A 39-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly attacking two naked cyclists with a pipe in Portland, Oregon's Nob Hill district on June 3, faces seven felonies on charges of assault and committing a hate crime.
According to arrest records, Robert Earl Houchins was charged with one count of felony assault, two counts of felony attempted assault, two counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of felony bias crime in connection to the incident.
A probable cause affidavit said that Houchins struck the two men with a pipe while they and a group of seven other naked cyclists rode near Northwest 19th Avenue and Flanders Street. He was allegedly shouting gay slurs at the men and telling them to "get out of here."
One prosecutor told Oregon Live that one of the men attacked was a gay man.
Houchins has been convicted of over 28 crimes, including a charge of aggravated sex abuse, which placed him on the sex offender registry in 2005, and failing to register as a sex offender. He has also failed to appear in court in around 45 instances.
According to KATU, Houchins told jail staff after an arrest in 2020 that he is homeless and has not been employed for the last nine years. He is currently being held in Multnomah County's Inverness Jail on a $15,000 bond.
Since 2020, Portland has seen its population diminish as crime and homelessness have continued to increase. Businesses are leaving the city's downtown area as the city fails to regain its foot traffic since the pandemic in these areas.
According to a poll released in August, participants said they avoid the downtown area due to high rates of homelessness, trash and graffiti, vandalism, property crime, and violent crime.
In May, the city planned to have a public hearing debating a bill that would have allowed homeless people to camp in public places. After heavy pushback from residents, HB 3501, also known as the "Right to Rest Act," lawmakers canceled the hearing.
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