Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: ODOT faces $12M lawsuit, Portland man tries to open emergency door on Delta flight and more

Emily Scarvie

(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Feb. 15 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Family of man who plunged into Columbia River during last year's winter storm files lawsuit against ODOT

A year after a Portland man died when he lost control of his vehicle on an icy bridge and plunged into the Columbia River, his family has filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation. According to the lawsuit filed Monday, ODOT failed to maintain the Glenn Jackson bridge during last year’s winter storm and, by pushing snow to the shoulder of the bridge, created a ramp that caused Antonio Amaro Lopez’s car to go over the side of the bridge, leading to his death.

“He is gone because of ODOT’s negligence,” Trevor Cartales of Navigate Law Group said. “Moving forward, we hope ODOT will take seriously its duty to safeguard the public. This community cannot afford another tragic loss like this – certainly not at the hands of the department responsible for transportation safety.”

Amaro Lopez, 57, left behind a wife of 35 years, three daughters and grandchildren. Cartales filed the lawsuit against ODOT in Multnomah County Circuit Court on behalf of Amaro Lopez's family exactly one year after the fatal crash.

2. Portland man tries to open emergency door on Delta flight to make statement about COVID-19 vaccines

A Portland man appeared in federal court on Monday over allegations that he attempted to open an emergency door on a Delta Air Lines flight bound for Portland from Salt Lake City in an effort to make a statement about COVID-19 vaccines. Michael Brandon Demarre, 31, was seen taking the plastic covering off an emergency exit handle and pulling on the handle with his full body weight before a flight attendant on the Friday flight intervened.

According to FBI agent Adam T. Hoover’s report, Demarre said he tried to push the handle so passengers would record him and he’d “have the opportunity to share his thoughts on COVID-19 vaccines.” Following the incident, Demarre was directed to the back of the plane, where he was physically restrained in a seat.

Once the plane touched down in Portland, Port of Portland police arrested Demarre and questioned him. U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta ordered that he remain in custody and a mental health evaluation be done.

3. Portland International Airport bringing back iconic carpet in new terminal

Portland International Airport announced Monday that it will be bringing back the beloved carpet to some parts of the new main terminal, which is set to open in 2024. The iconic carpet was last a part of the airport’s flooring in 2019, when Concourse A closed for demolition. Since then, fans have kept the pattern alive by plastering it on socks, bandanas, dog collars and more.

“We appreciate the fact that everybody in this community has that deep connection to PDX through that carpet,” Vince Granato, head of PDX Next special projects, told KATU. “That’s why we decided to bring it back. I don’t feel like we should lose our history.”

The carpet will make its return in 2024 in the new main terminal. It will be in the “pre-security 'meet and greet’ areas outside the security exits, along with a few other surprise locations,” according to officials.

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