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Fatal crash on SW Barbur last night - Updated

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 16th, 2010 at 8:05 am

Red area is approximate location of collision. The woman was walking southbound (west side of street).


A 28 year old man is in jail this morning for his role in a crash that killed a woman who was walking her bicycle in the bike lane on SW Barbur Boulevard last night.

This view is from the east side of Barbur
looking south, just north of the driveway
entrance to an apartment complex.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, Caleb Pruitt was driving his 2008 Subaru Impreza southbound on Barbur about a half-mile south of Hamilton Street "at a high rate of speed." He then lost control of his car and struck and killed 26-year old Angela Burke. According to the PPB and media reports, Burke was walking her bicycle in the bike lane (also headed southbound) prior to the collision.

The PPB has booked Pruitt into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of DUII and Criminally Negligent Homicide.

It's still not clear to me where exactly the woman was struck. However, I've heard from the PPB that the collision occurred "just north" of the entrance to the Town and Country Apartments (4820 SW Barbur), which are on the opposite side of the street. If Burke lived there, she might have been trying to cross the street to get home. (See map at top of post).

The investigation is ongoing. If you saw anything or have additional information, please call Traffic Division Officer Barry Busse at (503) 823-2216.

Here's a video report by KGW-TV with images from the scene:

This section of Barbur, which is a high-speed state highway, has no sidewalks and is not very well lit. Have you visited and "liked" the Friends of Barbur group on Facebook yet?

[Also last night, someone walking in the intersection of North Lombard (also a state highway) and North Ida Avenue was struck by a motor vehicle. A 21-year old man suffered several injuries and was transported to the hospital. The injuries were not life-threatening.]

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Comments
  • Dave December 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    As someone who lives right off Barbur....this sucks and scares the bejesus out of me. All the more reason to back Friends of Barbur.

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  • Andrew Plambeck December 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This is so sad. I work around the corner from there, and I ride and/or walk through that intersection every day.

    It's an unbelievably dangerous spot where cars seem to have no regard for traffic signals or laws. I regularly (pretty much every day) see drivers sitting in the southbound Barbur left turn lane not wait for the light and simply pull across the double-line to make a U-turn, while cross traffic is still flowing.

    It's also my most common viewpoint for the still-prominent cell phone and lack of turn signal offenses.

    I would really hope, especially in light of this, that PPB will start actually enforcing this intersection. The only time I've seen officers there was after a two-car crash.

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    • Rob December 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

      Absolutely. I would love to see strict enforcement at both the Barbur/Hamilton and Barbur/Naito intersections.

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  • Tom Archer December 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I was almost hit one block from there on my way into work this morning. Barbur is the most dangerous stretch of my commute and there are few, if any alternate routes.

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    • Andrew Plambeck December 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      That's a key point: when you've cut off and effectively destroyed the Lair Hill neighborhood by putting major highways on either side of it, the alternative routes that actually make it through there are extremely limited.

      As to the many calls for better enforcement, maintenance and planning, this is a systemic problem with ODOT highways inside the Metro region. It's really time we regionalize the control and funding of these arterials so that those decisions are made by folks in the region and not statewide job-creators simply serving as an empty vessel for federal stimulus funds.

      The Sellwood Bridge westside interchange is nearing prohibitive cost estimates and should have been done much more efficiently, but the region didn't get to make that call.

      This and more in the City Club of Portland's report Moving Forward: A Better Way to Govern Regional Transportation.

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  • jram December 16, 2010 at 9:05 am

    someone almost hit me at this same intersection last night. i was travelling northbound, and when the light changed, the cars turning across the northbound lane continued pouring through.

    i hate seeing headlines with the word fatal in them, but when it occurs in a spot you travel everyday, it gets even more real.

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  • Spiffy December 16, 2010 at 9:07 am

    weird, I saw the bicycle thing being questioned in earlier reports but now I don't see any mention of it...

    either way it must have been rough since the window of the car was shattered and it killed the 26 year old female ped...

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  • David M December 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I was almost hit at that intersection a couple months ago. I loathe that area, between that intersection and the Barbur/Naito mess it can be pretty nerve wracking at times. Luckily the company I work for is moving downtown this week so I won't have to go through that area anymore.

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  • h December 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Not surprising... some rats tried to mow me down at a Naito Parkway crosswalk twice this morning...

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  • nuovorecord December 16, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Once you're south of Hamilton, Barbur turns into a de facto freeway. No sidewalks - a total automobile sewer. My condolences to the family of the victim.

