PORTLAND -- Something important is missing at the intersection of Salmon and Cesar Chavez Blvd: a ghost bike memorializing a cyclist who died has been missing for a week.
"It's a sacred symbol and for someone to come along and steal it, that's sad for our culture," said Judd Palmer, who lives near the intersection.
Last Saturday a TriMet bus picked up someone carrying a ghost bike just one block away. Driver Ryan Ferro confronted the man who put the bike on his bus carrier. "The guy insisted it belonged to a friend of his who gave it to him to fix up," said Ferro.
Ghost bikes started popping up in Portland about six years ago as a way not only to memorialize victims, but also to mark dangerous riding areas.
"It's a blunt reminder of how dangerous it is out there for everyone," said Ferro, who is also an avid cyclist.
Eli Gibson rides by ghosts bikes every day and has noticed more and more missing parts on those memorials. "Handlebars, cranks, wheels, all sorts of stuff like that," said Gibson.
Now it appears entire bikes are being ripped off, likely for a few dollars in parts. "It's really messed up that people are taking them," said Palmer.
Fortunately that TriMet driver who spotted the ghost bike didn't give up. "I said one more time, you know what this is? It's a ghost bike a memorial for someone who died. I tried to tell him what it was," said Ferro.
The apparent thief listened and left the ghost bike on the bus carrier. Soon it will be returned to it's rightful home at Salmon and Cesar Chavez Blvd.