James forum tonight

Portlanders are expected to grill top elected and law enforcement officials about the Kendra James shooting at a public forum this evening.

The forum is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Mount Olivet Family Life Center, 8725 N. Chautauqua Blvd.

Organizer Roy Tate said the questions are expected to range from the circumstances surrounding the shooting to Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker's recent decision to suspend Ñ but not fire Ñ the officer who shot James.

'This is an opportunity for the community to learn exactly what happened,' said Tate, who is president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance and pastor of Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ in Northeast Portland.

The forum was organized by a coalition of community organizations Ñ including the alliance, the Urban League of Portland and the Latino Network Ñ after a Multnomah County grand jury declined to charge police officer Scott McCollister with any crimes related to James' death May 5.

McCollister told the grand jury that he feared for his life after James attempted to drive away from a traffic stop while he was partly in the car.

According to Tate, those scheduled to answer questions at the forum include Kroeker, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk and Portland Mayor Vera Katz.

Bicyclist fatalities mourned

Hundreds of cyclists participated in a ride Friday afternoon to mourn the deaths of three cyclists recently killed in Southeast Portland by drivers charged with driving while intoxicated.

Bicyclists also mourned the most recent fatalities Sunday by cycling to the top of Mount Tabor and holding a memorial.

Friday's ride ended at Southeast 42nd Avenue and Belmont Street, the site where Angela L. Leazenby of California and Orion C. Satushek of Portland were killed and Portlander Caroline J. Buchalter was seriously injured shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Another bicyclist, Theodore Paul Hriskos, 45, of Southeast Portland, died June 19 when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the corner of Northeast 148th Avenue and San Rafael Street.

Friday's ride was mostly orderly but included sporadic skirmishes between the police and riders. Some motorists cheered the cyclists on, while others were visibly upset with the traffic holdups.

Portland police issued 23 citations for traffic infractions and arrested four people Ñ three for interfering with a police officer and one for driving while intoxicated. Police did not use pepper spray, as they have in the past.

At the corner of 42nd and Belmont, the cyclists held up their bikes and chanted: 'Whose streets? Our streets!' They then observed a moment of silence.

On Thursday, formal charges were filed against Lindsey Llaneza, accused of driving the van that hit Leazenby, Satushek and Buchalter. The 49-year-old North Portland resident was charged with first-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants, failure to perform duties of a driver at an injury accident and two counts of manslaughter.

At the time of the accident, he was on the verge of being kicked out of a court-sanctioned alcohol counseling program.

After being arrested on charges of drunken driving in March, Llaneza had pleaded not guilty and enrolled in the counseling program. Under state law, the charges would have been dismissed if he had completed the program.

Llaneza failed to show up for an introductory session, however, and the Multnomah County district attorney's office moved to reinstate the drunken driving charges June 23. Two days later, the van that Llaneza was driving hit the cyclists.

Llaneza had a blood-alcohol level of 0.224 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08, when he was stopped by police after the accident.


School blaze under review

Fire investigators are looking into yet another fire set at a Portland school, this time a minor blaze Monday morning at Roosevelt High School in North Portland.

Neil Heesacker, a fire bureau spokesman, said an intrusion alarm rang at 2:19 a.m. The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived five minutes later.

The blaze is under investigation, he said. So are the string of other fires that investigators say were intentionally set within past weeks at Jackson Elementary School, Robert Gray Middle School and Wilson High School, all in Southwest Portland.

Crime Stoppers, in conjunction with Portland Public Schools, is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to arrests in those cases. Anyone with information in the fires can leave anonymous tips with the organization at 503-823-4357.

Ñ Tribune staff

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