Older couple allegedly threatens Oregon mountain bikers

SANDY, Ore. - The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is looking into reports that mountain bikers are being harassed and threatened on a trail system near Sandy.

Bike Portland recently posted an article explaining the situation. Several mountain bikers at the Sandy Ridge Trailhead told KATU News that they've heard many similar stories over the years.

"Everything's been kind of word of mouth and second-hand information," said Michael Randall. "I just understand it as a local couple that likes to walk the area, and they like to walk the area armed."

The reports and stories have circulated through the mountain biking community on different blogs, Facebook pages, and biking forums. All of them concern an older couple that likes to hike the trails near Sandy Ridge. Several bikers report being threatened with mace by the woman while the man is rumored to carry a gun. The thought among mountain bikers is that the couple doesn't like how the sport has transformed the area in recent years. There are also reports the couple is concerned about unleashed dogs.

"There's been talk of how they're afraid of dogs," said Randall. "But I've never heard of a dog doing anything to them."

"She basically pulled out her mace and said, 'keep your dog away from me or I'll mace him and you,'" said Kevin Nickel, a mountain biker who told us he'd been threatened by the woman who's believed to hike with the man. Nickel maintains his dog was leashed at the time.

The Sandy Ridge trail system was constructed years ago as a place for mountain bikers to enjoy their sport. That makes the couple's actions all the more confusing to bikers.

"There's a lot of other places to hike," said Nickel. "These trails were made by mountain bikers for mountain biking."

"It's a little strange," said Steve Swearingen. "As a mountain biker you get used to attitudes like that when you're sharing trails. This is one of the first, the first areas where it's been purpose built for bikes."

Although there are reports and stories involving this couple going back nearly four years, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office says only a few cases have ever been officially reported to them. The most recent was in May of 2013. A sheriff's office spokesman tells KATU the circumstances of that case are similar to other stories and reports that are circulating among bikers. That case is still considered an open investigation and no charges have been filed.

Authorities encourage anyone who is threatened to report it to the sheriff's office so it can be investigated.