Saying that traffic injuries like the ones that are common on Powell Boulevard “inexcusable and unnecessary” outside the doors of Cleveland High School, the father of two Cleveland students is organizing a protest of the speed-oriented urban highway during Monday’s rush hour.
A collision Sunday involving a pickup truck and a bicycle severed a young man’s leg. Police said the truck had been northbound on 26th and turned left onto Powell in front of two people heading southbound on bicycles.
Dan Kaufman described Monday’s event as a “super-legal slow-down,” in which people deliberately move slowly on a street in order to call attention to the fact that high speeds, and roads designed to encourage them, are inappropriate in an urban context.
According to the online map of traffic injuries since 2004 created for the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero campaign, 1,018 people were injured on Powell between 7th Avenue and Cesar Chavez Boulevard from 2004 to 2013, the vast majority of them in cars. Seven people died: two people in cars and five people walking.
Kaufman, a longtime local livable streets advocate, started organizing the event on Sunday after learning about the collision, which remains under investigation. Here’s his description of the event on Facebook:
Another inexcusable and unnecessary casualty has occurred on Powell Blvd. This time, a man has lost his leg and is in danger of dying. Other deaths and injuries occur on our inter-urban highway on a daily basis.
26th and Powell is a particularly dangerous stretch of Hwy 26 that runs in front of Cleveland High School (where my children attend), Powell Park, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Burgerville 25th & Powell, and many other shops and residences.
Join us for a super-legal slow-down of this intersection at afternoon rush hour.
Take a slow tour on foot, bike, automobile, or skates. Bring your friends, neighbors, family, and signs. Let ODOT know that we will no longer tolerate this kind of carnage and we demand immediate street-repair that puts human lives and safety first.
Let us continue this these protests at any/all ODOT Neighborhood Highways until we are satisfied that ODOT puts safety far and above speed and throughput on our streets.
The event is listed for 4 p.m. at Cleveland High School, 3400 SE 26th Ave.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.