Tigard officer struck by car on Hwy 26 continues to make progress
The Tigard police officer seriously injured in a December crash along Highway 26 continues to make improvements, having recently been moved to a rehabilitation center for continued recovery.
Matt Barbee, an 11-year veteran of the Tigard Police Department, was rear-ended Dec. 14 by a SUV after the officer pulled over to the side of the road to attend to mechanical problems in his vehicle.
He was taken to Legacy Emanuel Health Center where he was initially listed in critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit. He was later moved to a specialty unit, making enough progress that he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility about a week ago, according to Tigard Detective Jeff Hering.
"Things have progressed a lot better than we expected," Hering said Tuesday, quickly noting that Barbee still has a "huge road ahead" of him. "He'll probably be (at the rehab facility) for another week or two."
He said Barbee has been at a point where he's awake and cognitive, speaking to family and friends even though words don't always come out the way they should.
Barbee suffered brain and spinal injuries in the accident, said Hering.
Still, Hering said support for the 39-year-old officer — who lives in the Mist area with his wife Sherrie and the couple's three children — has been intense among fellow officers.
"We've had volunteers continually have nightshifts, watching over Matt," Hering said. "It's been a battle but everyone's staying positive."
At the same time, an online support campaign for Barbee and his family at has raised $35,000 (with another $8,000 donated privately) in a goal to reach $50,000, said Hering.
Meanwhile, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 31, Tapphoria, a Tigard growler house and pub, will host a fundraiser for Barbee with 100 percent of sales from two special Hop Valley Brewing kegs benefiting those efforts.
In addition, a silent auction will be held with items donated by local merchants.
The investigation into the crash is continuing by the Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team and the Hillsboro Police Department, with a Tigard police spokesman saying his department has heard nothing yet regarding any conclusion or findings.
By Ray Pitz
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