Two women were kidnapped near Portland State’s campus but were rescued by Washington County deputies after the alleged kidnapper crashed his car, according to an article by KOIN 6 News. It‘s unclear if the women were injured in the accident.
Early in the morning on Jan. 29, Edgar Allen Hernandez allegedly offered a ride home to the women after a party near campus. Hernandez refused to take the women home after they accepted his offer, speeding through stop lights before crashing his vehicle at SW Barnes Rd and SW 118th Ave and fleeing from the wreck.
“[Responding deputies] found a gun under the passenger seat but didn’t find Hernandez,” stated KOIN 6.
“It’s kind of troubling,” said PSU graduate student Eve Ashkar in an interview with KOIN 6. “I think that it shows that more effort should be put into the safety of not just women but students in general.”
Two days prior to the kidnapping, PSU Interim President Stephen Percy sent a campus-wide email about the “Safer Together” initiative—“a new campaign to promote a safe and secure campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
As part of the campus safety plan Percy announced in Oct. 2019, “Safer Together is about fulfilling our shared responsibility to promote a better experience for everyone in our community,” according to Percy’s email.
In an interview, Christopher Broderick, associate vice president for university communications, said: “That’s part of the Safer Together idea. It’s everybody’s responsibility.”
In the same interview, Percy said regarding the recent kidnapping and its effect on campus safety policy: “One of the things we’re trying to do is learn all the time. I don’t have the full circumstances but my thing is what do we learn from [this] incident.”
Percy also mentioned a potential public information campaign about who students should accept rides from to help keep students safer on campus.
The Safer Together initiative introduces safety escorts who will walk anyone to their car or a location on campus upon request. Should anyone need the service, they can make a request by calling CPSO at 503-725-4407.