Estacada community bands together after acts of violence
At the front of Harvest Market, a collection of flowers and cards adorns the store. Balloons and a giant card can be seen nearby at Lew's Drive-In. A few blocks away, the sign outside of the Estacada library lights up with wishes for recovery, and numerous people stop by U.S. Bank to show financial support.
These are just a few of the ways the Estacada community has rallied around Harvest Market employee Michael Wagner after he was injured in a horrific chain of violence that took place in Colton and Estacada last week on Mother's Day.
On Sunday, May 14, 36-year-old Colton resident Joshua Webb allegedly carried his mother's severed head into Harvest Market in Estacada. Witnesses described him as reportedly "covered in blood" and carrying a knife as well as the head. Once inside the store, they said, he proceeded to stab Wagner before being restrained by store employees until law enforcement reached the scene.
Webb first appeared in court on Tuesday, May 16. He faces charges of murdering his mother, Tina Webb, in their Colton home; attempted murder for the incident at Harvest Market; and abuse of a corpse and aggravated animal abuse. Police also found a dead dog at the home where Webb lived with his parents.
The office of Webb's attorney told the Estacada News they had no comment on the case or charges.
The case was first presented to the Clackamas County grand jury on Tuesday, May 23. This occurred after The News' press time earlier that afternoon, but the developing story will be updated online at www.estacadanews.com.
Meanwhile, the Estacada community has been unwavering in its support of Wagner, who returned home from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland last weekend.
Kim Ward of U.S. Bank said many people have given to the charitable donation account Harvest Market set up for Wagner. Those who wish to donate can do so at Harvest Market or at any U.S. Bank location.
Ward praised community members for the generosity they have shown.
"It's very nice to see that happening," she said. "(When something like this happens in Estacada), we all pull together, and we get through together."
Employees at many Estacada establishments, including Fearless Brewing and Sunrise Java, have donated their tips to the fund. Additionally, the American Legion Carl Douglas Post will donate all net proceeds from its annual Memorial Day breakfast to Wagner. The breakfast, which is $6 per person, is scheduled for 7-11 a.m. Monday, May 29, at Odd Fellows Hall, 267 S.W. Second St.
"We all love Mike," said American Legion member Keith Dooley, noting that when Harvest Market supports the American Legion post or other community groups, Wagner is the one who typically coordinates the donations. "(Community support) is what little towns are for."
Wagner has worked at Harvest Market for two decades and is a friend to many in the community.
"I don't know anyone in town that has anything bad to say about him," Doris Dooley said.
Jeff O'Neal, president of Harvest Market, added that Wagner is "a great person."
"He's a very genuine, nice guy," said O'Neal.
O'Neal also praised the community for its support of Wagner.
"Trying to find words to put it into is tough," he said. "(We're grateful for) the compassion of everyone banding together to work past this horrific incident."
He added that what happened was "random and senseless."
"(Webb) had never been in the store before," he said.
Estacada City Manager Denise Carey is thankful for Wagner's resilience.
"His wife says he's still his fun self," Carey said. "That's great to hear."
Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine praised the way the community has not only supported Wagner, but also the store as a whole.
"The community's been rallying around Harvest Market. The parking lot has been
full," he said. "(The community is) coming to their aid and trying to lift some of that dread."
He added that he wants Estacada residents to know "he's proud to be their mayor."
"We make sure everyone is taken care of. Mike is part of our family," he said. "We're a tight-knit community doing the right thing."
"I've been in Estacada for a long time. When tragedy happens, people step up to help others," she said, adding that it's easy to see that people care. "Caring and support are the biggest things."
Carey believes the outpouring of support for Wagner highlights the positive nature of small towns.
"People really get to know people. Even if they're not socially close to Mike, everyone feels like they know him," she said. "I've been amazed at the reaction of Estacada people. They're great."
Many people also praised the employees who held the suspect back after the attack in Harvest Market.
Both Drinkwine and Keith Dooley described the employees as heroes.
Patrick Lumbroso, a chaplain with the Estacada Rural Fire District, characterized the employee's reactions as "very positive, although the event was not positive at all."
"The employees were very proactive," he said. "They took care of themselves, the store and each other. That was beautiful."
At a City Council meeting on Monday, May 22, Drinkwine signed a proclamation honoring Estacada Harvest Market employees for their acts of courage and heroism.
"This is the most important thing I've had to do (as mayor)," Drinkwine said vefore reading the proclamation.
The proclamation expressed gratitude "to all employees and the management at the Market for their bravery and resilience in recovering from this terrible experience, and for reopening their doors to our community so quickly."
Noting that the murder took place outside of Estacada, Drinkwine said that such a violent incident is still unprecedented in the city. Carey agreed.
"I can't remember anything as horrific … there's been nothing like this," she said.
Drinkwine added that the fact that the incident occurred on Mother's Day is "what makes it harder than most."
"It's not just what happened. It's the day that it happened on," he said.
Drinkwine described the incident as a "wake-up call crime" and suggested that a neighborhood watch force could be valuable.
"With a neighborhood watch, this could have been stopped in the (Harvest Market) parking lot," he said. "We need to take care of ourselves and be vigilant. We need to talk to our neighbors and be proactive, not inactive."
Particularly in today's world, Drinkwine thinks a neighborhood watch force would be helpful.
"We're in a changing world, and things may come our way that aren't our doing," he said. "That's something I want to prepare for. This is an opportunity to put (a neighborhood watch force) together and be vigilant."
Though the incident at Harvest Market was unprecedented and shocking in its violence, Drinkwine is confident that the city will heal.
"Estacada is a tight and together community, and that will help us," he said. "We're going to recover from this....We're a good, healthy community."
Fire Department chaplains available to talk
In light of the Sunday, May 14, incident at Harvest Market, the Estacada Rural Fire District is offering the services of their chaplains to anyone who may need them.
"When things like this happen, people need to debrief," said Patrick Lumbroso, a chaplain with the Estacada Rural Fire District. "Chaplains strive to make themselves available for that. (Our goal is to) give people a chance to express how they feel about the whole ordeal."
He believes the discussion is valuable.
"(The incident) affected not only the responders, but the whole community — the people who work at the store and the people who shop there," he said. "If something happens at a place you regularly go to, it affects you."
He added that chaplains strive to offer a place where people can discuss what might be on their mind and ask questions.
"Unanswered questions can remain in people as a negative element, but if they are answered, people understand more," he said.
He encouraged anyone struggling with the incident to talk to someone — whether it's a chaplain or another person in their life.
"Talk to somebody within your circle, or call a pastor or chaplain," he said. "Somebody will talk with you."
Those interested in speaking with a chaplain can call the Estacada Rural Fire District at 503-630-7712.