Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

15-year-old clings to life after being hit by a driver near north Portland school – UPDATED

Posted by on August 30th, 2016 at 9:28 am

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

Despite pleas from the police to slow down due to the start of the school year, there has already been a major collision and a 15-year-old boy is clinging to life.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. The Oregonian has confirmed that the boy is an incoming freshman at nearby Roosevelt High School and was headed to his first day of classes.

As you can see in the photos below, Columbia Blvd is a major industrial freight route with a wide, five-lane cross-section. And Midway is at an angled intersection. The street is so dangerous to cross and so close to a school that it has one of those walking bridges that goes up and over it (bridges that planners and engineers often see as symbolic of a failed street). The speed limit is 40 mph at this location. There’s a speed reader board a few tenths of a mile from the collision site which means that PBOT has been trying to slow speeds down in this area.

georgecrash

Advertisement

Here’s more from the PPB about the collision:

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a 15-year-old male suffering from traumatic injuries. He has been transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to potentially life-threatening injuries.

The driver stopped approximately one block away from the scene then walked back to talk with police.

Due to the severity of the teen’s injuries, the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team is responding to conduct an investigation.

All traffic on North Columbia Boulevard is closed between North Midway and Burr Avenues.

In the last few days the police have tried to warn the public to be extra careful while driving:

This crash comes just 11 days after 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed while trying to cross Hawthorne Boulevard. And on August 10th a Gresham man used his car as a weapon to kill a 19-year-old.

UPDATE, 3:46 pm: Police have just released names and more details:

The 15-year-old male injured in this morning’s crash has been identified as Bradley Fortner of North Portland.

Traffic officers learned that the driver, 28-year-old Natanael Lopez-Castillo of North Portland, was driving a gray 1993 Nissan pickup eastbound on North Columbia Boulevard when he struck Fortner in the roadway. Fortner was crossing from the southside of the street to the northside at the time of the crash. Lopez-Castillo did not exhibit any signs of impairment.

No citations have been issued and Lopez-Castillo was not arrested.

The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

262
Leave a Reply

avatar
32 Comment threads
230 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
64 Comment authors
9wattsHello, KittySancho VillaEric LeifsdadBald One Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Spiffy
Subscriber

why do we allow a 40 mph road next to a school? and why no school zone speed limit of 20 mph? this should (obviously) never have happened…

Adam
Subscriber

This is a CRISIS and there’s been nothing but silence from City Hall. Their inaction and utter indifference is killing people. Tweets to slow down does not count as Vision Zero; we need infrastructure and we need to slow down cars. City Hall needs to take a stand and LEAD by telling their constituents that their auto-mobility is not more important than people’s lives.

Will City Hall finally respond to this crisis, or will we get more silence? The blood of our children is on their hands.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Traffic enforcement is a joke, but not a funny one. There is virtually no chance of getting a citation.

According to the PPB website, the traffic division makes about 50,000 stops per year. That’s only 140 per day. Using Metro figures, there are about 10,000,000 miles driven per day in Portland, so that works out to one traffic stop per 70,000 miles driven. I can’t walk, bike or drive for 5 minutes without seeing a traffic violation. In fact, all I have to do is look out the window and watch autos roll through the stop signs on the two nearest corners. I walk four blocks to the nearest collector with a bike lane and have a hard time seeing three consecutive cars that do not drive in the bike lane where the road curves.

If citations are even issued, the fine is usually less than $300 and often reduced if people go to court.

And, of course, there’s always the excuse of “I didn’t see him” or “the sun was in my eyes.”

We need to hold drivers to a much higher standard. The bar is set so low, I think it’s a chalk line drawn on the ground. I’m sick of it.

Vision Zero appears to be just a way of spending some quality meeting time so we can claim we’re doing something about it.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Awful news. I hope he recovers.

I’m just girding myself for someone to get hit on SE 26th. All the kids from Cleveland H.S. walk down to Clinton and back, throughout the day. So much foot traffic. Everyone around here scurries like rabbits across the road, even old and infirm folks, parents with strollers. Impatient drivers of cars and trucks absolutely rule. I hear them honking at cyclists and pedestrians (and other vehicles) more and more, too.

rick
Guest
rick

40 mph speed limit by a school? epidemic.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Remember all this when it comes time to vote. Or allow the same ineffective people to continue to run the city into the ground.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Maybe instead of sending a couple of tweets warning people to drive carefully PPB should actually engage in some speed limit enforcement.

Scott Mizee
Guest

This is a tragedy. How much longer do we have to wait? What can we do to help? #visionzero #today

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

This is another awful thing. The driver stopped _a block away_? The standard of what is ‘reckless’ and ‘careless’ needs fixing (besides speed limits, enforcement, design, see above). I really feel that part of the problem is an excess of discretion in who gets prosecuted. Let a person explain in court why they caused so much pain. Let people know that carelessness means their driving privilege is, just, gone. Oh yeah, and that sweet car goes to the crusher.