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  • Esther December 16, 2010 at 9:59 am

    My thoughts & prayers go out to Ms. Burke's family. I hope they can find some peace through the justice system and the support of our community.

    You may remember Lombard and Ida as the intersection where several teenagers were hit by a driver who was blinded by morning sun a few weeks (month?) ago. Busy east-west traffic on Lombard but also tons of pedestrians due to Roosevelt high, Fred Meyer, a laundromat and salon, McDonald's, etc. and also it's the connection between several bikeways (Smith, Central, Willamette).

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  • OnTheRoad December 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

    The drivers I wish would get ticketed are those southbound on Barbur just south of the Naito split who turn left across double double yellow lines to drop down to Corbett.

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  • Rob December 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Before you read my next paragraph, I want to preface it by saying that this is a horrible tragedy and my condolences to anyone that is deeply affected by this. Barbur is a key part of my commute and the safety of everyone on that route is a huge concern for me. I am absolutely 100% not blaming the victim here, right now just looking for answers as to why something so sad could have happened.

    From the video clip and the initial report, it makes it sound like the pedestrian was struck in the bike lane on southbound Barbur just before Hamilton. There is both a Tri-Met bus stop with a shelter here, and a sidewalk (the sidewalk ends at Hamilton). I've tried to figure it out, but I can't understand why someone would want to be walking in this uber-dangerous spot on the roadway at night. :( I'm hopeful that the answers to this will become clear based on ODOT's report, and that appropriate action can be taken to make this area safe and welcoming for all modes.

    That said, there's still no excuse for the vehicle operator that veered into the bike lane and collided with her. I have zero tolerance for that, since the driver could have just as easily hit anyone cycling in that lane as well. This is also the second pedestrian fatality on Barbur in the last four months (another one occured on September 23rd at Barbur/Capitol). Unacceptable. :(

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 16, 2010 at 10:14 am

      Rob, the PPB says the collision about about 1/2 mile south of Hamilton. Looking at a map that could mean the woman was trying to cross into an apartment complex that at SW Slavin Road. I'm unsure as to exact location of the crash but that's my hunch at this point.

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      • Rob December 16, 2010 at 10:29 am

        Thanks again, JM. The sidewalk ends at Hamilton, so any pedestrian on Barbur from that point onward southboard would have to be in the shoulder/bike lane. The point on the map indicated in the video clip is totally misleading.

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      • Machu Picchu December 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

        What I haven't seen in comments above (haven't read below, yet) is that there is a marked pedestrian crossing with signs and center refuge island in this general location. Still a heck of a road to cross, but it's "the" place to cross. There is a driveway for the apartments on the east side of the road, but contrary to all the comments above, this did not happen at an intersection. Hamilton is mentioned as the nearest intersection for reference. Sorry if I'm restating something posted below at an earlier time, but it strikes me as very relevant.

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        • Machu Picchu December 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm

          OK, just checked my facts. If this happened just across from Town and Country apartments, then it was prior to the very marked crossing, which would be nearer to the Rasmussen Village apts, where another commenter stated the car pulled in afterwards.

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    • Rob December 16, 2010 at 10:14 am

      Jonathan's most recent update makes it clear as to why the victim happened to be in the bike lane, and answers my question almost as soon as I posted my comment. Thanks for your dilligent reporting, J.M.

      Seems pretty open-and-shut. Pruitt should lose his license and go to jail. No plea bargain for him.

      It'll be really sad to ride past here in the future and see a ghost bike. Sucks. :(

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  • jim December 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

    There seams to be a lack of enforcement on a lot of things, after a while more people pick up on that and it gets worse

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    • ron December 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Absolutely! I a, continually amazed and alarmed at the lack of enforcement. Another tragedy due to some bonehead driving too fast. He'll probably get a slap on the wrist. I'll say it again, we spend billions on preventing terrorism, but ignore real threats in our own streets. The PBB needs to step in a big way.

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  • Spiffy December 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

    wow, the update is pretty sad news...

    time to slow down Barbur and put in a couple freeway ramps instead? can't do one without the other or cars start complaining about their rights...

    what's all that I-5 construction down that way anyways?

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    • E December 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

      The construction is to replace a really old bridge that I-5 is on. But in order to replace it they have to dig out the hillside so they can put in 3 lanes to divert traffic to work on one direction of travel and then do the other.

