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Vigil planned for Angela Burke on Monday night

Posted by on December 17th, 2010 at 11:38 am

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition have just announced a vigil for Angela Burke:

In cooperation with Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. and Friends of Barbur, a quiet vigil for Angela Burke and all who have lost someone close to them on the roadway will be held Monday at 5:30 pm, tentative location near the corner of SW Barbur Boulevard and SW Hamilton.

See the full press release below…

Community Responds to Senseless Tragedy on SW Barbur
Neighbors and friends to hold vigil for Angela Burke and those lost on our roadways

Portland, Ore. – Angela Burke, a 26-year old woman from New York, was struck and killed while walking her bicycle across SW Barbur Blvd. on Wednesday night. Caleb Pruitt, the driver who killed Ms. Burke, was arrested on allegations of negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

According to the police report, “Investigators learned that just prior to the [crash] Pruitt was driving at a high rate of speed and appeared to lose control of the car before striking Burke and killing her.”

In a crash, the risk of serious injury or death increases exponentially as speed climbs higher than 20 miles an hour. On SW Barbur Boulevard, people riding in the bike lane or walking on the sidewalk are only a few feet away from cars traveling at 50 miles per hour. Wednesday’s tragedy shows us that a death can result from something as simple as crossing the street.

Steph Routh, Director of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition: “Ms. Burke’s death was as senseless as it was preventable. In our community and in our region, everyone should feel safe while walking or biking on our roads. There is no higher priority than preserving life. This tragedy is a mournful reminder of how far we have to go in terms of traffic safety.”

Transportation safety advocates and organizations, including Friends of Barbur, the WPC, and the BTA, have been working to improve safety on the Barbur Bridges (the narrowest and most uncomfortable sections of SW Barbur Boulevard for bicyclists) but these improvements – though critically important – are not enough.

Rob Sadowsky, Executive Director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance: “Our street environment must prioritize the safety of people walking and biking. We cannot tolerate anything less. Speed and crash reduction must play a major role in the BTA’s advocacy initiatives, legislative agenda, and Vision Zero safety campaign. “

We – as advocates, as transportation authorities, as parents, as people who walk and bike and care about the safety of our neighbors – must take swift action to make significant safety improvements along the entire length of SW Barbur Boulevard, and on every street where people are walking and biking near motor vehicle traffic above 20 miles per hour. We call on state and local transportation authorities to make a commitment to lowering speeds and enforcing safe behavior

The BTA and WPC thank the Portland Police for acting swiftly during the investigation and for bringing charges to the man responsible for killing Ms. Burke. The message is clear: people will be held responsible for killing someone as a result of negligent driving.

We mourn the loss of Angela Burke and extend our sincere condolences to her friends and family. We cannot imagine their loss.

In cooperation with Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. and Friends of Barbur, a quiet vigil for Angela Burke and all who have lost someone close to them on the roadway will be held Monday at 5:30 pm, tentative location near the corner of SW Barbur Boulevard and SW Hamilton.

Participants are encouraged to bring a candle, lights, and personal signs commemorating Angela, a loved one or call for safer streets. More information regarding exact venue available on BTA and WPC websites and Friends of Barbur Facebook page as it is confirmed.

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  • Allan December 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

    It seems like to really send a message about this tragedy, closing Barbur for an hour might be more symbolic. Or is that too much to ask?

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  • Rob December 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    For anyone that’s interested, I’m open to leading a ride of quiet reflection to the vigil site on Monday evening. If you’d like to be a part of this, please meet up on the steps of the PSU campus library (725 SW Harrison, in the South Park Blocks). Ride at 5 PM.


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    • toby December 17, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you Rob, I hope to meet you there.

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    • Jon Wood December 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      I question why the vigil is planned for the intersection of Barbur & Hamilton. Ms Burke was struck half a mile south of the intersection. I’ve cycled alot on Barbur and the intersection with its lights is relatively safe and orderly, but the area around the entry to the apartments south of Hamilton is more dangerous. Its also dangerous for bus riders trying to disembark and cross Barbur on the crosswalk by the apt. I realize that the Barbur and Hamilton location is more visible and drivers must stop, but it is the lack of visibility of Barbur south of Hamilton, and the danger to cyclists and pedestrians that should be highlighted.

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      • RWL1776 December 20, 2010 at 8:49 am


        excellent points, and why is it not mentioned that she was crossing the street where there is NO CROSSWALK. She should’ve crossed the street AT Hamilton St. then used the sidewalk from there. Had she followed the rules of the road, she may be alive today.

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        • Kt December 20, 2010 at 9:38 am


          She should have gone a bit further downhill to where there are “Pedestrian crossing” signs and a safety island in the middle.

          Either way, people on foot or on bike who need to cross the street are being told to go a half mile out of their way one way, or a quarter mile or so out of their way the other way, just to cross the street. A dangerous, high-speed, poorly lit street. And that’s not right.

          Just because there is no paint does not mean there is no crosswalk!

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        • relative December 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

          RWL – I have to say, though you may have a point you are also being heartless. She would be alive today had he not been speeding and he was not involved in other activities. – respectfully her relative

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  • Perry Hunter December 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I don’t think it would be good to close it down. All we’d have then is a lot of pissed off drivers annoyed about their loss of convenience – most would not know why. This way, the message is delivered in a way that will make (at least some) of them think.

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  • Allan December 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Maybe closing down the area around the incident and narrow it to 1 lane/direction with some signs about why would do the trick.

    that way it wouldn’t be as inconvenient but still maybe get a message across

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  • michweek December 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Rather than having the vigil at the intersection (with very little space for the many who will show up), why don’t we meet at the outcropping on the west side of the road (south of the intersection) just a hundred feet from the scene of the tragedy? Its a big enough space that there is usually a christmas tree lot on it but not this year.

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    • the "other" steph December 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      We’re looking at that area and used the intersection for the nearest easily defined location.

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  • Andrew December 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Are you still nailing down a definite location? If so, I’d be happy to make a call over to Tabernacle Adventist Church to ask if we might use their parking lot, which is at the SE corner of Hamilton/Barbur and removed from the highway.

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  • Shannon December 19, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    No offense to the people that posted previous comment but I knew Angie and was one of my best friend’s foster sister. She was probably one of the most genuine and caring person I have ever met. I live in MA and wish I could be there, and if I was I would not care how pissed off people would get if the road was closed, Angie deserved that and more. If she was still here with us and same scenario happened to someone else she would definitely agree that a person who lost their life due to some one else’s bad judgment, a few pissed off commuters can deal to remember a beautiful person, and that is who Angie was and will always be! Mike, Cristina, Bob and Mr. and Mrs. Merrill I am so sorry for your loss.

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    • sam December 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I doubt many people (if any) are actually concerned with inconveniencing commuters so much as people want it to be a peaceful, respectful vigil. We can roll into a pull-out and quietly think about a lost rider, your friend Angie, for as long as we need to be there. Or we can turn it into a Critical Mass with horns blaring and us vs. them mayhem and potentially lose sight of why we rode her route in the first place. That’s how it seems to me, anyway, so please don’t think we’re putting the needs of commuters above the loss of your friend. Believe me, one or two of those commuters will be pissed off just by the sight of us.

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