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Three collisions in two hours in Washington County

Posted by on February 21st, 2012 at 9:50 am

The bicycle involved in one of two
collisions on SW 185th Street in Aloha yesterday.
(Photos: Wash. Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“On Monday, February 20, 2012, Sheriff’s deputies were very busy dealing with crashes involving vehicles vs. pedestrians and bicycles.” That’s the opening line of a Washington County Sheriff’s Office statement sent to the media yesterday. It came after there were three collisions involving vulnerable road users in Washington County that happened within a two-hour time span.

Since I’ve covered this beat, I don’t recall ever seeing a police press statement with three separate incidents so close to each other.

This bike belongs to Gordon Douglas.

The first collision happened at around 4:30 in Raleigh Hills (about 6 miles southwest of downtown Portland) in the intersection of SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and SW Scholls Ferry Road. According to police, a woman was walking “lawfully in the intersection” on a “Walk” signal when a person driving a car turned right on a red light. The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the person driving the car was cited for “Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian.”

Francisco Luna-Flores
(Photo: Washington Co.
Sheriff’s Office)

Then about one hour later, six miles to the east in Aloha, officers responded to the intersection of SW 185th and Blanton. They found a 46-year-old woman with serious injuries who claimed a man driving a black SUV turned left into her path as she rode north on 185th. The man struck her and then sped away. A Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy found the vehicle and later arrested a man in an apartment complex a few blocks away. 51-year-old Francisco Luna-Flores said he “panicked and left the scene.” He has been charged with “Felony Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (hit and run).”

Then a half hour later, just 1/2 mile up the road, a man suffered life-threatening injuries after he rode his bike into the street at the intersection of SW 185th and Pheasant Lane. Witnesses told deputies that the man, 45-year-old Gordon J. Douglas of Aloha, was riding down the sidewalk and “suddenly turned left and rode straight into traffic.” The deputies found the person who was driving the car to not have any fault and they that alchohol consumption by Mr. Douglas played a factor in the collision. Douglas remains in the hospital.

“I don’t think I could put a reason on it. It’s just bad circumstances and timing.”
— Sgt. David Thompson, Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office

Sgt. David Thompson with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office concurred that it’s “unusual” to have this many collisions in such a short amount of time. He didn’t think there was any specific factor that contributed to them. The weather wasn’t any worse than it normally is, he said. “I don’t think I could put a reason on it. It’s just bad circumstances and timing.”

Sgt. Thompson said that the street where two of the collisions occurred, SW 185th, is a “major thoroughfare.” It has 5 lanes and a 45 mph posted speed limit. “It’s fast,” said Thompson, “And where it crosses TV [Tualatin Valley] Hwy, that’s a huge intersection.”

The huge arterial streets that define Washington County certainly play a role; but, as the story we published just previous to this one shows, so too does low quality and inadequate access for people who walk and bike.

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Comments
  • Brian February 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I had a scary incident on Walker near 185th. There is tiny stretch where the road goes over a bridge and has no bike lane. A dude in an older GMC Jimmy passed me by only about a foot going 40+ mph, rather than simply wait a couple of seconds for an oncoming car to pass so that he could use the oncoming lane to safely pass. It was that super windy day a couple of weeks ago, which made it all the more heinous. I tried my damndest to be Mark Canvendish and sprint up to him at the light, but couldn’t get there in time. I was irate. Washington County needs some serious education.

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    • K'Tesh February 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

      There’s an opportunity tonight at the Beaverton City Council meeting to discuss issues. I’ve had a request sent to me to attend and support the BAC.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Dave Thomson Thomson February 21, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Three words: Take the lane.

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      • Brian February 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

        I usually do, and always will in the future. For some reason I didn’t that day. Who knows? I may have been another unfortunate story on BP if I had.
        Cheers.

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  • Mike Fish February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Yikes – I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Joe February 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    walker rd is scary. ppl drive way to fast. Washington County needs to have better laws to protect peds and road users outside the cage. * anytime I see Lic plate I stay clear just saying. hope everyone is ok bottom line.

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  • K'Tesh February 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Three crashes in one evening… Ouch! Hopefully all involved will heal fully and quickly.

    That hit and run is more fuel for me wanting a GoPro or similar setup.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • NW Biker February 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I live in Washington County, and I think there’s a lot they could do. For one thing, why do we need 45 mph speed limits on roads such as 185th, Cornell, and others? Especially since there’s no effort to coordinate traffic lights, so traffic screams from one red light to the next. Lower the speed limits (and enforce them!), quit building multi-lane highways disguised as surface streets, and add sidewalks and separated bike lanes, and everyone will be happier and safer. And oh yeah, fix those damn stop lights. The Chaos Theory of Traffic Control just makes everyone antsy. Which is no excuse, but smoothly flowing trafffic at lower speeds is worlds better than top speed from one red light to the next.

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    • Susan Otcenas February 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Sorry, but I can’t agree on the “separated bike lanes” part of your statement. It’s bad enough that the street sweepers don’t sweep the (accessible to sweeper) bike lanes often enough. As soon as you separate the bike lanes from the streets, the lanes will be FILLED with debris that never gets cleaned out, making it impossible to ride through without risking flats.

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  • Editz February 21, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Flores panicked and drove only a couple of blocks away to his home? Please.

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  • jocko February 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Three words: Enforce Speed Limits.

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  • GlowBoy February 21, 2012 at 11:41 am

    That intersection of Scholls Ferry/Beaverton-Hillsdale/Oleson/Dogwood (there are a total of 7 flows of entry/exit to this intersection) is a total nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists. Rode through it myself about 5pm, though I didn’t see any evidence of the incident that had just happened.