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    • Paul Souders December 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

      The construction is a seismic refit of the Iowa Street I-5 viaduct. There aren't any traffic changes (same number of lanes, no new ramps). The pedestrian trail under the viaduct is also getting an upgrade.

      http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/iowaviaduct/

      A few people commented on the Friends of Barbur post that Barbur should be de-highway-fied. Someone called it a "failed street." I completely agree. I've used Barbur -- bike, car or bus -- almost every day, at any given hour, for the last seven years. I have never seen it at anything like full auto capacity, between Sheridan and Terwilliger.

      After evening rush hour Barbur's a favored route for drunk drivers returning to the westside suburbs from downtown bars. This is actually the way some of my neighbors (Lewis & Clark students) talk about it.

      This is essentially a rural highway (99W) in the middle of the city, built way before I-5 to accommodate high-speed traffic between Portland and Salem -- totally unnecessary.

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  • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I feel so sorry for Angela Burke and her friends and family. How many people have to die before we stop approaching the right of way so completely AUTO oriented. This intersection is less than a mile from downtown.

    I hope (wish) that ODOT would approach deaths caused by poor design with as much passion as they do to congestion. From an outside perspective ODOT, and the employees whom work there, look like animals for their lack of concern or drive to fix our REAL transportation issues.

    ODOT should be ashamed, but unfortunately, they don't even care.

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  • OnTheRoad December 16, 2010 at 10:19 am

    OregonLive reports it happened 1/2 mile south of Hamilton and the victim was starting to cross Barbur, presumably to get to the apartments in that area.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/12/portland_police_accuse_motoris.html

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  • Johnnie Olivan December 16, 2010 at 10:29 am

    be careful out there!!!

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  • Allan December 16, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Tragic. How many more have to die before design changes get funded and built? Enforcement is a temporary nuiscence. Death is permanent.

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  • John Landolfe December 16, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Out of respect for human life, drivers like this should never have another chance to touch a steering wheel. I work not a quarter mile from there and everyday I engage people trying to find a safe way through that neighborhood. My deepest sympathies for the woman’s friends and family.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Just updated story with information about location of collision and included this graphic..

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    • Kelly December 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Yes, this is more like it for the location. My husand and I stopped when we spotted the poor young lady at the side of the road. There was no one else around, a few people had begun to come out of the apartments across the street. Saly, she was beyond help already. I did NOT see Mr. Pruitt anywhere. I am very confused by the reports that he pulled over right away and rendered aid. He simply was NOT there. If he pulled over, it must have been MUCH farther down Barbur where I couldn't see them.

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      • VRytt December 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

        I live in the Rassmussen Village Apartments, the apartment complex directly after the Town and Country apartments. Mr. Pruitt pulled into our driveway, where police arrested him. So, so sad.

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        • Kelly December 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm

          Thank you VRytt! That explains why I didn't see them anywhere around.

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      • Daniel Evans December 17, 2010 at 12:50 am

        Thank you for trying to help her Kelly. What a terrible situation.

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  • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

    This is not about design changes. It's about a racer wannabe(300 hp subaru impreza) drunk losing control at high speed after being surprised by a pedestrian pushing her bike across an unlit roadway in the dark of night. Here's his facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friends/?id=1439735587#!/profile.php?id=1439735587

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  • Ermal December 16, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Subaru Impreza...imagine that. Anyone taking odds?

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    • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Could this be the same person that hit two people in the Lloyd? Johnathan, can you look into this?

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    • Did I miss it? Again? December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

      I drive an Impreza and haven't killed anyone yet. I must be throwing your odds off.

      Let's not start profiling based on vehicle type. There have been other fatalities and near fatalities in other vehicles.

      How many people have been making the trip to SkiBowl? He (Hanna) was driving a Porsche I believe?

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      • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

        Gotta admit though, a lot of these youngin's who drive the turbo imprezas are looking for cheap speed. At lease porsche drivers can afford the higher insurance premiums(supposedly).

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      • rigormrtis December 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

        Because then we might have to start stereotyping bike riders based upon the type of bike they ride......

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      • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

        I was referring to reports of a young male driving an Impreza in the Lloyd district that hit 2 cyclist within 3 minutes of each other about a month ago. I was not implying that all people who use Impreza's kill people.

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  • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 10:48 am

    infrastructure changes? traffic flaws? what?

    folks, this woman was killed a freaking drunk driver.

    alcohol was the cause. this was not a mistake, it was not caused by inattentiveness. It was caused by someone drinking and driving. This poor woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time and this jackwad needs to go to jail. As someone who had lost a family member as a victim of drinking and driving, I feel terribly for her family, especiallly during the holidays.

    this was not a problem with sidewalks, bike lanes, or anything else. sober drivers can negotiate basic traffic situations. drunk drivers cannot. PPD could not have prevented this with more enforcement.

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    • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

      While alcohol was a major part of this tragic incident, the built environment was absolutely a factor. You can't drive this fast when speed bumps are installed, lights every 200 feet, or if the lanes were skinnier. The fact that there is no crosswalk between a bus stop and this apartment complex is a MAJOR problem. The speed limit shouldn't be neally as high as it is. All city streets should be maxed at 20 mph. The ODOT specified speed on this 'highway' is not acceptable. When the city tries to change the speed what does ODOT do? They fight and say no. What gives them the right to say that traffic flow is more important than safety?

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      • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

        that's naive. Of course you can. I live on a 20mph street with speed bumps, I see/hear people speeding down it nearly every day.

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      • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

        please explain how this would change anything if the driver doesn't care to follow the rules of the road already in place?

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        • rigormrtis December 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

          Jeff, why would you expect anyone in portland to suggest personal responsibility as a solution?

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    • jram December 16, 2010 at 11:13 am

      i find it difficult to attribute this only to the fact that the driver was under the influence. my thought is that if the area was better lit, a well marked crosswalk, a useable sidewalk, or if this stretch of road was known as a speed trap the outcome would have been much different. That still doesn't guarantee that some drunk idiot won't still act like a drunk idiot, but any one of those things listed would have made it less likely to end the way it did.

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      • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 11:40 am

        really? so you think a better lit sidewalk would have kept this drunk a-hole from speeding and drifting into the bike lane? how? a drivers job is to stay between the yellow and white lines. his impairment and lack of control over his vehicle (due to alcohol) caused this. a sober driver who is paying attention would not have killed this woman. a streetlight has nothing to do with it.

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        • Esther December 16, 2010 at 11:49 am

          I agree that driving under the influence regardless of infrastructure was a major contributor to this tragedy, but it naive to say that speed does not play a part. Of course people speed down your street with speed bumps - which probably means they are going 30-40. The speed limit posted right after Hamilton is 35, but turns to 45 right where this accident happened, which means he was probably going 50-60mph. The injury caused by a car is in direct, exponential proportion to the speed of a car.

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          • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm

            and I would heavily suspect that his speed was a direct downstream affect of his alcohol abuse.

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        • jram December 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

          I cannot definitely say a streetlight would have changed things, but perhaps if he had seen her even a half second sooner he would have been able to avoid her. it is also difficult to say whether a fully sober driver, operating his vehicle in the same reckless manner, would have been able to avoid this.

          i say this because my belief is we need to make all the improvements we can to our system. better enforcement of dui, safer facilities for peds and all modes, and any thing we can. we cannot assume that infrastructure is not a factor just because a driver is under the influence. it seems to be (as most collisions are) a confluence of factors, of which the impairment was only one.

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    • Esther December 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      and Jeff- I'm sorry for your loss - I agree that driving under the influence is a huge problem in our society that won't ever be completely removed without infrastructural changes, but by the way we treat substance use and abuse, including alcohol (and probably not even then). However, there ARE changes that can be made that will mitigate the impact of them, such as speed and changes to infrastructure such as buffer zones between bike lanes and car lanes, etc. This area is VERY dark due to the trees on the west side of the street, and that additional impairment (on top of the driver's self imposed impairment) could have been a contributing factor as well as speed. Again, I am not mitigating his responsibility, because I believe no one should EVER be driving at a speed where they cannot avoid sudden conflicts, especially in the city.

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      • rigormrtis December 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

        Esther, if the built environment was so bad, you'd be hearing about sober drivers doing this on a very regular basis....so most of the infrastructure in place seems relatively sufficient.

        the one thing you cannot plan for is human stupidity. No matter what you build, there will always be accidents.

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        • Esther December 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

          Rigormrtis, over 4000 pedestrians die in the US each year, and most of the drivers who cause it are sober. So, yes, I *do* hear about sober drivers doing it on a "regular basis."
          And like I MEANT to say above- I typed 'without' instead of 'with' - I agree that driving under the influence is a huge problem in our society that won't ever be completely removed [with] infrastructural changes. ACCIDENTS WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN. However, there is a great deal that we can do to MITIGATE them.

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          • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

            esther, this was NOT an accident. This was a conscious decision by a drunk boy.

