Portland, OR

Famous Scottish fiddler the latest victim to Portland thieves

Robbie Newport

Touring musicians must carry their musical equipment with them while on the road. In practical terms, this means storing their musical equipment in their vans and vehicles while sleeping, eating, and visiting the cities they are traveling through or playing in. While this sounds simple enough, in Portland it has been a challenge for more than just one band or musician.

Case in point, the latest victim to Portland thieves is a famous world-class Scottish fiddler named Alasdair Fraser who was playing the last stop on his musical tour in Portland Oregon’s Alberta Rose Theatre on Nov. 13. Unfortunately, he and his bandmate Natalie Haas had their musical equipment stolen out of their vehicle the day before their concert while they were eating breakfast in Portland. This story is found in a KOIN 6 article written by Joyce Ogirri on Nov. 18.

The article explains that thousands of dollars of musical equipment was stolen from their car, including a violin Fraser has been playing since he was 8 years old. Also taken was a cello, a big bag of musical equipment, and their personal luggage – basically all of their musical equipment and personal items were stolen in broad daylight from around 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. while the car was parked at SW 10th and Taylor.

The amazing part of this story is how the 68-year-old Scottish fiddler Fraser was able to retain his precious fiddle and music equipment for 60 years and even the entire musical tour he was finishing to then have it stolen in broad daylight in Portland, OR. Is this just a coincidence or is crime that bad in the city?

This unfortunate incident is actually just the latest among a string of other musicians who have experienced the same thievery while in Portland. Interestingly, nearing the same time in November, country singer Frank Ray had more than $15,000 worth of musical equipment stolen from his touring van while he slept at The Portlander Inn. His band was playing later at the Ponderosa Lounge and Grill. This incident was highlighted in a FOX 12 Oregon article written on Nov. 14 by Jeffery Lindblom.

In another case, highlighted by a Z100 Portland article written on June 5, a Bend band named Precious Byrd had $15,000 worth of musical equipment stolen from their vehicle while it was parked at the Lake Oswego Hilton. The band was putting on a charity event in the area and was heading to Nashville the same week. The band also learned that insurance wouldn’t cover the loss.

Finally, let’s look at one more case highlighted in a KOIN 6 article written on April 18, 2022, by Michaela Bourgeois which explains how a band called The Brain Jonestown Massacre had $50,000 worth of musical equipment stolen from their bus parked outside the Courtyard by Marriot hotel near the Convention Center. They were in Portland to play at the Roseland Theater.

That totals four separate events where musicians have had their equipment stolen while playing in or near Portland within the last two years. Considering that most crimes of theft are not highlighted in local news articles, we can only guess at how many other musicians have had their equipment stolen during this period of time. Musicians might want to think twice before touring in Portland with these incidents in mind.

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Write about local events, social issues, crime, attractions, and more. Live in Eastern Oregon with my wife. Writer, blogger, greenskeeper, Christian, and truth seeker.

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