I hope this kid recovers as well as may be.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cameras. Timing traps (old auto racing technology.) Extra-constitutional enforcement of all laws governing motorist behavior.

m
Guest
m

Speed limits around all schools should be 20 mph. No brainer. That said, the insurance company and lawyers for the driver will be asking why the student didn’t use the bridge.

Mark
Guest

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
they do Chris. Do you really think they have enough human resources to enforce speeds on every mile of Portland roads? Not even close.
I personally find the calls for “more enforcement” not to be the most important thing right now. Unless we put up photo cameras on every block I guess..

Jonathan, I agree that we need better designs and all of the other conditions you cite. However, many of those take a very long time to develop–years–and the here and now is when people are getting killed and injured. We cannot enforce speed limits and other violations in every mile in Portland, but enforcement can be targeted to those places where the big problems are. Right now, that’s probably in vulnerable areas near schools.

And, we can have enforcement while we work to get better design and reduce the lethal nature of too many of our streets.

m
Guest
m

To get a sense of how auto-centric our laws are, it took me about 10 seconds to find this. The driver will most certainly use this as part of their defense.
ORS 814.060
Failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing:

(1) A pedestrian commits the offense of failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing if the pedestrian crosses a roadway other than by means of a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing when a tunnel or overhead crossing serves the place where the pedestrian is crossing the roadway.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §557]

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

How about, if your car causes suffering on the order of what we have seen fit to call torture, it gets crushed and you have to sue the state in civil court (if you feel wronged?). This is regardless of who was driving the car or their mental state. If the driver is culpable that’s a separate matter.

I think a few car crushings, with live coverage, would get people’s attention in a way that the mere prospect of hurting another living being apparently does not. And that’s a very sad comment.

highrider
Guest
highrider

I live a few blocks away from here and remember a few years ago, maybe 5-10 years ago now, a woman was crossing right there with her child. Both were murdered by a speeding driver. I knew the carnage wasn’t done there yet. Crap.

Catie
Guest
Catie

Thank for for reporting on this. I dont want a single collision involving a vunerable road user to go unnoticed.

PNP
Subscriber

Unless I’ve missed it, I’m surprised nobody’s commented on infrastructure. If a street is built like a freeway, drivers will go faster. That’s just human nature behind the wheel of vehicles increasingly designed to encourage and enable greater speeds. It’s all well and good to talk about enforcement, but what really needs to change is the DOT mentality that getting cars through faster and with minimal delays is the primary goal.

I live in Beaverton, where the traffic signals are triggered by side traffic, which means that cars on the major streets, such as Murray Blvd., always seem to roll from one red light to the next. Some days, I find that supremely annoying, but it does keep traffic speeds down. Is that the right solution? No, I don’t really think so, but without that nutty light “system,” people would drive 50+ on Murray and streets like it. I live a couple of blocks off Hall Blvd., where stretches have 40 mph speed limits, which is too high for a residential area. When I drive on Hall at 40 mph, I’m passed right and left.

We all need to slow down. It’ll never happen unless we’re forced to by multiple factors, including streets that are built to encourage a slower pace.

Preaching to the choir here, I know.

SD
Subscriber

Responsible coverage from local TV news and “whatever the Oregoninan is” would go a long way as well. The time for them to capitalize off of an uninformed public that craves convenience and speed over safety and doesn’t understand the point of view of people who live/ walk/ cycle in Portland should be over. They could do a lot to clarify ROW laws and endorse safe driving practices without being “advocates.”

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

This is tragic. I feel terrible for the kid, and I hope he will recover. Columbia Blvd in this area is a pure race track. Heavy haul trucks doing 45 – 60 mph on a regular basis, 2 wide in the lanes, no ability to stop for kids or other peds. So many tailgaters on this road. I go through this area a lot, and I have only see someone using the ped bridge a few times, but frequently see pedestrians trying to cross the road, here (sometimes directly under the ped bridge), which is difficult with the speeds people drive around here. Although professional drivers are better than most private auto drivers, the truckers think they own this stretch of road and most drive that way. I would like to see truck safety inspections performed on a regular basis and make sure all these commercial guys are up to regulations, not talking on cell phones, and send a message they need to be careful through here.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Why is this so normal? I can’t tear up every time I read the news.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Its 40 mph here because of the “freight community”. People have been dying on Portland’s streets since the start of time. Nothing new to see here.

Lola Utz
Guest
Lola Utz

Yesterday I stood at 30th and Division and waited as car after car flew through the crosswalk. Finally I said “crosswalk” to a car with two teen males with their window rolled down. They slowed down appearing to allow me to cross. As I took a step towards the intersection they sped up and screamed “F*%k you!” and drove away.

