On February 9th, 2022 the Herald broke the story that a man’s body had been found in the remains of the Weil Arcade fire. On the 15th the City of Hillsboro released the man’s identity after the family was notified. The victim of the January 3rd fire is a local man named Ronnie Knapp. He was known as Ron-Dog to his many friends and family.
After the news broke on the 9th a small pop-up memorial was placed on the firewall in front of LaMixteca Oaxaca (230 East Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon). Owner Lucia Vicencio and her family placed flowers and some prayer candles on the fence in front of their restaurant, a place that has become the face of the fire and the struggle to fight back from its devastating grip. As they struggle to stay open their family is owed a debt of gratitude by the people of Hillsboro. It is their camera footage, and that of Jeff and Sandie Nelson at LeStuff Antiques, that aided in the conviction of the arsonist. Fitting too that Lucia and her husband were the first to console the fallen man’s Aunt and Cousin who came to Main Street to grieve as soon as police notified them.
Donnica Olson is Ronnie’s Aunt and Cortney Olson is his cousin. They contacted the Herald about a candlelight vigil that they are holding this Saturday at 7 PM. They were more like a Mother and a Sister to him during his life. They are inviting anyone who knew Ronnie or who wants to pay their respect to attend the short ceremony which will be followed by stories and fellowship at LaMixteca.
“Ronnie was a loving and caring person who would open his arms to anyone, he had lots of family and friends that were always there for him. He always had a home to go to. He was free-spirited and sometimes he just needed to be on his own,” offered Donnica. “We are all just trying to take in what has happened and are very saddened that he is gone.”
The event will be informal and the family expects dozens of immediate family and friends to attend. Ronnie was not homeless according to his family and they want everyone to know that was not who he was. He has his own place and homes all over Washington County he was welcomed at. The family filed a police report weeks ago after Ronnie did not check in as he usually did. His loss is being felt throughout the region now that he has been identified.
On 1/3/22 Lucia and her husband, Jose, provided the Hillsboro Fire and Police with their security camera footage. That film actually captures a man matching Ronnie’s description entering the building through an unlocked door after midnight. He was probably sleeping in the upstairs when the building was set ablaze at about 2:15 AM by Roel Leon. Leon was arrested and is in custody in the Washington County jail awaiting trial.
Anyone wanting to pay their respects to the fallen man can attend or stop by the memorial and leave a flower, say a prayer, or just pause and pay respects.
7 PM – Saturday, February 19th, 2022
230 East Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon