Common hawthorn

This week's Mercury takes a brief look at witness testimony in the June 12 police shooting that left a 23-year-old homeless man dead. It's a tragic story, involving common themes of untreated mental illness and limited resources for combatting homelessness.

Then there's a chunk of the 171-page grand jury transcript that is bizarre and sort of delightful, despite the dour incident.

A man named Steven Garratt was driving west on SE Foster the morning of the shooting, en route to his wife's job at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer. While stopped at a traffic light at SE 104th, Garratt (and two other witnesses who gave testimony) saw Nicholas Glendon Davis fall backwards from two shots. So he turned his old Toyota dutifully around and waited to give a statement. The man is adamant Portland police officers Robert Brown was right to shoot Davis—who was wielding a large crowbar—and thinks Davis was "whacked out" according to the transcripts.

But mostly, Garratt wants to talk about hawthorn. As in the plant.

What begins as a passing reference to bushes off the Springwater Corridor quickly, weirdly (and not without some help from a grand juror or two) becomes a discussion of hawthorn's usefulness, its bad reputation, its constitution, and how Garratt has apparently become an object of disdain among contemporaries for making it into yule logs.

It wouldn't have fit—thematically or space-wise—into our story. So here, after the jump, are Steven Garratt's fulsome thoughts on hawthorn. The plant.