As a pedestrian, I have this experience far more than it sane. Ever-increasing in the last year. It is not only negligence of drivers, it is an entitled aggression too.

My husband, as a biker, has had almost identical experiences. Seems biking and walking in Portland is now an at-your-own-risk choice. I miss Portland of 10 years ago. When people were kind and when drivers screwed up, would gesture apology instead of the middle finger.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I didn’t know Columbia Blvd was a PBOT facility???!!!

Why is it not safer? If it was ODOT, I could understand, as ODOT hates doing anything that would make a street less dangerous to anything other than something with an internal combustion engine.

But PBOT?

COME ON!!!!!!

Lola Utz
Guest
Lola Utz

I hope the community begins to talk about the various reasons why people are so negligent as drivers these days. Texting while driving should be as criminal an offense as being drunk and driving. We’re going too fast as a culture. We’re juggling 100 things and consider ourselves “good multitaskers” and we’re always irritable, rarely willing to step into accountability when we screw up. Why? We have to unplug from the box. Seriously. The internet is rewiring our brains and making us automations of our former selves. Sure, there needs to be more police (where are they anyways?) willing to arrest, not ticket, ARREST, people texting and driving or driving erratically. But the bulk of the work is the responsibility of the community. Each of us being present when we drive. Not driving when agitated, on the phone, etc. Caring more about the lives of vulnerable bikers and peds than getting to work 3 mins faster.

We have to slow down. In our own lives and as a culture. Otherwise, this will only increase.

Mike
Guest
Mike

lowering speed limits, more marked crosswalks etc will only go so far. As the dude on hawthorne demonstrated, there are certain people who rules don’t apply to. It would be awesome to have the ability to change the driving habits of everyone but I am not sure that is ever going to happen. All the infrastructure changes in the world won’t remove all car vs ped interactions. Not to sound too defeated but is it time to take defensive walking to a whole new level? By that I mean don’t ever assume a car is going to stop. Make eye contact before crossing the road. Don’t feel safe just because you are in a marked crosswalk. Just because you have the right doesn’t make it safe to cross. I know I will get skewered for my opinion but it is the way I walk and ride. I can’t change the way some idiots drive but I certainly can take actions myself to keep me and my family safe. I don’t trust the motorist in this city and though I don’t walk or ride in fear I am careful not to assume they have my safety in their best interest.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

m
…As a Roosevelt student (not George), maybe he was walking on the other side of the street. All speculation.

He could also have been crossing Midway. This is part of my extended neighborhood, and I’ve observed people driving around that corner at what seem to me to be higher than advisable speeds. The curb on the school-side of Midway is beat up and crumbling, suggesting the possibility that some folks go fast enough to hammer the curb with their wheel rims. In other words, the student might well have been doing nothing wrong with respect the state’s “sidepath” laws.

Stph

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Maybe we need to bring back public lashings and apply them to speeders and auto lawbreakers in the middle of pioneer courthouse square.

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

This is my neighborhood. This is one of our local kids just doing a normal kid thing like going to school. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family and friends.
Despite the massive Portland gentrification, this neighborhood remains primarily lower income people of color. We are not a priority to this city. However, if we ask the police to stop more drivers I fear they would start here where a $300 ticket would be financially devastating and getting to the courthouse would take at least an hour to travel back and forth.
We have been begging the police for lower speed limits here and more stop signs or speed bumps here and are told it will never happen.
I agree with the the comments that these injuries and deaths scream for a systemic change. Portland streets will only get more crowded. Let’s elect people who care about communities more than businesses. In the meantime let’s teach ourselves and our kids that the culture of driving in Portland is changing with our growing population and we can’t just assume cars will stop for us like they did in the past.
Today let’s send our love and thoughts to Bradley.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Middle of the Road guy
Thank you for not taking the “Eliminate All Cars” approach many of your readers do.
Recommended 7

I don’t know if you’re implicating me, MOTRG, but I’ll just say that my most common refrain here isn’t to eliminate all cars, but rather that PBOT and other agencies at least plan for the possibility that cars will dry up and blow away, not because some nefarious car-zapping authority took everyone’s keys away but because the conditions that gave rise to ubiquitous automobility no longer obtain.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“PBOT doesn’t have the resources”
I don’t think it has ever been about resources, but rather about priorities and imagination and spine.

As for your opinion vs. mine, I don’t think it is quite that one-dimensional. It isn’t as if the two of us were alone on this planet; there are a lot of other smart people out there who have thought about not just the prospects for rapid unwelcome change, but about our species’ special propensity to persuade ourselves that everything is going to be OK, especially when the threat is large and without precedent.

http://media.chelseagreen.com/what-we-think-about-when-we-try-not-to-think-about-global-warming/