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Man dies after being struck while bicycling on SW Multnomah

Looking east on 6300 block of SW Multnomah.

There was a fatal collision on SW Multnomah Blvd today that involved a person who was riding a bicycle.

According to the Portland Police Bureau the collision happened at 4:00 pm on the 6300 block of Multnomah — just a few tenths of a mile east of where it splits with Garden Home. Both the bicycle rider and the automobile driver were going east prior to the collision.

The police have not released many details, but they have said that, “Investigators believe that impairment may be a factor in this crash.” The police didn’t say which of the two parties in the collision is suspected of being impaired*. However it appears to be the person driving because the police statement also says, “Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs injure and kill thousands of people every year. People consuming alcohol or drugs are urged not to get behind the wheel and should have a sober driver or utilize taxis, rideshare companies, or transit so everyone is safe on our streets.”

This section of SW Multnomah is a key east-west connector in southwest Portland. Unfortunately it is also a well-known danger spot. People tend to drive relatively fast (speed limits are 35 and 40 in the area) for a road with just one standard lane and a bike lane in each direction. The road and the bike lanes are narrow and the bicycling space is not buffered in any way from the driving space.

I rode this exact spot on Multnomah back in February 2015 during SW Portland Week. “This stretch between 69th and Capitol Hwy,” I wrote, “really needs a buffer and some sort of protection.”

This is the second fatal collision involving a bicycle rider this year. There have been 22 fatal traffic crashes overall in 2016.

We’ll update this post as we learn more. Please contact us if you have any information.

KGW-TV reporter Maggie Vespa was at the scene and shared a few interesting tweets:

UPDATE, 5/31 at 6:40 am: The police have arrested 61-year-old Willard Tow on charges of DUII, Manslaughter I, Manslaughter II and Reckless Driving. Here’s the latest statement:

Investigators believe both Mr. Tow and the victim were headed eastbound on Multnomah when Mr. Tow struck the victim from behind at a high rate of speed. It appears that both intoxication and speed played a factor in this crash.

UPDATE, 5/31 at 8:50 am: The police have identified the victim as 77-year-old Andrzej Kurkowski.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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