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Repairs to Hawthorne Bridge railing follow damages from hit-and-run

Posted by on March 11th, 2016 at 3:56 pm

hawthornework
(Photo: Multnomah County)

Multnomah County has erected work zone barriers at the eastern entrance of the northern path of the Hawthorne Bridge. Maintenance crews are repairing damage to the railing inflicted by a person who failed to maintain control of their automobile and rammed into it.

County spokesman Mike Pullen said the incident happened about a month ago in the wee hours of the morning (“after the bars closed,” he said). Someone traveling westbound failed to negotiate the turn and jumped up the tall curb and hit the railing. Pullen said the county had an operator on the bridge when it happened but the employee didn’t see the incident. Cameras on the bridge were unable to identify the car or the person driving it.

Pullen said typically when someone damages a bridge the county sends them the bill to pay for it. But in this case since the person hasn’t been found, they’ll probably get stuck with the repair expenses (which are “not insignificant” Pullen said).

Crews will have to create a work platform on the underside of the bridge to make the repairs. A temporary barrier has been set up that takes up about a 20-inches of the 10-foot wide path. Bridge users should use extra caution while passing through this area until the work is done. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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36 Comments
  • B. Carfree March 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    We really do need to change our laws to make hit and run a felony that includes a mandatory fine of 90% of the perpetrator’s assets, with some reduction for returning and owning it. My thinking is the consequences of being caught for hit and run need to be so severe that no one would risk it, even if they are on their fifth DUII. The current slap on the wrist that typically happens isn’t ever going to work.

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    • jeff March 14, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      right, because drunk people take the time to think that way.

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  • brian March 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Its not right that there are barriers there to protect drivers from going off the bridge but no barriers to protect people on the outer decks.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Pedestrians need more protection on this bridge…

    It is time to convert the outside travel lane to bike traffic only and give pets more buffer [and less conflict with bikes on the path].

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    • Dick Pilz March 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      The outside travel lane is wider than the inner lanes. The buses need that extra room.

      The design of the bridge all-but-requires that metal grid we love so much when it is wet.

      The expense of handling those two issues will come from what budget?

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      • Opus the Poet March 12, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        So make the inner lanes wider and put thin slabs of reinforced concrete over most of the outer lane with a built-in K-rail structure to keep the cars away from the squishy walkers and cyclists. It’s simple engineering, not rocket science. Make it light enough to not overload the bridge, strong enough to not fall apart from people walking or bicycles riding on it. What works for the sidewalks would also work for bicycles.

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        • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 9:55 am

          You mean just simply move the superstructure outward? Simple!!

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          • Opus the Poet March 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

            OK I was looking at the wrong bridge when I made that statement. The one I was looking at apparently was not even in PDX (or the USA for that matter). The bridge I was looking at had all the lanes within the structure of the bridge but it did have the metal grate deck surface. Again, mea culpa.

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        • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 11:15 am

          The bridge structure gets in the way of widening the inner lanes. The buses need the wider outer lanes. Unless you make the inner lanes bus-only one-way and implement some sort of pre-emption signals to ensure that two buses don’t enter the bridge at the same time in oncoming directions. We could make the inner lanes bike-only but that would require non-slip plates and some odd crossovers at the bridge approaches.

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        • was carless March 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm

          Even if you had a billion dollars, its probably not even possible to do that.

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      • Tom Hardy March 14, 2016 at 10:59 am

        And we do not have jersey barriers between the middle lanes? Let the busses share the space like the cyclists do on MUP paths. There is enough room for 2 busses to pass but not while they are texting.

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        • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          Do you know what bridge this story is about? There are no jersey barriers on this bridge.

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  • Adam H. March 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Pullen said typically when someone damages a bridge the county sends them the bill to pay for it.

    I’ve suggested this in the past a few times, but didn’t realize this is something that was actually done. Would love to see more agencies send people bills for the damage they cause to public infrastructure.

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    • q`Tzal March 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Vehicle fires usually destroy the asphalt (makes much more brittle at the very least) and requires that the section be ground or dug out and resurfaced.
      This would be a good cost to pass on to drivers and their insurance companies so as to apply economic pressure to bad drivers.

      Because it seems there is no political will to directly apply punitive measures to drivers maybe we can price them out of driving.

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      • El Biciclero March 12, 2016 at 8:51 pm

        We have to take away actual cars. When insurance rates get too high, people just drive without it. If license renewal is too “difficult”, people will just drive with expired licenses. There is nothing to stop people from doing this as long as they get to keep their cars. If you are caught driving without (adequate) insurance, you should get a suspension for 60 days or until you can prove you have insurance. After 60 days, if you have not gotten insurance, your suspension becomes indefinite. If you are caught driving while suspended, you should lose your car. Permanently. Getting caught after a hit-and-run should be grounds for automatic vehicle forfeiture.

        If convicted felons can lose an actual constitutional right (the right to bear arms), then surely a proven dangerous driver can lose a mere privilege and have that loss enforced by removing the actual means of exercising the privilege, not merely by wagging a finger.

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        • Opus the Poet March 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm

          This. Screw up so that someone is permanently injured or killed then car is taken and recycled (gotta run it through the shredder or it could just get sold back to the owner for a minimal sum)

          Recommended Thumb up 3

        • caesar March 13, 2016 at 9:08 am

          I don’t disagree with you.

