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Portland: 4 suicide attempts, 2 confirmed fatal

Dec 10, 2013


By The Associated Press

PORTLAND — Police responded to four separate suicide attempts Tuesday, including two confirmed fatalities, one person who suffered life-threatening injuries and a fourth who was missing in the Willamette River, a spokesman said.

“It is an unusually high number in one day,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a short telephone interview late Tuesday night.

In a release about the suicides, Simpson listed available crisis lines and walk-in clinics.

“Help is available for community members struggling from a mental health crisis and/or suicidal thoughts,” he said. “Suicide is preventable.”

Officers were called Tuesday afternoon to the Burnside Bridge, where a person was reported to have jumped into the Willamette. Witnesses told police the person surfaced and tried to swim to shore but then went under. The witnesses were unable to provide any details of age or gender, Simpson said.

Portland Fire & Rescue and the Multnomah County sheriff's River Patrol have been unable to locate the person.

Shortly after 5 p.m., came a report that a woman had jumped from the 16th floor of a building in northeast Portland. Medics confirmed the 38-year-old woman was dead. She had been visiting residents in the building, Simpson said.

An adult woman jumped from a third floor apartment in southwest Portland at about 6:30 p.m. She was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Shortly before 8 p.m., officers headed to a southeast Portland residence where a man was reported to have shot himself with a handgun. That man was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the spokesman said.

Portland is the home of the Vista Bridge, known locally as “The Suicide Bridge.” In the past decade, at least 19 people have jumped from that structure, including five this year.

To prevent further deaths, the group Friends of The Vista Bridge asked the city to erect suicide-prevention barriers.

Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick agreed and approved the installation of temporary fencing until money is available for a permanent barrier that is architecturally appropriate.

The 9-foot-high fences were installed just before Labor Day.

In October, a man climbed over that new suicide-prevention fencing and threatened to jump from the Vista Bridge before officers persuaded him to climb back over the barrier. The 36-year-old man was taken to a hospital.

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