Four bicyclists died on Portland streets in 2005.
It’s not an unusual number — four died in 2003, five in 2001.
They were killed in all parts of the city — North, Northeast, Southeast, downtown. Only one of the four was determined by Portland police to have been at fault in the crashes that took their lives. And in keeping with the average modern-day Portlander, none of them was born in the city.
But even in bike-mad Portland, it can be easy to forget those riders once had names, faces, friends and families. Aside from the memorial rides organized in their honor, there is little public accounting of who they were.
These are their stories.
• • •
Noah Cardamon could play the didgeridoo.
He learned it when he was 9 after he saw a San Francisco street musician play one. His first one was homemade, from PVC pipe, which he used until his father bought him a real one for Christmas.
His grandmother home-schooled him for several years in Corvallis, where he moved after being born with the aid of a midwife at a house in Sunnyvale, Calif. As a child, he loved to draw. He also loved animals.
He moved in with his single father, Thomas Cardamon Jr., when he was 8.
Only 23 when he died, Cardamon never finished high school but always seemed to have a job, sometimes more than one. Video store clerk, bartender, Beaterville Cafe waiter.
He kept his hair cut short, which only made his brown eyes look bigger. His looks reflected his mother’s heritage: half-black and part American Indian.
He kept journals that his family would not see until after his death.
“We didn’t really know until we read his journals how talented he was,” his father said.
He struggled with alcohol, his father said — working as a bartender didn’t help — and planned to quit his jobs and take work fishing in Alaska for the summer.
“I found the list of clothes and supplies he was going to need in his messenger bag,” Thomas Cardamon said.
He planned on going to a school for bicycle mechanics in Ashland after he got back from Alaska.
Cardamon loved his bike, built it himself from the frame up.
And the messenger bag his father found went with him everywhere. It was on his back May 30 when his bicycle veered into a car at Southeast 49th Avenue and Stark Street around 2 a.m. He was not wearing a helmet.
Two teenage girls in the car initially told police they found Cardamon already on the ground, later admitting being involved in the accident.
“I still don’t know if Noah was alive after they hit him or what his last words may have been,” Thomas Cardamon said. “I wish I knew exactly what happened.”
Driver - Dana Abdullah
formerly of Alaska Age 18. Borrowed friends car and had no insurance