    The worst thing isn’t just this intersection, but that there are no alternatives (safe OR otherwise) within a mile in either direction to the north or south. Unless you want to go all the way north to US 26 or all the way south to either Vermont (which isn’t safe) or further to Garden Home and the Fanno Creek Trail, you have NO choice but to pick your way through this disaster.

    Personally, I do ride through it on the sidewalk rather than inviting hillbilly-induced disaster by taking the lane … but always at a VERY deliberate pace because of the high volume of right turning traffic from EB Scholls Ferry and Beaverton-Hillsdale onto Oleson (not to mention the pedestrians waiting at this major bus stop). Then I hop into the bike lane (which must be the narrowest one in the PDX metro area) once it starts about 100 yards to the east.

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    • davemess February 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      i used to live next to this intersection and it is just plain ridiculous (It’s pretty scary in a car). It is kind of weird how the bike lane just ends the instant you hit WA county. I think the only reason there aren’t more bike/pedestrian accidents here is the fact that there really are few cyclists or pedestrians.

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  • meh February 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Can we dial back the hyperbole.

    car·nage  /ˈkɑrnɪdʒ/ Show Spelled[kahr-nij] Show IPA
    noun
    1.the slaughter of a great number of people, as in battle; butchery; massacre.
    2.Archaic . dead bodies, as of those slain in battle.

    This is not carnage.

    When someone actually dies on the road, how will you describe it, now that you have redefined carnage?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Hi meh,

      Thanks for the feedback. There’s the definition of words in dictionaries and then there is the way they are used in a stylistic sense.

      By using carnage in the headline, I don’t think I’m “defining” the word. I will consider changing the headline and using a more accurate word, but I think for now I’ll keep it.

      Thanks (and please feel free to debate my point. As always I’m open to changing my mind).

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  • Mike February 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I do not see how speed was a factor in any of these incidents. One person hit in a crosswalk, a right-hook?and a intoxicated cyclist rode directly into traffic. At 25-35 mph, all 3 of these incidents could (and probably would) have still happened.

    This isn’t carnage, it’s more like an all out war on non-drivers! A jihad on those not in automobiles. Genocide, slaughter or extermination!

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Unit February 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Your mocking of those injured because you don’t like the wording is thoughtless, juvenile, and extrememly disrespectful.

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      • grumpcyclist February 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        Other than his tone, I think Mike’s pretty much dead on. The first incident (where the the driver was at fault) involved a right on red where the driver wasn’t driving at speed. In the second incident (driver also at fault) the driver was making a 90 degree left turn and would therefore have to slow his vehicle significantly below 45mph to execute the turn. In the third case the cyclist was at fault (and was apparently cycling drunk). In which of these accidents do you think excessive speed was likely to be a factor?

        I think it’s a real shame that the third incident was thrown in with the other two, it’s clear that a drunk cyclist getting in a collision doesn’t really tell us anything about how safe it is to bike on the streets, which makes the headline more than a little misleading. Put another way: if all three incidents were due to drunken cyclists would you keep the same headline Jonathan?

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      • Mike February 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I think it sucks that the two women were injured and I think it sucks that the motorist had some drunk ride into his/her vehicle. I did not mock those injured. I did mock the over dramatic title of the post.

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      • middle of the road guy February 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        No where did I see where he referred to the victims. He was mocking the hyperbole…….which is frequently employed by other commentors when given the chance to stereotype drivers.

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        • Opus the Poet February 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm

          Except I usually use capitalization to emphasize the source (CARnage). Hyperbole works if used with care and precision.

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  • wsbob February 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I’m glad to see the posted speed limit for 185th reported, because last night when I read the O story and posted a comment there…or thought I did…I couldn’t remember what it was.

    I’m wondering just what ODOT or anyone else thinks would be unduly disadvantageous about reducing the speed limit on 185th from the reported 45mph to 35 or even 30. Ever since 185th has been widened from the two-lane road it used to be, it’s been a scar on the county.

    The noise from fast traveling cars on the road is atrocious, to people walking, biking along the road, and to people in adjoining residential neighborhoods. The road does have bike lanes, but they somehow don’t feel safe. TV Hwy, a bigger highway than 185th, feels safer to ride along.

    I frequently ride Pheasant Ln…a great little road to bike on…between 170th and 185th. There’s no signal at 185th and Pheasant Ln, so crossing 185th to go south on 185th is often very difficult and dangerous.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    UPDATE: Since so many of the comments focused on my use of the word “Carnage” in the headline I have decided to remove that word.

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    • sorebore February 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

      That was probably the best move really. Much like explaining to my seven year old that he is not in fact “starving”. Carnage did seem a bit heavy handed.

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      • sorebore February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

        And since all my comments are now awaiting moderation, I feel my job is done here. So long BikePortland.org. The passing of sorebore has arrived.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

          Sorry you’ve decided to go sorebore. I started auto-moderating your comments because I did not feel comfortable with them being made before I had a chance to read them. It’s something I do with a number of people. As long as you keep your comments above the belt, I’ll push them through right away and ultimately will consider taking you off the moderation list.

          cheers.

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  • Natasha March 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hi:
    I’m the female biker who got hit on 20th. I’ve been biking to work for almost a year before the crash. I feel insecure now and am seriously considering whether to bike to work again. 2nd week after crash and I can barely use my right hand and not able to exercise in any way besides occupational therapy. Even walking is hard due to damage to the hip bone joints. Is there a statistics of risks anywhere? Do bikers stop at every little street to avoid crashes? That would’ve turned my 30 min ride one way into an hour one.

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