PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — David Rinella’s employees and clients said he has been one of the people trying to bring positive change to his Central Eastside neighborhood.
Early Sunday morning he was in his office when he saw someone trying to break into his car. He confronted the person and then was hit several times with a baseball bat.
“I tried defending my property. It didn’t work out too well,” he said. “This lady smashing her hand against the back window of my car. I didn’t think she was actually going to break it, but she broke through.”
Rinella, who spoke with KOIN 6 News on the phone from his hospital bed, said he’s not sure when he’ll be able to go home.
His staff showed KOIN 6 News the surveillance video of the attack but did not want it broadcast. The video shows the woman hitting Rinella several times. Then 2 people on bikes came by, and one waved a gun at him.
“Then the policeman showed out of nowhere,” Rinella said.
The woman was taken into custody. Staff said the man who waved the gun was found by police, but KOIN 6 News has not been able to confirm that.
He thinks he could have been killed if police didn’t drive by. He even tried going back to work after the attack but then called his wife to take him to the hospital.
“I put myself in a bad position by trying to take on the world out there,” he said.
Todd Deneffe, who sits on the board of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, said this underscores the change in the neighborhood is “3 steps forward, 2-and-a-half steps back.”
The City of Portland launched a 90-day reset plan for the Central Eastside, including graffiti and trash clean up, more lighting and increased patrols. But the increased patrols wound down after the 3-month reset ended in May.
“We’ve made some really good progress in a lot of ways, so when we see that progress and something like this happens, it’s a little disconcerting and a little frustrating,” Deneffe told KOIN 6 News.
The staff at Rinella’s Produce and clients said Rinella is always the first to help people, giving away his food to someone who needs it.
“It’s something that’s born in you. You can’t teach giving. You can’t teach it,” Rinella said. “That’s what we’ve been doing and the same people that we donate to came by and knocked the crap out of me. But that’s not going to stop me from doing the right thing.”