Rosevear in the head, face, back and ribs, before running away south on the trail past the two victims, police said.
"The fact that people are still wanting to attack people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is beyond my comprehension," said Stephen Cassell of the Q Center.
The suspects were described as male, white, in their 20s and all about 5'11" inches tall. One was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, another was wearing a white or cream hooded sweatshirt and the third was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt.
Detectives asked anyone with information to contact Detective Kevin Warren at 503-823-3761 or Kevin.Warren@Portlandoregon.gov.
The city was working with the Q Center to address reporting of such crimes, and last year launched a foot patrol.