- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz died Wednesday in a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 5 in Salem.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said the crash happened shortly before 8 a.m., a time when drivers are commuting to state government jobs.

Dana Haynes, the spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, confirmed the death of Dr. Steven Fritz. The 54-year-old was a psychiatrist at the Oregon State Hospital.

The city council meeting scheduled for Wednesday was canceled.

“My heart goes out to Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her family,” Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a statement. “Her husband Dr. Steve Fritz dedicated himself to the service of those in need.”

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said it was raining hard when a small pickup traveling northbound collided with a tanker trailer. The pickup then crossed the grass median into the southbound lane, where it struck a zebra-striped 1993 Nissan Sentra driven by Fritz.

Two other southbound vehicles got caught in the crash, Hastings said.

Fritz died at the scene and his passenger, Cary Marie Fairchild, was taken to Salem Hospital with critical injuries. Mayor Hales said Wednesday afternoon that Fairchild, 64, is a mental health specialist at the state hospital and her husband works for Portland Fire and Rescue.

The driver of the pickup and two people in another vehicle were also taken to a hospital.

Hastings said investigators have yet to determine what caused the pickup to collide with the commercial truck.

The crash stopped traffic during the morning commute, but all lanes were reopened by 11 a.m.

Amanda Fritz was elected in 2008. She previously worked as a registered psychiatric nurse.

“Amanda is aware of the outpouring of condolences,” the mayor said. “And she is deeply appreciative of everyone’s thoughts.”


Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub

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