A city of Portland employee and 23-year U.S. Army veteran is one of two men to have died confronting a white supremacist who was harassing to two young Muslim girls.

Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, died at the scene after the late Friday afternoon attack.

He worked for the city of Portland at Bureau of Developments Services since January 2015 after 23 years in the Army. He retired in 2012 after rising to the rank of platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance, according to an email to BDS employees from the bureau's interim director Rebecca Esau.

At the city bureau, which regulates construction projects, he worked as a tech in the permitting department.

He is survived by his wife, Myhanh Duong Best, and four children, Erik, Isaac, David, and Tramanh.

"This is an extremely sad, tragic and difficult time for us," writes Esau in the email to BDS employees announcing his death.

Police also confirmed the death of a Reed College graduate, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche.

A 21-year-old Portland man was also injured in the attacks but is expected to survive, according to police.

Their alleged killer, a white supremacist named Jeremy Joseph Christian, is scheduled to appear in Multnomah County Circuit Court on murder charges Tuesday—the court is closed Monday for Memorial Day.

This afternoon's press release from the Portland Police Bureau says the two women who were targets of the anti-Muslim rant have been in contact with police detectives.

Update 3:20 pm:

City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called Best a "treasured employee "

"Losing a colleague is hard," she says in a statement. "Losing someone under these circumstances makes it even worse. We are very saddened at the loss of Rick and we will remember him fondly as we move forward."

Full statement:

"My heart goes out to the family of Rick Best. They have lost a husband and a father, and we have lost a treasured employee.

"Rick worked for the city for a little more than two years and was a valued member of our Bureau of Development Services team.

"And as a veteran, he served our country with honor and distinction. He stood up for two young women and others he didn't even know – all because he wanted to help.

"Losing a colleague is hard. Losing someone under these circumstances makes it even worse. We are very saddened at the loss of Rick and we will remember him fondly as we move forward.

"I have asked our Human Resources bureau to make sure we have EAP counselors available to BDS staff when we return to work on Tuesday."

 
Dear BDS Staff:

I’m sure that many of you heard about the tragic stabbings at the Hollywood MAX station that happened Friday evening where two people were killed and a third was injured in the incident. It involved a man who was harassing two young women and others with hate speech and racist language.

Some of the riders on MAX stepped forward to calm the situation down when the man pulled a knife and attacked them.

It is with great sorrow that I have to inform you that Rick Best, a DS Tech I in the Permitting Services Section, was one of those who was killed.  He died at the scene.

Rick was 53 years old and had been with us at BDS since January 2015. He retired from the U.S. Army as a platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance in 2012 after 23 years in the military.

He is survived by his wife, Myhanh Duong Best, and three sons and a daughter, Erik, Isaac, David, and Tramanh.   My thoughts and prayers go out to Rick’s family as they move forward in response to this terrible tragedy.

The police have a suspect in custody and Rick’s family has been in contact with Portland police detectives about the incident.

While it is a holiday weekend and many of you might not see this email before returning to work next week, I wanted to make sure you knew about this and heard it from me. This is an extremely sad, tragic and difficult time for us. I have asked Human Resources to have EAP counselors available on Tuesday, when we return to work.

We will have details of where those counselors will be located in the 1900 Building to make sure that anyone who is grieving can be met with care and assistance. I urge you all to talk to each other, comfort each other and offer each other support through this difficult time.

Know that I am thinking of all of you on the BDS Team.  Please take care…Rebecca

Rebecca Esau

Interim Director

Bureau of Development Services

City of Portland

Rebecca.Esau@portlandoregon.gov