(Image: Google Street View)
Portland has some of the safest streets in the country, and in general, they’ve been getting safer as our use of cars has continued to decline — not just for people on bikes but those on feet and cars, too.
It’s often said that cars are the only form of transportation that will ever be popular in East Portland. That’s debatable, since one in three East Portland renters already lives without a car. But when the street you need to travel on looks like these, is it any wonder that few choose to bike or walk, even to reach a bus or train?
When police release the people driving the fatal vehicles without a citation or arrest, as they did in many of these cases, they’re saying (rightly or wrongly) that many other people would have made the same choice given the situation on the street.
What’s often forgotten is that by forgiving the driver, police are essentially indicting the street.
Here’s a look at 10 local streets that need to be brought to justice.
Jan. 29 – Heather Fitzsimmons, 29
Northeast Glisan and 78th
Fitzsimmons was struck by someone driving a Chevy Blazer while tried to cross Northeast Glisan at 78th Avenue in a crosswalk. This summer, the city narrowed this road to three travel lanes, plus parking on each side.
Feb. 14 – Tommy Gann, 56
Southeast Holgate and 14th
Gann was crossing Holgate diagonally, headed from his apartment to get a cup of coffee, when he was struck. The driver fled the scene and doesn’t seem to have been apprehended. (Police named the suspect as Victorio Nogueda-Berrera, 57.)
Feb. 28 – Morgan Maynard-Cook, 5
Southeast 136th Avenue at Harold
Cook was walking home with a 13-year-old friend. Someone driving northbound yielded to them as they crossed 136th in front of their home, and Cook hurried across the street where she was killed by another person who did not yield.
April 13 – Brian Francis Kenny, 62
Southeast Division and 142nd
Kenny was walking near a crosswalk when someone driving a car struck and killed him.
July 9 – Renee Jean Bates, 43
Southeast 148th and Division
Bates, 43, was walking through a crosswalk with her husband when a school bus operator turned her bus right in a right-turn-only lane and ran into them, killing her.
Oct. 4 – Joseph Randall Stone, 25
SE Division and 156th
Stone was hit by someone driving an SUV while crossing Division at a marked crosswalk.
Nov. 15 – Richard Carl Rode, 49
Interstate 5 at Rose Quarter
Rode, who was homeless at the time of his death, was walking across the freeway when he was struck by a southbound motor vehicle operator.
Nov. 19 – Rochelle Ariana Riffe, 23
Southeast 111th near Harold
Riffe was walking along the west side of the street when someone driving a Subaru Legacy struck her from behind.
Dec. 13 – Valentine Khubeyeva, 70
13300 block of Southeast Powell
Khubeyeva was struck by the driver of a GMC Yukon while crossing Powell midblock from south to north.
Dec. 17 – Vijay Dalton-Gibson, 59
Northeast 117th and Glisan
Dalton-Gibson was walking her dog in a marked crosswalk across Glisan at the time she was hit by a westbound car.
In many ways, Portland’s streets do continue to improve. Look for another post in the next few days that explores this. But as we gather with our loved ones for the holidays, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the work of fixing Portland’s still-deadly streets is finished.
And let’s hope our leaders don’t, either.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.