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David Beltier, the victim in last week’s alleged bias assault in Hillsboro, is grateful for all the support he and his partner have received from the community.by: COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN LOCAL 6 - David Beltier of Hillsboro (left) was assaulted March 1 as he and his partner, Jeremy Mark, were walking one of their three dogs near Northwest 185th Avenue and Evergreen Parkway. The canine's dyed fur (Beltier and Mark used Kool-Aid to effect the change) apparently enraged George Allen Mason Jr., who attacked Beltier and whom police later arrested.

“Everybody has been so supportive. It’s really nice,” said Beltier.

The incident began when Beltier and Jeremy Mark were walking near Northwest 185th Avenue and Evergreen Parkway last Friday afternoon with their poodle, Beauty, whose fur was dyed pink. The dog’s appearance apparently enraged George Allen Mason, Jr., who was driving by with his wife, Saraya Gardner.

“The guy who attacked us, he was turning left and he was already yelling at us, saying ‘You f—-ing fags, this is un-American, your poodle is the wrong color,” said Beltier. “He instantly speeds up, makes a U-turn, gets out of his car and he literally hits me in the back — in the middle of the crosswalk on 185th.”

Tool attack

According to Beltier, Mason returned to his car, grabbed a long screwdriver or wrench, and returned to attack him again, hitting him in the back of the head with it.

“I was shouting at him to just knock it off, we didn’t do anything to deserve this,” said Mark, who was holding Beauty when the attack occurred. “To just get out of your car all of a sudden because you don’t agree with someone’s pink poodle — that’s just unheard of. I’ve never seen such a thing — especially in such a busy intersection in the middle of broad daylight.”

Other motorists immediately came to help, running Mason off and getting his license plate number.

“It was just amazing. A lot of the community members here in Tanasbourne and Hillsboro started honking their horns at him, shouting at him to knock it off and get off. One of them even blocked his escape route. He tried to go in the opposite direction of traffic to escape. And that’s how they got his license plate number. If it wasn’t for them he probably could have gotten away,” added Beltier.

Hillsboro police located Mason’s vehicle early the next morning. They arrested him and his wife. Mason is charged with Assault 2, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Reckless Driving and Intimidation 2, a bias crime. Garner is charged with Interfering with a Police Officer for her reluctance to cooperate with the investigation.

Beltier is pleased Mason is charged with a bias crime.

“I’m personally happy (to) a point, but I also hope that whatever he gets sent to, I hope they put him through a program, maybe to teach him about diversity, counseling, letting him know that this is not acceptable. It’s 2013, things change,” said Beltier, who did not require hospitalization.

Beltier is a Portland Community College student with a full-time food-server job. He moved to the area three years ago to be with Mark. They live on the border of Beaverton and Hillsboro, and the attack happened in Hillsboro.

As for their dogs being dyed unusual colors, Beltier said a female friend suggested doing it for fun because he was feeling stressed out by work and school.

“All we used was Kool-Aid for this. Kool-Aid and a spray bottle. We just sprayed on top of her coat. It’s already washing off,” Beltier says.

Human Rights Council Weighs in

The pair have two other dogs. Muffin, a Brijon Frise, is teal. Princess, a Maltese, is purple.

“Pet [stores] called to say they would be there for us if we needed anything,” said Beltier.

On Monday afternoon, the Human Rights Council of Washington County released a statement deploring the incident. It read: “In light of the reported act of hate-motivated violence, the Human Rights Council of Washington County wants to unequivocally state that it deplores and condemns such behavior. These kinds of events are thankfully rare in our county, but it is still a sad reminder that such human-rights violations still occur so blatantly.

“The council appeals to the community to remain vigilant about human rights, and that we all join in defending them. We need to stand together and send a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated in our community.”

According to Hillsboro Police Department spokesman Lt. Mike Rouches, the most recent previous suspected hate crime occurred about three years ago. In that incident, someone threw a plastic bag — containing a rock and a piece of paper depicting a swastika — into a yard. The residents of the house were not Jewish and the police did not discover who did it.

Ellen Hansen of KOIN Local 6 contributed to this story.

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