miles south of SW Hamilton. The
orange paint is where Angela Burke’s
body came to rest. The apartment complex is
in the upper left.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Last night I went out to SW Barbur to get a better sense of the scene of the fatal crash that occurred there Wednesday night.
By way of markings in the street painted by Portland Police Bureau crash investigators, Angela Burke’s body came to rest about three tenths of a mile south of where SW Barbur Blvd (99W) crosses SW Hamilton. The collision occurred directly across the street from a parking lot and just a few feet north of the entrance to the Town and Country Apartments at 4800 SW Barbur (map).
The A marks the spot where Burke’s body came to rest.
Also note the TriMet bus stop to the south.
Barbur in this location has
four five (!!), wide, standard vehicle travel lanes, 4-5 foot bike only lanes on both sides of the street, and a center turn lane. The posted speed limit is 35mph, but most cars go 40-50 (I drove to the location and was passed by several people as I went 35 mph).
Portland Police investigators say that Burke was attempting to cross the street when she was hit by Caleb Pruitt (who was jailed and then released on charges of DUII and negligent homicide). If that’s the case, it’s likely she was preparing to cross from the west side of Barbur over to the apartments on the east side of the street. In the photo below, the yellow arrow shows where Burke’s body was found and lights from the apartment building can be seen in the upper right (this view is looking north on SW Barbur from the west side of the street)…
Hoping to find out more about Burke (so far all I know is that she’s from Albany, New York), I approached several people at the Town and Country Apartments. I met a woman who saw the aftermath of the crash from her balcony. After the police left, she put a candle on a plate, walked over to the street where Burke’s body came to rest, and placed it on the cement barricade as a memorial.
The woman I met (she didn’t want her name used) is a transit user, and said many people in her building and an adjacent apartment complex also take the bus. There’s a stop just a few hundred feet south of were Burke was hit (on the west side of the street, meaning they all have to cross Barbur to get home). Neighborhood activists have been trying to get the city and the state to put a more substantial crossing treatment there for years.
“That poor girl,” the woman said, “It’s just really ridiculous… People need to just slow down. It’s just not safe.” The woman told me that police use this corner as a speed trap. She also said she’s ready to write a letter to the city and the apartment building manager to try and bring more attention to the safety issues at this location.
To give you another perspective on where this happened, watch the little video below. I shot it walking in the bike lane near where Burke was hit…
My visit to the scene answered some of my questions about where and how this might have happened, but questions remain. I’ll learn more in the coming days. Stay tuned for updates and for information about a possible vigil and demonstration at the site early next week.