PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Several dozen people gathered at Lents Park Friday night to honor the memory of Terrence Tombe, who was killed Sunday after a driver hit his tent alongside I-205.
The 27-year-old was inside his tent near northbound I-205 at the SE Powell offramp when a driver crashed into it and killed him.
Kristle Delihanty, the founder of PDX Saints, organized the memorial. She told KOIN 6 News Tombe was newly homeless and lived with his grandmother until recently when they lost their home. He had no place to go.
“She was able to get into a house with a relative that didn’t have room for him so he was, like, ‘I’m going to be OK, I’m going to stay with friends,” Delihanty said. “Terrence was a huge impact to this community and we’ve spent the entire week coming and meeting with people and walking them through their emotions and processing what happened.”
Kristen Vasquez said Tombe was close with her family. She had known him since he was a little boy and said when she found out he didn’t have a place to live asked him to stay at her house.
“He didn’t want to be a burden to anybody,” Vasquez said. “I just wish I’d had a little more time with him.”
Kylie McGinnis said Tombe “would literally give the shirt off his back to anyone who would really needed it.”
What has disheartened Delihanty through all of this is reading what people say online about her friend’s death.
“People were saying, ‘It’s a homeless problem and he should’ve been smart enough not to camp near the freeway.’ The thing is, the campers out her have realized if you’re on private property or city property, 24 hours they can ask you to move,” she said. “ODOT property is a little bit longer process. So people have a chance to rest for a minute.”
People end up alongside the freeways, she said, “because they can sleep for a couple of days. They can have a safe rest without having to worry about surviving and moving everyday. He was literally just looking for a place to land for a few days and get some rest.”
The driver, 20-year-old April Leigh Johnson, was initially taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries. She was later booked into the Multnomah County Jail for criminally negligent homicide, DUII and reckless driving.