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      • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm

        no, esther, when you are sober behind a wheel you make different decisions (of fail to make good decisions) compared to when you are drunk. sober drivers know when to slow down, assess a situation, and act accordingly. drunks do not.

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        • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

          Why would a sober person drive slower when ODOT post the speed 'Limit' at an already dangerous speed? The current environment is build and designed to move autos fast. Sober or not, this street is dangerous.

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        • Ryan Good December 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm

          No Jeff, they don't- sorry. Or at least not all of them. Sober drivers regulary fail to slow down, properly assess situations, and act accordingly all the time. Sorry but Esther is right.

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  • Wayne December 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    When I commute to work, whether by bike or by car, my route from Tigard to NW is Durham to Hall to 99/Barbur all the way in, then down Naito all the way to Nicolai, which I then take to St Helens road down to 35th and up to Yeon where my office is located. My trip home is essentially the reverse. I understand it is a dangerous route. I can testify that most people drive Barbur well in excess of the speed limit and seem to think it is an alternative to I-5 without the daily backups.

    I fully support any efforts to make Barbur a safer commute for cyclists. My first suggestion would be to lower the speed limit and step up enforcement. There needs to be better lighting in a number of hazardous stretches, like the two bridges coming in to town above I-5 that are pitch black in the early morning. I also think there needs to be an awareness campaign that continually reminds the driving public that main routes like Barbur are also shared with cyclists, pedestrians and TriMet.

    All of that being said, it makes me sick to think that another innocent victim lost their life to a careless, irresponsible driver. One life lost, other lives ruined.
    Unless significant changes are made to this essential throroughfare into Portland from SW, cyclists and pedestrians will continue to be at significant risk. Now, every time I travel to and from work, I will think of this young woman and another needless tragedy our community has to share.

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    • Paul Souders December 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

      I hate to comment twice on the same article but I live near Barbur and I agree with Wayne, and then some. I suspect Barbur could easily lose a full auto lane (at the point of this accident there are FIVE) between Terwilliger and Sheridan without impacting traffic flow in the slightest.

      Lower speed limits, more signals, curbs, sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes; plus education & enforcement (westside residents know to drive drunk on Barbur b/c it's sparsely patrolled) ...

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  • h December 16, 2010 at 11:17 am

    unspeakably sad...

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  • Ermal December 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

    @ Did I Miss It: Sorry. I was being obtuse. I was referring to the unsolved Subaru Impreza vs. Two Cyclists incident from a while back. For the record, we're on our second Forester, an Impreza variant.

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    • Did I miss it? Again? December 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      No worries. There were comments of a similar nature when that incident occurred.

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  • Blue December 16, 2010 at 11:29 am

    At 8:45 this morning, I saw someone being loaded onto an ambulance at the intersection of N. Willamette Blvd and N. Rose Parks Blvd. There's a 90-degree bend in the road there, and many cyclists and pedestrians cross there. Not sure if victim was on foot or bike, although there was a bike propped up on the street sign post just 5 ft away. Does anyone know anything about this?

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    • toby December 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      I hope whomever was hauled off is not in too bad of shape. I don't know anything about what happened but I go through there daily and I'm not surprised. Drivers go too fast through that turn and don't yield. It also seems like a popular spot for drivers to slow down as if to let you across, then once you start to cross they have a change of heart and continue.

      Drivers also tend to have little to no regard for the bike lane. They'll pass me practically on the line then once passed they cross into the bike lane for the turn. It always amazes me how little skill it takes to stay between the lines and how few people actually do stay between them.

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  • Dougie December 16, 2010 at 11:46 am

    There was also someone hit by a vehicle this morning about 9:00am on Rosa Parks/ Willamette blvd where the turn is heading east.

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  • Random_rider December 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    The first person I hear that used the word "accident" to describe this is going to get an immediate education on the definition of the term

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  • Owen Walz (Friends of Barbur) December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    We should be hesitant to draw conclusions about this tragedy, and reference the incident respectfully and cautiously in our own dialogue. Whether this could have been avoided on a better designed street will never be known. However, this seems an apt reminder that this environment is built for speed, and lack of impediment to auto travel. As such it may encourage the kind of behavior that led to this great loss.

    I'm hearing a lot of good suggestions here. Let's keep the dialogue going.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Angela's family and friends.

