Earlier this month, in advance of Tom Metzger's return visit to Portland, local anti-racist activists publicly warned of the potential for white-power-related violence. They had no idea how close the city had already come to just such a clash.
On Dec. 14, a Multnomah County grand jury returned indictments against at least five skinheads, two of them women, in connection with the beating of Lindsay Ulrich, 18. The charges, which range from first-degree assault to second-degree kidnapping (both Measure 11 crimes), stem from an incident in early November, one of the few outward signs that Portland skinheads may be ready to go to war.
Details of the incident remain sketchy, but, based upon police records and interviews of law-enforcement sources, a young woman was severely beaten by racist skinheads when she failed to carry out a Nov. 1 assault outside the Beulahland club in Northeast Portland. Police believe Ulrich was pressured to take part in an attack on an anti-racist skinhead at the behest of several local skinheads.
Sources say that Ulrich suffered a severe head injury two years ago and that, ever since, it's been very easy for people to influence her decisions. Late this summer, she moved into her own apartment in Clackamas. She fell in with a group of skinheads, according to sources familiar with the case. One of those who lived at her apartment was Gary Carson Brown, 32, a longtime local skinhead who's spent time in prison for making death threats.
Somehow, Ulrich became convinced she was a skinhead lady and adopted the boots-and-jacket regalia of bonehead pride. On Nov. 1, she was driven to Beulahland, a well-known hangout for local anti-racists skinheads. In effect, the racists were asking her to go to war for them with the anti-racists.
But Ulrich reportedly backed down, though several skinheads did go inside and tangle with clubgoers. Afterward, Ulrich was taken to a Southeast Portland apartment, beaten and stripped of all her skinhead insignia. She was then taken to her Clackamas apartment building, where she was held against her will. Four days later, on Nov. 5, Ulrich slipped out of the apartment and called police. Clackamas County deputies responded and found Ulrich so badly beaten that they couldn't discern her jawline.
The beating allegedly took place at the hands of Sheila McKenzie, 25, of Portland, and Pamela Bailey, who resides in the Los Angeles area. Both now stand accused of first-degree assault. Two other men, Dimitri Tash of the Los Angeles area and James Torkelson of Portland, were also indicted, but the office of the Multnomah County district attorney would not comment on the men's charges. Brown was slapped with 13 counts, including second-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. He's currently at the downtown Justice Center jail.
Ever since the re-emergence of Volksfront, the secretive group that brought white-power warrior Tom Metzger to town for an invitation-only gathering, earlier this year, local anti-racist groups such as Oregon Spotlight have been convinced that racist skinheads were ready to take Portland back to the bad old days of the late-1980s, when the two sides often clashed--and some see the Ulrich beating as a warning sign.
In addition, Brown's alleged involvement provides a link to Volksfront. As the Dec. 8 Metzger event ended, Portland Police arrested Brown in connection with the Ulrich case.