PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ron Coleman’s feelings of anger and sadness over the death of his 34-year-old son have been replaced with questions and hope that someone will provide a tip to bring his son’s killer to justice.
Brandon Coleman was hit and killed by a driver on October 21 near SW Naito and Morrison, near the ramp to the Morrison Bridge. The driver fled the scene and, so far, has not been found.
Ron said his son was homeless “and by choice as well.” He said Brandon battled with mental health issues but was a wordsmith, a jokester with a passion for family, music and those who were less fortunate.
“Took him out to lunch. He left the restaurant with some of his food, and he proceeded to give it to a guy sitting out there on the street,” Ron told KOIN 6 News. “That’s who he was.”
What he can’t understand is how someone could leave the scene after hitting another person.
“That could be you. That could be someone in your family. Do not dismiss these people. Do not run them over like a piece of trash or something,” Ron Coleman said.
Brandon Coleman’s death comes as the City of Portland continues to see many traffic-related deaths. So far in 2023, nearly 60 deaths have been reported in the city.
As a recent Multnomah County report found, the highest increase among deadly crashes involved pedestrians. Deaths were more likely to occur among people experiencing homelessness.
Of the 170 traffic-related deaths from 2020 and 2021, the report found 84% tested positive for at least one substance and 24% were homeless.
While those living on the streets represent nearly one-quarter of those killed in all traffic accidents, they make up 42% of the pedestrian-related deaths.
“Those people have families, they have people that love them, they’re somebody’s son,” Ron Coleman said. “My son. And for all the others this has happened to, my heart goes out to them as well.”
Ron Coleman said he hopes to start a foundation for mental health and homelessness in honor of his son, Brandon.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Portland Police Bureau with information by email: email@example.com (attn: Traffic Investigations Unit). Reference Case No. 23-275661.