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  • Owen Walz (Friends of Barbur) December 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Regardless of all the factors that contributed to this incident, it seems safe to say that this area desperately needs better pedestrian crossings. A Trimet stop is located across a five lanes of high-speed traffic from a major residential area, and the only support pedestrians receive is an overhead sign and a cut-through in the curb.

    I took this photo at the same location a few weeks ago: http://picasaweb.google.com/owenwalz/BarburBlvdSiteVisit1#5544709052562896578

    ...showing a middle-aged man essentially running for his life to cross after getting off the bus. There's more than drunk-driving at work here.

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  • spare_wheel December 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Drivers routinely exceed 50 mph on barbur. At that speed minor inattention or poor driving skills can result in a fatality.

    I routinely ride in excess of 30 mph and yet I am often passed at very high speeds by most vehicles. They buzz me when I am in the bike lane and accelerate dangerously to get around me when I take a lane.

    We have a culture where it has become perfectly acceptable to threaten cyclists and pedestrians with agressive and illegal speeding. Instead of enforcing the idaho stop in Ladd's addition the Portland police should set up automated traffic enforcement systems throughout the metro area. Not only can these systems generate income but they would save lives.

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  • GlowBoy December 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Barbur is a simply terrible, awful road. I drive it quite regularly, almost always at or below the speed limit, and the speeds at which some drivers pass me are completely insane. I once got road-raged by a guy in an SUV -- at the very spot of this tragedy -- for daring to keep to the 35mph speed limit in the right lane, even though the left lane was wide open for him to pass.

    I have also been rear-ended while stopped for a pedestrian at the extremely well-marked Lane St crossing of Barbur, just a few blocks north of last night's incident. 30+mph impact, near-total damage to both cars, months of physical therapy for me. This road is dangerous for EVERYONE who uses it, not just cyclists and pedestrians.

    I do admit to biking Barbur fairly often, though generally only in the downhill direction when I can go 30+mph. Going uphill, I take Terwilliger. Drivers can be scary there too, but at least the speeds are barely half of Barbur's. I once had a cop who is also a regular bike commuter confess to me that he won't ride Barbur even though it would be his most straighforward route to work.

    No doubt alcohol, stupidity and arrogance were the primary factors last night, but Barbur's all-too-freeway-like design just encourages people to drive fast. Its usefulness as an alternate route when I-5 is jammed also encourages folks to drive like they're on I-5. I too would support a MAJOR redesign of this road, as well as stricter enforcement. Since this is a state highway, OSP as well as PPB could patrol it once in a while.

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  • GlowBoy December 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I should also add that I FREQUENTLY see pedestrians attempting to cross, both within and outside the crosswalk, between the T&C apartments and the southbound bus stop. There is HIGH pedestrian demand here to cross Barbur, and even the well signed and lit crosswalk is inadequate when that section of Barbur makes you feel like you're entering a freeway.

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    • Alan December 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      I'm not familiar with that crosswalk but it doesn't look all that well marked in maps.google images, even zooming in and switching views. It would be cheap and easy to equip that suicide/turn lane with pedestrian safety islands, plural, at side roads and bus stops, fully protected from traffic, between the two directions of cars. The visual friction might slow down drivers, which seems like a benefit to me but which might not to ODOT.

      (BTW, those streetviews happened to catch a cop car right there.)

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  • Cite them December 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I'd be very willing to videotape and cite drivers wherever they speed or otherwise break the law. If a dozen or so cyclists rotated this effort and showed for court, this could be an effective way to decrease dangerous behavior. Cell phone use alone would yield hundreds of tickets.

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  • Esther December 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks to Owen for the positive dialogue contributions. Ms. Burke and Mr. Pruitt both have friends and family who are no doubt all feeling a great amount of anguish right now.

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    • the "other" steph December 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Esther, you took the words right out of my laptop.

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  • Mork December 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I have heard from automobile drivers that the only time they watch their speed on Barbur is on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when officers have been known to camp out in the old christmas tree lot a few blocks north of this accident site. I don't know if this is accurate or not, but it is heartbreaking that the design of the road is such that people drive like maniacs on it with the only consideration being the fear of a ticket on a couple mornings a week. People's lives are at risk.

    I can echo the sentiments of many individuals who have already commented: I avoid Barbur even though it is the quickest route home. Crossing those bridges feels death defying each time I do it. Particularly in the dark, which this time of year seems perpetual.

    When I do ride down Barbur, I regularly have to take the traffic lane to avoid pedestrians walking in the bike lane. It's really time for a change. No one else should die out there.

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    • Mork December 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Correction: This was not an accident. I know better.

