In a shocking incident that reverberated through the community, a Portland woman committed an unthinkable act against an innocent child.
Brianna Lace Workman, 33, was found guilty of pushing a toddler onto train tracks in December 2022, an act that could have ended tragically had it not been for the swift intervention of a fellow passenger.
The incident unfolded at the Gateway Transit Center, where Workman, a homeless woman with a history of criminal behavior, targeted a three-year-old girl, causing her to fall face-first onto the Max Light Rail train tracks. Fortunately, the quick actions of another passenger saved the child from an oncoming train, resulting in minor injuries, a red mark on her head, and a headache.
The legal system swiftly responded to this egregious act. Workman was charged with first-degree attempted assault, third-degree assault, and several other crimes related to the incident. In a significant turn of events, she was found guilty except for insanity and sentenced to a tenure at Oregon State Hospital under the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, potentially for up to a decade.
The community's reaction to this horrifying event was one of shock and disbelief. Surveillance footage confirmed the absence of trains at the precise moment of the push, a small mercy in an otherwise dire situation. Witnesses expressed their horror, with many unable to comprehend the motivations behind such an action.
This incident has brought the issue of homelessness and mental health into sharp focus. Portland has witnessed a 65% increase in homelessness from 2015 to 2023, alongside a significant rise in substance abuse, particularly fentanyl. The city declared a 90-day state of emergency, aiming to connect addicts with resources and curb drug sales.
Previous encounters with the law highlighted Workman's unstable state. In June 2021, she was arrested for assaulting a man with a knife, a crime she claimed was part of a failed suicide attempt. Her words, "I don't know why I hit him. I was trying to kill myself by stabbing him," reflect a troubled mind grappling with severe issues.
Blaine Danley, a MAX rider, voiced his disbelief at the incident, stating, "There is no excuse for what Workman did. I don't understand why someone would do something like that." This sentiment was echoed by Michael Reed, another passenger, who found the act "really cruel," lamenting a societal decline in empathy and care.
The case has ignited discussions on public safety, mental health, and the homelessness crisis in Portland. Governor Tina Kotek has addressed the drug epidemic, emphasizing the unprecedented challenge posed by fentanyl and the need for comprehensive solutions. "Our country and our state have never seen a drug this deadly addictive, and all are grappling with how to respond," she stated, highlighting the urgency of the situation.
The incident highlights the vulnerabilities in public spaces and emphasizes the importance of vigilance, empathy, and robust support systems to avert similar tragedies. It brings to light the complex issues of homelessness, mental health, and public safety, calling for a unified response from every sector of society.
This story shines a light on the critical issues facing our community today: the rise in homelessness, the mental health crisis, and the importance of public safety. It underscores the need for comprehensive strategies that address these interconnected challenges. The incident at the Gateway Transit Center is a call to action for better mental health support, enhanced safety measures in public spaces, and a more compassionate approach to homelessness and addiction. It reminds us that behind every headline is a human story that demands our attention and action.
While crime can strike unexpectedly and victim blame is never justified, this incident offers critical lessons on public safety and mental health awareness:
Remember, while we can take steps to protect ourselves and loved ones, crime is a societal issue that requires a collective response. Compassion, awareness, and action are key to building safer communities.