          But it’s too late. The cat is out of the bag. The genie has exited the proverbial bottle. Because for almost a century now, the automobile has been promoted, subsidized, glorified, mythologized, glamorized, elevated, made essential, equated with personal freedom, individuality, creativity (insert most any “American Exceptionalism” noun here___) – to the point that diminishing the role or significantly penalizing the use of the automobile in this society is tantamount to advocating violent overthrow of the democratically elected government. It’s just plain un-American, or so we are led to believe.

          After a wonderful 12 months living in PDX I faced the reality that I could not work in my chosen field there, and so I have relocated to the northern wasteland that is Tacoma, WA. Yeah, the views of Puget Sound are nice, but here the Car Rules All. Bike infrastructure is mostly nonexistent. What few bike lanes exist here are horribly designed; they don’t even bother to erect a “Bike Lane Ends” at the point where the barely visible painted divider suddenly disappears and forces a merge into a 40 mph traffic lane. There are no shoulders on most thoroughfares – none. It’s a joke, really, and when I’m not cursing it all I’m trying to laugh, and I’m remembering fondly my cross-town rides from downtown PDX to all points beyond on my old steel commuter. Anyone unhappy about Portland’s shortcomings vis-a vis bike friendliness needs to come up here for a day. I guarantee that when you return you will get down on your knees and kiss the asphalt on the Eastern Esplanade or the bike lane on Williams St. with gratitude and joy.

          Yet despite all that, I sold my car and I ride 18 miles round trip to work each day, usually in the dark. Half my colleagues snicker and gently ridicule me for doing it. “You’re so weird!” they say, affectionately, when I roll my bike into my little office wearing my rain gear. Maybe I’l cave eventually and buy another car, I don’t know. But I’ve weathered a nasty, wet and cold winter (I’m told here it’s not officially “nice” until late June) and every day that I make it without a car is another day that I hate them even more. Dirty, dangerous, dehumanizing machines. Yet, they have become a necessary, essential evil. We got what we deserved.

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          • Mixtieme March 14, 2016 at 1:35 am

            It really doesn’t get nice in the PNW till late June. If last year or was your first experience in Portland then you experienced one of the dryest, drought resulting winters I’ve ever seen in my 28 years here. It rains, the rain is normal, God bless rain and may He smite umbrellas and a car or two.

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        • Spiffy March 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

          and then you start going to jail for Felon in Possession of a Car if you start buying them off craigslist…

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  • Eric Leifsdad March 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I wonder if there is an easy way to catch drunk people driving away from a bar. Maybe the extensive free parking next to most bars?

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    • Tom Hardy March 11, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      I don’t think the PPB likes to post cars by bars or taverns to catch drunks. They are too busy trying to corral shooters at the strip joints.

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  • mran1984 March 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Blame it on parking…why not blame it on the price of housing in Portland too. Nobody had an issue with either before “you” goggled Portland. Things happen folks and there is not a big enough condom to protect you from everything.

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    • Opus the Poet March 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Well parking is part of the problem because it encourages people to drive to and from the bars. No parking = very little driving = almost no drunk driving. Seriously, if you want to reduce drunk driving you have to reduce driving to and from bars, and the easiest way to do that is eliminate free parking from bars. I’m not advocating eliminating all the parking, just make them charge a high hourly rate so that people don’t hang around drinking continuously getting snockered.

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      • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 9:57 am

        Any actual data, like a reference we can review, to back up that odd equation?

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Opus the Poet March 15, 2016 at 8:06 pm

          Just an article on this website a few weeks ago about parking causing driving. The gist of the article was if you knew there would be no free parking at your destination and what little parking there was would be limited and expensive, and if there was a decent chance that you wouldn’t have a place to park when you got home, you would only driver for very good reasons. I’m extending that argument a step further by saying getting drunk in a bar would not be a good reason to drive.

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  • Mark March 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    soda choke

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  • dan March 13, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Maybe replace the railing with a simple, less robust, chain link fence. Would make future repairs cheaper, and people would be highly incentivized to not ram it with their cars.

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    • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Not really effective for the intoxicated driver.

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      • Gary B March 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        I’d argue it’d be highly effective. Recurrence rate will be close to zero.

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  • Sam March 14, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I am the President of the Mike Pullen Fan Club. I had the privilege of working a few cubicles away from him a few years back. The guy has the difficult and thankless job being the mouthpiece of Multnomah Co. Transportation. Multnomah Co. (not City of Portland) is responsible for most of Portland’s bridges. He is just about the nicest most even keel guy you’ll ever meet. We should all be a little more like Mike Pullen.

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    • Reid Parham March 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

      wat

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      • Sam March 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

        You heard me. WWMPD? Quietly do his job and do it really well.

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  • Tom March 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Why are the cameras so crappy they can’t even see a car. Seriously? What’s the point then. Install a decent camera and couple with a spot light for nightime.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu March 14, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    The Broadway Bridge is 103 years old. In that century, how many pedestrians have been killed by cars jumping from the roadway to the sidewalk? Details on the incidents, please?

    Show us the actual accident history that justifies spending a large sum, likely exceeding an entire year of the city’s bike infrastructure investment, on a non-existent problem.

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  • Tim March 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Some background information to keep in mind:

    The bridge was built in 1910 and predates widespread use of the automobile (but not the bicycle).

    The bridge is on the national register of historic places, so forget the Jersey barriers and chain link fence.

    The through truss bridge cannot be widened.

    It is a cool old bridge.

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  • Joe March 15, 2016 at 7:29 am

    close it from all car traffic ;-P

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