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In some ways, the dominant story of 2002 was a story of hope.

In January, 12-year-old Ashley Pond disappeared after leaving her apartment one morning; two months later, her friend and neighbor Miranda Gaddis vanished.

As winter turned to spring, chances for a safe return and a happy ending began to melt away. Yet the girls' mothers, Lori Pond and Michelle Duffey, and the community surrounding them doggedly clung to the thin possibility that tomorrow would bring a miracle.

Those fragile hopes were dashed during the weekend of Aug. 24, when two bodies were found on property rented by Ward Weaver, a neighbor of both girls.

'People from all around the region descended upon the home and the fenced-in yard around it,' remembers Tribune photographer L.E. Baskow, who took the picture at right.

The inevitable announcement Ñ that the bodies found on Weaver's property were those of the missing girls Ñ cast a pall over the city.

Susannah Bellatty (right) and her 16-year-old daughter, Brianna, both of Lake Oswego, were drawn to a makeshift shrine.

Downtown showdown L.E. Baskow

Aug. 23: Riot police attempt to control a crowd of protesters in downtown Portland with pepper spray. The demonstrators had gathered to protest the arrival of President Bush for a campaign benefit on behalf of Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.

Since then: Ten protesters filed a federal suit against the city in October over the incident, asking for financial damages and a ban on pepper spray and rubber bullets at protests. Several large, peaceful protests have taken place since,

including an antiwar demonstration that drew about 10,000 people on Nov. 17.

About the photo: 'After several hours of verbal confrontations between riot police and protesters, a minor physical conflict erupted,' Baskow says. 'After inhaling some pepper spray and sensing that things were about to become chaotic, I took shelter in a parking structure overlooking the intersection of Southwest Fifth Avenue and Taylor Street. Soon, the riot police moved forward on the crowd. The crowd resisted, and police unloaded pepper spray followed by pepper balls, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.'

Sign of support

Kyle Green

Sept. 10: Supporters of Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye pray on Southwest Fourth Avenue in front of the U.S. Courthouse, where the mosque leader was being arraigned after his arrest on a charge of Social Security fraud at Portland International Airport.

Since then: Now being represented by high-profile New York attorney Stanley Cohen, Kariye has been released on $250,000 bail. His trial is set for Feb. 25. He is not charged with terrorism, but federal officials are investigating his possible links to Muslim terrorists, including El-Sayyid Nosair, who is serving a life sentence for plotting to bomb the World Trade Center.

About the photo: 'While waiting for a preliminary hearing to end,' Green recalls, 'supporters of Sheik Kariye, en masse, lined up and went to their knees, chanting beautiful and melodic words. This continued for more than 10 minutes. In the end, the sheik was not released and was held over in jail.'

Courtroom drama Jim Clark

June 28: Jeff Pomante sits stoically, his 10-year-old son, Adam 'A.J.,' and his wife, Kathy, reacting on either side of him, as 20-year-old Edgar Islas-Moran is led from a Multnomah County courtroom. Islas-Moran was sentenced to jail after he crashed his car during a drag race at Southeast Stark Street and 223rd Avenue, killing 11-year-old Krystal Pomante.

Since then: Islas-Moran has begun serving his five-year prison sentence for criminally negligent homicide. Law enforcement officials have stepped up their efforts to slow the proliferation of street races in East Multnomah County.

About the photo: 'This was one of the saddest assignments I have shot in a long time,' Clark remembers. 'The family had lost a daughter Ñ and now her sister's boyfriend, whom they liked, was being handcuffed and taken off to prison, all because of a foolish street race gone bad. The emotion was so thick in the courtroom; everyone was crying, including me.'

Farewell, Rosaria?

Kyle Green

March 8: As speculation grew about the future of Police Chief Mark Kroeker, the Tribune published this shot of Kroeker waving to the crowd during the 2001 Grand Floral Parade.

Since then: Kroeker attempted to bid Portland a permanent farewell when he applied to become the next chief of police in Los Angeles. He was one of 13 finalists for the position but lost out to former New York Police Commissioner William Bratton in October.

About the photo: 'This was taken as Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker was waving to some drag queens on Stark Street,' Green explains. 'The picture did not run until Chief Kroeker was rumored to be leaving Portland to become chief of police in Los Angeles. We saved the picture on our photo database and used it as a metaphor for Kroeker possibly saying goodbye to the Rose City.'