The sole survivor of last week’s stabbing on the MAX in northeast Portland is a former Mt. Hood student who now attends Portland State University.
Although the attack was a surprise to all who heard of it, MHCC instructors and some fellow students expressed no surprise when they discovered that Micah Fletcher, 21, stood up to the attacker to protect two teenage girls on a MAX train.“That’s pretty much all that guy talked about – social justice and ighting for peace and fighting for other people,” said MHCC student Isaiah Ishman, who is a friend of Fletcher’s. “He’s one of those people you can just get into a conversation with immediately and it would immediately get deep and political and he wants to know your views, and he wants to tell you what he thinks.”
Ishamn was familiar with Fletcher’s involvement in Portland’s slam poetry scene. He met Fletcher on a MAX train, and mentioned that he enjoyed his work. The two became friends when they attended Mt. Hood.
Fletcher was a music major when he attended MHCC, and according to some instructors, he brought the noise.
“He was just like a force to be reckoned with around here,” said Mt. Hood’s choir director, Kevin Lambert. “He was a huge component of our music department because he always found a way to be involved in a lot of different things.”
At Mt. Hood, Fletcher was a percussionist who would spend a lot of time playing the drums in the music department, including the MHCC Jazz Ensemble. “He was constantly in the band room practicing,” said Lambert. “He made so much noise around here, which in certain moments got to be funny and annoying in a funny way.”
Regarding Fletcher’s personality when it comes to standing up for others, Lambert said that was to be expected.
“I’m not surprised in the slightest. If he were to hear something in that public venue on a train, and he sensed that somebody else was in danger, or just being harassed – I absolutely remember his personality as being one to step up and say something and, in his case, act as well,” Lambert said.
Jazz Band instructor Dan Davey described Fletcher as “a robust personality. He is incredibly respectful and polite and is just – I wasn’t surprised at all to find out that he had jumped in with that,” he said. “I think that fits his character.”
Davey said Fletcher was an inclusive student.
“He made sure that people felt like they were part of the group, and that they felt welcome in the ensemble, and that ties directly to what happened to him. He’s an inclusive person, and he would not stand for anybody speaking poorly of somebody else or putting anybody down or anything like that,” he said.
In spring 2015, Advocate reporter Emily Wintringham wrote an article for Mt. Hood’s Venture Magazine about Portland’s slam poetry scene. She interviewed Fletcher at the time.
“Getting to know Micah was really empowering,” Wintringham said this week. “He talks all about – over and over again – what he values. How he talked poetry and mentoring individuals is so important. The work he was doing was phenomenal and I just was astounded.
“To stand up when the cost is that great, it reaffirms that he doesn’t just say things, he’s very active in what he believes,” she continued. “It’s one thing to say everyone should have rights and everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, and it’s a whole other thing to defend that physically.”
After the attack, Fletcher was hospitalized but has since been released. He has talked with various media outlets, and met with one of the teenagers he was standing up for. In respect for his privacy, the Advocate did not reach out to Fletcher for this story.
Meantime, in a Facebook video Fletcher released on Wednesday, he criticized Portland for obsessing over “white savior figures” and reminded everyone that the teenagers threatened on the train need support and care.
“The little girl who had the misfortune that day to experience what happened on that MAX, her life is never going to be the same,” he said. “We need to remember that this is about them; yes, two men died; yes, I was injured; yes, of course we need to support all three of us… But we need to remember, this is about those little girls.”