PHOTO: Commissioner Fritz speaks to youth at an equity meeting in Portland City Hall
Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has lost her husband Dr. Steven Fritz in a car accident on I5. A spokesman for the Mayor’s office delivered the news in a press conference Wednesday. Dana Haynes said Mayor Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish are with Fritz now. Haynes asked for privacy for Fritz, her family and staff as they deal with the tragic news. Today’s city council meeting has been cancelled.
Dr. Fritz was a psychiatrist who worked with people with severe mental illness, many of them victims of abuse. The Skanner News’ Helen Silvis worked with him for a short time in Columbia County during 1989 when she was a mental health counselor and he was a trainee psychiatrist. Fritz later led a unit at the Oregon State Hospital that treated people with severe personality disorders, most of them victims of abuse.
“I remember Dr. Fritz for his compassion, intelligence and his deep care for all the people he worked with,” Silvis said. “Everyone here at The Skanner feels very sad for Commissioner Fritz’s loss.”
Mayor Hales issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon.
Today is a terrible tragedy for our friends and staff at City Hall. Nancy and I, and my staff all mourn the passing of Dr. Steven Fritz, husband of our colleague, Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
Our hearts also go out to the family of Cary Fairchild, who was injured in the crash. Cary’s husband, Jim Fairchild, works in the Portland Fire and Rescue Bureau.
Steven was a psychiatrist with the Oregon State Hospital. Cary is a mental health specialist at the Oregon State Hospital. We wish her a speedy recovery, and we are keeping the Fairchild family in our hearts and thoughts.
Our hearts also go out to the other people involved in the crash. This is a tragic time for everyone involved.
We wish to offer our thanks to the Oregon State Police, and all first-responders, for their professional manner today.
We at City Hall are here for Amanda, her family and her staff. We will be doing everything possible to help in the days and weeks ahead.
Amanda is aware of the outpouring of condolences. And she is deeply appreciative of everyone’s thoughts.
All of the city work that is expected by Portlanders will continue, though with a heavy heart. We will reschedule all votes. The other offices will assist Commissioner Fritz’s staff with constituent services.
Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. This is the Jewish New Year, or The Days of Awe. It is a time to look back on the year past, and on the year ahead.
It is terrible to face such a loss at the beginning of the new year. But it is a good time to remind us all to look to the blessings we have. To our family and friends.
A community vigil has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at Terry Schrunk Park, for everyone who would like to pay their respects.
We will have a Place to leave cards or flowers or thoughts, downstairs in the atrium at City Hall.
We at City Hall are rallying around our work family.