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  • mabsf December 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I am so very sorry for Ms Burke's family. It's very hard to lose somebody around the holidays.
    I hope PDoT and the PPB take a serious look at Barbor and come up with a solution.

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    • Lance P. December 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      ODOT has a solution. Their solution will be similar to 82nd ave, they will simply blame the victim and put a barrier so that pedestrian will not be able to cross the 'ODOT' right of way... I mean 'Public' right of way.

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  • Tomas Quinones December 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    R. A. G. E.

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  • Tomas Quinones December 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    This guy will never go to jail because it might impact his job duties.

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  • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    It begs the question, how well lit was she? Blinkies front and back can't be seen from the side as well. What was his blood-alcohol level? Driving record?

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    • Perry Hunter December 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      I believe the victim was in the bike lane, and the driver encroached upon her space, not the other way way around.

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      • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm

        Updates reveal she was in whole or partway into the crosswalk.

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  • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Look and listen before you leap. Prepare to jump out of the way. That is all. You guys turning a negligent drunk homicide into an agenda to "improve" barbur are trivializing her death.

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    • Perry Hunter December 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      At least, we are not blaming the victim.

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      • mello yello December 16, 2010 at 5:29 pm

        Of course we aren't. Personal accountability is no one's responsibility, especially the drunk's.

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  • Andrew Plambeck December 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Okay, coming back into work after a meeting today, I took TriMet from downtown to that intersection and got off to walk down to my office.

    In that time, I saw three drivers on cell phones.

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  • was carless December 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Reminds me of a friend who, 10 years ago, wrecked his Civic in the highway 26 tunnel while he was doing 105 mph. At least that was on the freeway.

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  • Chris December 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Every time I sit here and read these stories at work it makes me totally scared to get on my bike and ride home. Sad story.

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  • Jeff December 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    the difference is this Ryan...while some sober drivers make bad decisions....ALL drunk drivers do. reaction times are lower, decision processes change. have you ever had a drink in your life? this had nothing to do with lights, sidewalks, or speed limits. This was alcohol. Diminishing it to something as menial as a street design or intraurban speed limit does this woman and her family great disservice. Failing to acknowledge this boys personal responsibility in this matter does great disservice to this woman and her family. He put his foot on the gas pedal and killed her after knowingly consuming enough alcohol to impair him. Don't change the situation to fit a personal agenda.

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    • Ryan Good December 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Jeff, I'm not saying that alcohol was not a factor. Obviously it was. No argument there. What I am saying is that the way that area is designed was also a factor. We can't stop people from driving irresponsibly, we can't stop people from driving drunk. What we can do is make street design as safe as possible to mitigate the damage when accidents occur. I'm not failing to acknowledge Pruitt's responsibility- I hope they throw the book at him, I really do. But I'd also like to see us- collectively- taking an approach to street design that prioritizes the safety of those who use it- regardless of mode- rather that the fast flow of motorized traffic (often) at the expense of more vulnerable users. My only agenda, Jeff, is for people to be able to get around their cities safely. Eradicating drunk driving will help with that. So will having safer street design.

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  • Machu Picchu December 16, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Jeff, I'm curious why you keep referring to the 28-year-old driver as a "boy".

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  • Kth December 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    So sad.

    A few years' ago, I was looking into applying to a program at the Oregon School of Massage, on Barbur Blvd.

    I took the bus there. It dropped me off on the other side of the street. It then took me about eight minutes, and a hell of a lot of gumption, to work up the courage to cross the thing. In places, Barbur Blvd feels like it is as wide as a football pitch, with very, very fast traffic. Crosswalks are few and far between.

    I decided against applying to grad school there, because the idea of having to cross that street, often in the dark after work, three times a week just seemed like far too much of a death wish.

    So, a business on Barbur lost about $9,000 of my potential spending money, for being located in a car-centric, unsafe location. I hope this sort of feedback will spur other businesses in the area to support more walk and bike friendly infrastructure. Until they do, they simply don't get my dough.

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  • agoodfirend4 December 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Angela Burke
    "I got a really good heart, I just can't catch a break on Tuesday" (posting of hers).

