Portland woman trapped between buildings

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Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian

Portland woman trapped between buildings was a 2013 incident in which a 30-year-old Canadian national, Anita Mann, became wedged into a narrow gap between two buildings in a downtown area of Portland, Oregon.

Fire fighters trained in urban search and rescue spent almost four hours working to free the woman after her predicament became clear to residents of the Gretchen Kafoury Commons building on Southwest Columbia Street in the city.[1]

Around 3:45am on the morning of January 16th, Joseph Ryan, a fourth flour resident of the building was awakened by Mann's cries. "I heard her voice, 'Help me, help me, help me, I'm slipping,'" recalled Ryan.[2]

Mann had become trapped, suspended a few feet off the ground, in the 8-10" wide gap between the concrete wall of an adjacent 2-storey garage and the masonry wall of the residential building.

Fire crews used strategies often employed in earthquake rescues to free the woman, cutting windows through the brick around her, expanding the gap between the walls with airbags, and spraying in a soapy substance to reduce friction as they tried to pull her out.

Fox News

Mann was eventually pulled free by the Portland Fire Bureau's Lt. Rich Chatman around 7:30am. Unharmed after the ordeal, she raised her face, clenched her fists and shouted, "Oh, my God."[3]

It isn't clear how Mann became trapped. Lt. Chatman reported that she had been seen smoking or walking on the flat roof of the garage building immediately prior to the incident. Police initiated an investigation, acting on information that Mann may have been intending to graffiti the side wall of the Gretchen Kafoury building, but this was quickly dropped for lack of evidence.[4] Sgt. Pete Simpson, of the Portland police, said, "We looked into it and she is who she says she is. There were no paint cans lying around and no graffiti on the building."


  1. Kimberly A.C. Wilson, "Portland rescue: Woman, trapped between walls, slides to safety," The Oregonian/OregonLive, January 16, 2013, retrieved August 16, 2016.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Portland woman trapped between buildings rescued," CBS/AP, January 16, 2013, retrieved August 16, 2016.
  4. Lynne Terry, "Portland police drop investigation of woman trapped between 2 walls," The Oregonian/OregonLive, January 18, 2013, retrieved August 16, 2016.