RAINIER, Ore. -- Thousands turned out in North Portland Friday to honor and remember slain Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter
The memorial began at the University of Portland Chiles Center in Portland Friday, after a 20-mile procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted the casket along streets lined with hundreds of people.
Painter was killed in the line of duty earlier this month. Witnesses said Daniel Butts, 21, of Kalama, shot Painter at a car audio store near a Rainier church. Butts was also shot in the police shootout that followed. He survived and was booked in the Columbia County Jail after a brief hospitalization.
"As mayor, I'd like to assure Ralph's family, his fellow officers, and the citizens of rainier that this city could have no better police chief," Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole said. "And I could have no better friend. May got rest Ralph Painter."
Chief Painter touched countless lives in the communities he served. People watching the procession said they wanted to honor the man who died serving his community. Many towns along Highway 30 came to a standstill as his procession moved through.
"It is not how he died that made him a hero, it is how he lived," Pastor Steve Martin of the Columbia Bible Church said.
The procession began in Longview at 9:30 a.m. Hundreds of police cars, trucks and motorcycles from every corner of Oregon followed the hearse carrying Chief Painter's casket. Painter's family also followed behind, in several vehicles.
“I'm thankful for him being there for me… He was a good man and I appreciate his service,” one of the many spectators told KGW. “And I want to let his family know that they are cared for and loved."
The procession reached Portland just before 11:30 a.m. The casket, draped with the American flag, was lowered out of the hearse and carried by officers into the Chiles Center, on the University of Portland campus. That is where the memorial began at 1 p.m.
There was also a fundraiser for the family on Wednesday night and a visitation ceremony on Thursday morning.
A steady stream of mourners visited Rainier City Hall to pay their respects to Painter. The casket was watched over by honor guard, and the public was invited to come.
Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said donations in the name of the Chief Ralph Painter Memorial Service can be brought to any Fire Department in Columbia County, the United Way of Columbia County, or the Rainier City Hall.
"He's just touched everybody from young to old," Rainier neighbor Kim Dally said.
KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report
Background: Suspect in court
Interactive: Shooting timeline