Cold Case: Portland man shot and killed driving home - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold Case: 'Wrong place, wrong time,' man shot and killed driving home

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Jeffrey Lange Jeffrey Lange
Scene of shooting, 1998. Scene of shooting, 1998.

Fifteen years after a Portland man was shot to death driving home, police remain baffled by a motive.

"This is one where he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Portland police cold case homicide Detective Mary Wheat.

Jeffrey Lange, 33, was found shot to death in the early morning hours of June 7, 1998. Someone called in what appeared to be a traffic crash in the Interstate 405 on-ramp tunnel near northwest 16th and Everett. Police said when firefighters arrived, they discovered Lange, sitting in the driver's seat with his seat belt still on.

The initial detectives could find no motive and while they filled several binders with interviews and evidence, there was no witness testimony useful to the case.

Police said Lange had been driving home from a friend's house. Wheat thinks Lange was likely shot near the intersection of 16th and Everett.

"His car was found in the tunnel, about midway," she said. "It appeared that it had hit on the west side and then the east side and it had then come to rest."

Lange's friends still can't fathom why someone would kill him. They told Fox 12 he was the most non-confrontational person they'd ever met.

"There's just not a lot of people like Jeff. He was unique," said Mike Haner, who went to college with Lange. Haner said Lange was a bachelor, who had one all-consuming passion.

"Golf, golf and more golf," he recalled. "Jeff would save up money, pay his rent, eat cereal, just to play golf."

Haner said when he heard the news, he had a "sinking feeling, you just ask yourself how could that happen."

All these years later, Haner and other friends are still hoping for justice and Wheat believes there is a way to solve this case.

"This is one of these where I know someone out there knows who did this, has information and we need them to help us on this," she said.

If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a tip online at or call 503-823-HELP (4357).

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