...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, December 22, 2006

A sniper in Eugene?

Yesterday evening around 5pm I was riding home from Valley River Center along the Mackenzie River bike path. A few blocks past the rose gardens, there was a police barricade set up across the path: flashing lights, a police car, and a couple officers standing around. One of them came up to meet me as I slowed to a stop a dozen or so meters before the barricade. "Can I get past?" I asked, thinking that, I don't know, someone had jumped in the river or something. "I wouldn't recommend it," the officer said. "There's someone up on Skinner Butte firing a rifle into this area." Holy shit, I thought. "Oh my God," I said. "Yeah. We'd recommend that you wait until we hear back from the officer we sent up there. If you need to get by, go back to the Washington Park area and head up on 4th Street. The buildings would offer you some coverage, probably, if he starts firing again."

I asked the officer it would be safe to head back towards Valley River, cross the bike path, and continue towards Alton Baker Park on the other side of the river, and he said that would be fine, so that's what I did. I heard sirens later, and I assumed that they were related to the gunman ("sniper" is my word; the officer never used it); I can tell you that when I rode over and popped an acorn a few minutes later, I damn near jumped off my bike.

I told me parents what happened after I got home. On the news that night, there was a brief mention of a report being called in on gunman on Skinner Butte, but apparently the police couldn't find any evidence and they think it might have been kids setting off fireworks. Regardless: scary.