In another world, Aron Christensen would have celebrated his 50th birthday alongside family and friends on Friday, Jan. 20.
As it was, Christensen’s friends and family celebrated Christensen’s 50th birthday without him there physically, though his presence filled the Portland rock venue where his party was held Friday night.
Christensen had a well-established life in the Portland area, working at Cascade Record Pressing and spending his free time playing bass, singing, fishing and going on outdoor adventures with his dog, Buzzo, prior to his death in August.
A hiker found Christensen, 49, of Portland, dead next to his 4-month-old puppy on the 101 trail 3 to 4 miles away from Walupt Lake just after 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Two months later, on Oct. 26, the Lewis County Coroner’s Office ruled Christensen’s death a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the chest. The next day, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office referred first-degree manslaughter and animal cruelty charges against two suspects — Michael Asbach, 20, of Tenino, and a 17-year-old girl from Rochester. The prosecutor’s office referred the case back to the sheriff’s office on Nov. 2 for further investigation.
As of Monday, no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is waiting for one last report — cellphone mapping for the two suspects — before referring the case back to the prosecutor, according to information obtained by one of Christensen’s family members.
The sheriff’s office did not provide the family member a time frame for when that cellphone mapping is expected to be completed.
Family members and friends of Christensen have told The Chronicle they are frustrated with a lack of information from authorities and the failure to arrest a suspect in the case following Christensen’s death.
Aron Christensen’s younger brother, Corey, took the stage during his brother’s 50th birthday celebration at Dante’s on Friday to perform as part of the band Tooth Fairy and pay homage to his brother.
He relayed how Aron Christensen, seven years Corey Christensen’s senior, was the one who taught him how to ride a bike and play the guitar.
“From girlfriends to beer, from friends to parties, my brother was always this force of nature I looked up to and wanted to emulate, just as little brothers always do,” he said while strumming his guitar on stage Friday night. “He was, through and through, my big brother. And he loved to tell people that.”
Two bands that Aron Christensen was a member of, Supplemental Pills and Hearts of Oak, joined together on stage Friday night for the first and only live performance of a song they created together in Christensen’s honor, called "Between the Harvest and the Hunter's Moon."
The bands have released the song, under the joint-artist’s name Supplemental Hearts, on all streaming services.
“I wrote this not long after I got the call that Aron had passed away,” said songwriter Nate Wallace in a written statement about the song. “I wrote it to get my own feelings out and come to some peace with it. Within days of finishing the song, I heard he was shot and didn't just die on the trail like any outdoorsman would choose to do, if they could, I suppose. There's been no peace of mind since.”
Wallace added that he hoped those who knew Christensen would “find some solace in the song, or it reminds you of Aron in some way. … He had a zen way about him. He could be everything to everyone or a rock to one. He was right there for you.”
All proceeds from the song go towards a fundraiser benefiting Christensen’s family.
The GoFundMe had raised $27,895 as of Monday morning for legal fees and subsequent investigative work that Christensen’s family is pursuing.
To listen to the song on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vex6Di4m_o.