‘Like a punch in the gut’: Parents mourn theft of ghost bike

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The bike was chained to a SE Portland pole 12 years ago in memory of Nick Bucher

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A white bicycle chained to a pole in Southeast Portland in memory of a young man killed over a decade ago has gone missing.

Nick Bucher was 24 years old when he was hit by a car while riding his bike in 2007.

A white bike, known as a “ghost bike,” was chained to a pole at Southeast Stark Street and Southeast 26th Avenue the same day Nick died to honor his memory.

A so-called “ghost bike” honoring the memory of Nick Bucher who was hit and killed in 2007 in SE Portland. (Courtesy to Patti Bucher)

Nick’s parents, Patti and Bill Bucher, have held onto the memory of their son with the help of the bike. People continued to leave flowers at the site to mark Nick’s birthday and the anniversary of his death.

But the symbol that long provided comfort to his parents was recently taken. Patti noticed this week that it was gone.

A pole at SE Stark and 26th where a so-called “ghost bike” has been chained since 2007 in memory of Nick Bucher, Oct. 23, 2019. (KOIN)

“It was like something else was taken away. We had that — not to remember how he died but he lived riding his bicycle and he loved that,” Patti told KOIN 6 News. “It was just like a punch in the gut to realize that it had been taken.”

The couple learned the bike was spotted at the Fred Meyer on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard this month but it hasn’t been seen since.

The Buchers said the bike had flat tires and useless brakes, so they aren’t sure why someone would want it.

A photograph of Nick Bucher. (KOIN)

“I hope they did it because they needed it and not just to be destructive and vandalize,” Patti said. “I don’t understand why people take things that don’t belong to them.”

The couple said they’ve received a huge outpouring of support through social media; someone even offered to replace the bike for free. But the Buchers hope the original bike will be returned.

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