    I remember the last time i saw her. it was July 5th about 9am hot and sunny.,as a few friends where helping pack her car to move to Portland, 2,439 mi away.
    While strapping the rack to the back of the car. I told her that her tiers need some air, as I admired her bike. Her best friends father hugged his daughter good by.
    we where not sure if it was last good byes or not. the air humid and still smelling of smoke and powder from the night of lights and colors. some how none of us cried. maybe it was the heat or the sun drying them out as quick as they cam out.
    .... i could go on
    Reluctant to part ways she promised to send postcards from all the sights along the way. a few hugs later and she drove off.
    She left behind many fiends from all they way across the country. thanks

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    • sam December 16, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      so very sorry for your loss... it's really disturbing to lose someone so young and so suddenly. i guess none of us ever really know if we're saying our last goodbyes. may you and her many friends keep her alive in your memories and your hearts.

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  • Joe December 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    If I die remember me " ghost biker "

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  • Catherine December 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I live across the street at Rasmussen Apts and cross Barbur very close to where Burke was hit. In the 3 years that I have lived here, I have seen 5 accidents within 5 feet of me. There REALLY needs to be more light, an actual crosswalk, and real enforcement. Where do I sign a petition?

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  • Seth Alford December 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Jonathan, will you be getting a copy of the police report? Before we jump to conclusions about what to do with Barbur, I think that we need more information.

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  • Liz December 17, 2010 at 7:05 am

    As one of the 9% of women who bike this route, I will be taking the bus today and keeping Angela's family in my thoughts as they recover from this tragedy. A stark, and incredibly unfortunate, reminder of the drastic improvements that must be made to Barbur for the safety of all users.

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  • dan December 17, 2010 at 10:54 am

    So sad, RIP. The worst part? If the driver wasn't drunk, he would have gotten off with a "failure to observe bike lane" slap on the wrist. We need that vehicular manslaughter law.

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  • mello yello December 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    At least the Burke family knows there's a humongous cycling population in Portland that will never forget their daughter/sister.

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  • Stef December 17, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Rob, the PPB says the collision about about 1/2 mile south of Hamilton. Looking at a map that could mean the woman was trying to cross into an apartment complex that at SW Slavin Road. I'm unsure as to exact location of the crash but that's my hunch at this point.

    Although I never met Angela, she was the roommate of one of my best friends. She moved here from New York only a month or so ago. They lived on Slavin Rd. so I'm almost positive that she was trying to cross Barbur on her way back to her house.

    RIP Angela Burke <3

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  • Lisa G. December 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Not too long ago I read about an incident where someone in the same type of car with no plates tried to mow down a bicyclist who was on his way to work. I couldn't see the color of this vehicle from the video, but that one was silver.

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  • Hot Rod December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    mello said: "It's about a racer wannabe(300 hp subaru impreza) drunk losing control at high speed after being surprised by a pedestrian pushing her bike across an unlit roadway in the dark of night. "

    My first thoughts are that I agree with this assessment. And if this guy was driving beyond the speed limit and/or if he was truly intoxicated, then they should throw the book at him. If he crossed into the bike lane, throw the book at him. If this isn't his first offense they should just shoot him.

    Sounds like the guy is guilty, but, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If he'd only had say one beer, and the street was dark, and if the cyclist was wearing non-reflective clothing and dawdling in the crosswalk expecting cars to stop for her and not being proactive to get out of the way, then the driver is not completely at fault and part of the blame falls on the cyclist.

    As a pedestrian, I can see a car at night (assuming they are using their lights) a very long way off and I can tell pretty accurately how long I have until they get to my spot. If they are going to get to me before I can cross to safety, I will either run, or wait, but I will NEVER assume that painted lines in a crosswalk will stop a car.

    We'll probably never know all of the facts unless there is a camera somewhere at this location.

    Why does Subaru make a 300 hp car? What kind of dumbf--k needs something like that? I've never liked Subarus - they get crappy mileage.

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  • Joe Mizereck December 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I am sick. I look at the picture of Angela and my heart sinks for her family and her friends who will never see her again because of the stupidity, irresponsibility and cruel selfishness of the young man who chose to drink and then drive and while doing so ripped this young woman from our world.

    How many Angelas is it going to take until our society says, "NO MORE"? We could stop this insanity in a matter of months if we really truly wanted to. Why don't we? What is keeping us from bringing the hammer down hard on every single person who decides to drink and drive and hurts, or worse kills someone?

    Look, this slaughter on our roads by drunks has got to stop. Judges, get your heads out of the sand and start sending these irresponsible individuals to jail...and don't let them out until they are ready to be responsible citizens...and states, do not...I repeat, DO NOT allow them to drive ever again.

    Please. Please.

    Joe Mizereck Founder, The "3 Feet Please" Campaign

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