Family, friends remember man killed in SE Portland stabbing: ‘He was a caretaker’

A Northeast Portland restaurant family is mourning following the death of their coworker and friend.
Published: Jul. 2, 2023 at 8:23 AM PDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2023 at 8:30 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - A Northeast Portland restaurant family is mourning following the death of their coworker and friend.

“It’s a little better each day, but I think it’s like a rollercoaster,” said Greg Denton, owner and chef of Ox Restaurant. “For a lot of staff coming back in has triggered some emotions, but we are just trying to stay strong together and try to communicate. Just be open to the process of grieving as much as we can. It’s hard because our job is to take care of others, so it’s difficult.”

Portland Police have identified the victim as 32-year-old Colin Michael Smith.

It happened early Sunday morning in Southeast Portland, according to PPB. On Thursday evening, Ox Restaurant opened for the first time following the deadly stabbing.

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“Collin was one of the good ones,” said Denton. “He really defined the word hospitality. Not only to guests, but to coworkers. He was somebody who took care of things, whether it was the back of house for small things or front of house covering a shift, or to me personally saying ‘I got you chef,’ ‘yeah I’ll take care of that shift,’ ‘no I’ll work five days or six days if you need it.’ He was a caretaker. He was the life of the party, he was a funny guy, he was a protector. He should be here right now.”

Denton started a GoFundMe and within four hours it surpassed the initial goal of $5,000.

“We couldn’t be more thankful,” said Denton. “With a little technical advice from a friend they helped me to extend it, so we increased it because every dollar really counts when it comes to this. An unexpected loss like this takes a tremendous amount of energy, travel, and cost for the family.”

Denton says Smith was beyond loved throughout their community and he will be missed.

“We are together as a team and are trying to be inspired by how he was as a person to try and get us through,” said Denton. “If it happened to someone else, he would be rallying behind us right now. His mother said he wasn’t a somebody, he was very humble. He wasn’t somebody who was looking for flowers or cards or anything. His thing was to just be nice to people. Give someone you don’t know a smile and just be kind to each other. I think that’s just the most beautiful thing you can say about him.”

Smith’s family shared a photo of him holding a cat. They said the cat’s name is Smokey, “and meant the world to him.”

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On Friday, police announced that they arrested a suspect in connection with the murder.

Homicide detectives are investigating. If anyone has any information, you’re asked to contact detective Brad Clifton at or 503-823-0696 or detective Calvin Goldring at or 503-823-0256. Reference case number 23-173331.

GoFundMe for Smith’s family