Woman assaulted while biking on Columbia Slough path

Woman assaulted while biking on Columbia Slough path

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A Portland woman says she was sexually assaulted while biking on a popular path.

Location of assault.

According to University Park neighborhood resident Poppy Dalton, the incident happened last Tuesday morning (7/28) around 9:50 am. Dalton, 33, told us she was biking eastbound on the Columbia Slough Trail near the intersection with North Portland Road (across the Slough from the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plan), “When a man rode up from behind me and aggressively grabbed/groped my butt.”

Dalton said her assailant then quickly turned right (south) onto the bridge over the slough. She reported the incident to the police that same day and the case is still under investigation. Dalton describes the man as riding a dark-colored mountain bike and wearing an unbuckled helmet, flip flops, and shorts. “He had very tan skin and shoulder length wavy dark hair. He looked tall with a slim athletic build,” she added.

“I felt defenseless and violated and want to warn all other female bikers riding on this bike path alone.”

“I felt defenseless and violated and want to warn all other female bikers (and runners) riding on this bike path alone,” Dalton shared with us via email. Dalton also said she bikes that section of the path often but usually rides with a friend.


I’ve ridden in this location hundreds of times over the years. It has a densely wooded section on one side and a chain-link fence on the other. There are no businesses, streets or residences nearby which can make you feel very vulnerable when riding alone.

The lack of safety of Portland’s many paved bike paths has been a serious issue for many years. We’ve reported on numerous assaults on the Springwater and I-205 paths. Last year we shared the story of a woman who claims to have been attacked with a rock while biking on this same Columbia Slough path just a mile or so east of where Dalton was assaulted.

If you have any information about what happened, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with Dalton.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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