Nearly two years ago, local couple Kelly and Andrew Corrado were assaulted on Poet's Beach by a man camping out on the sand. Now, they're suing the city of Portland for not removing that man earlier.
The federal suit, filed Tuesday, alleges that police knew Jonathan Rance was dangerous, but failed to protect the public from him.
On July 25, 2017, the Corrados took their dog to Poet's Beach, a city park located along the west side of the Willamette River and beneath the Marquam Bridge. When they arrived, they were approached by two Portland police officers who said they'd been called on several reports of a potentially dangerous individual living at the beach, and advised the couple to stay away. "It did not appear the Portland Police arrested or removed the disruptive individuals," the suit says.
A man, later identified as Jonathan Rance, and his wife, later identified as Alyssa Retes, appeared to be living—along with several of their pets—in a tent on the beach. A probable cause affidavit filed Aug. 8 says the Corrados and the camping couple exchanged polite conversation, and "Mr. Rance asked Mr. Corrado to keep their dog on a leash because his dog was protective of their camping area… Mr. Corrado agreed." (The federal lawsuit does not mention this conversation.)
Some time later, the Corrados were sitting on the beach throwing sticks for their dog when Retes began shouting at them to put the dog on a leash, according to the affidavit. Rance then confronted the couple.
According to the lawsuit, he began to throw rocks at Andrew Corrado. The affidavit says Rance pulled out a metal baton and extended it, telling both Corrados that they needed to leave.
Andrew Corrado was backed into the water. When Kelly Corrado attempted to help him, Rance shoved her away and onto large boulders at the edge of the beach, and began to strike her with a metal baton. When she attempted to call 911, Rance took the phone away from her. Rance then struck Andrew Corrado on the shoulder with the baton.
Kelly Corrado was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital, where she was treated for a gash to her head that required four stitches to close.
Rance fled the scene. Police arrested him several days later.
Last year, Rance was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Before the incident, he had a criminal record of third-degree theft and third-degree robbery, but no previous history of assault.
The incident, their lawyer Michelle R. Burrows said in the lawsuit, left the Corrado couple with "new trepidation and anxiety… they are constantly looking over their shoulder and in a lot of cases just choose to stay at home or enjoy their days off at their coastal beach house."
Mrs. Corrado in particular, Burrows suggested, suffered lasting emotional damage from the assault. "Her zest for life is forever compromised at the hands of this animal," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, reported today by The Oregonian, claims that police officers were aware of Rance's camping on public property and previous threats towards other park users, but still failed to remove him. It holds the City of Portland liable for the alleged negligence.
The Corrados are seeking damages of $500,000 each.