Tragedy strikes Cement Masons Local 555 … again

Maurice Starks

More tragedy has struck the small Cement Masons union in Portland. On Dec. 27, Local 555 member Maurice “Mo” Starks was killed in a roll-over car crash on I-405 in Portland. Starks, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend, Krystle Lenae Webster, 26, was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

A week earlier — on Dec. 21 — longtime Local 555 member Chris Brown lost his wife and home to a fire. Gayle Brown was a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. Chris Brown received burns on his hands and arms, and broken bones in his foot. He has been off work since the mishap.

According to news reports on the car accident, Starks was exiting the Fremont Bridge on the Kerby Avenue off-ramp when he failed to negotiate a curve, struck a barrier and went over it before crashing into another one.

Police said speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Starks came to Portland from Tennessee. He joined Local 555 as an apprentice, and turned out as a journeyman cement mason in August 2015.

Geoff Kossak, a business agent at Local 555, told KOIN 6 News that Starks “worked very very hard at it (training) and he was very appreciative of the instruction he got. He was cared about very much and he was just a kid.”

Starks leaves behind a young son and a daughter.

“It’s just a sad day, a real shock,” Kossak said. “I received a phone call from his brother-in-law in Tennessee. It just left me devastated.”

A GoFundMe page raised $4,250 to help pay for funeral expenses, and to transport Stark’s body back to Tennessee.

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