PORTLAND, Ore. — Last weekend Portlanders reported several street takeovers by racers and drifters. Some of those turned dangerous and even deadly.
KGW News obtained videos of large-scale illegal street racings events Sunday night across the city: at Northeast 72nd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, on Marine Drive near I-5 and at the Lloyd Center.
During the street takeover on Sandy Boulevard, a man who had nothing to do with the chaos was attacked, knocked unconscious and ended up in the hospital for nearly a week.
The victim, Ken Hashagen, told his partner John Westfall — who was in Arizona at the time — that the noise was becoming unbearable. The two live close by the intersection where drivers spent more than an hour doing donuts and blocking the road.
"In the background, there was so much noise that I could barely hear him talking, and this is while he was in the house," Westfall said. "The sound was just going right through buildings. You could hear the screeching of the tires, the bam, bam, bam of — almost like a cannon fire."
Westfall said his partner went outside to check on the commotion. When he pulled out his phone to start recording, that's when things took a turn.
"He had somebody come up to him and demand that he stopped photographing and then proceeded to take his phone, break it in half just about and then started pounding his face until he was knocked unconscious on the ground," said Westfall.
Shana and Joshua Kramer saw the tail end of that violent interaction.
"I know there is some yelling that happened... and then saw Ken had been knocked unconscious and was laying on the ground," the couple explained, "I saw one of the gentlemen take the phone and throw it and smash it, and then they started to leave."
They held back with another neighbor to make sure Hashagen got help, explaining he was out for around ten minutes.
"He was unconscious for quite a long time and what happened was when we were on the phone with 911, we were being placed on hold," Shana said. "When we did finally talk to them, they said that it was going to be a little while because the ambulances couldn't come through because of all the parked cars."
While Portland Police Bureau did not reveal a plan for the long Labor Day weekend when it comes to street racing, the bureau told KGW back in May it's a struggle to handle these calls since the events can expand to hundreds of vehicles and people.
Hashagen moved to rehab on Friday and is still recovering from head and face injuries, said Westfall.
"He said in the hospital he doesn't remember anything," Westfall said. "And I'm hoping that perhaps that is a good thing."
As neighbors cross their fingers for calm roads this weekend, Westfall hopes consequences for street racers can be upgraded from a couple hundred dollars— to a more serious penalty.
Earlier this week Portland police were so busy responding to homicides and shootings, they told KGW that officers were unable to do anything to crack down on the street-racing events. PPB said some of the events impeded officers' ability to reach areas of the city where people had been shot.