BEAVERTON, Ore. — A Monday night car meetup in Beaverton set off a wave of online speculation about street racing and street takeovers, but the Washington County Sheriff's Office is setting the record straight.
Dozens of car enthusiasts gathered in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near Southwest Murray Boulevard and Millikan Way for an event organized by Street Stars. The store is near the sheriff's office East Precinct headquarters, and deputies who drove by and noted that the event was peaceful for about an hour.
"Just meeting up, showing off cars," said Sgt. Danny DiPietro.
DiPietro said things seemed to escalate as some of the drivers were about to leave. A few drivers revved their engines loudly, spun their tires and made a show of speeding away.
Event organizers explicitly told attendees ahead of time to drive safely and not exhibit this behavior.
"One of our deputies talked with an event organizer, who actually told them, 'this wasn't what I was going for.' It wasn't the idea," DiPietro said. "This was a meetup car show type thing, but unfortunately some people showed up who had other ideas."
Beaverton Police and Washington County deputies cited and gave warnings to several drivers for violating traffic laws.
Online commenters speculated about street racing and street takeovers, similar to the kinds of events seen in Portland over the last few years.
Portland Police Bureau announced a new effort earlier this year to crack down on illegal street racing.
"It's a big safety concern for people," PPB chief Chuck Lovell said in June. "During these events people are struck by vehicles."
Portland officers executed a mission last month against a street takeover event on the Burnside Bridge. During the response, someone involved in the takeover fired shots. No one was hurt, and police tracked down and arrested seven people, towing their vehicles.
"We do not want something like a street takeover to happen," DiPietro said of Washington County.
Although county deputies have responded to some street events, he said none have escalated to the severity of the Burnside incident. He emphasized organizers of the recent meet-up event had the right intent.
"We've been locked up the last couple years, so absolutely, getting together, we completely understand it," DiPietro said.
To those with a greater need for speed, he added:
"There's a place for street racing, and it's PIR."