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Outrage over “Pedestrian Safety Trials” PSA campaign as agencies distance themselves from it

Posted by on August 9th, 2017 at 10:49 am

Still from video, which was filmed at the Woodburn Dragstrip.

A public service ad video and safety campaign released yesterday has been met with a strong negative reaction and agencies involved in its creation want to minimize their assocation with it.

It started just hours after we published a story about the “Look First. Walk Second” campaign. The Portland Bureau of Transportation appears to have asked 3 Thirds, the Portland-based marketing agency that created the campaign, to remove all references to them from the website. When LookFirstWalkSecond.com first went live a PBOT webpage about walking safety was linked to from the bottom of every page. But later in the day those links were gone.

Asked to confirm this, PBOT Communications Director John Brady offered this statement:

“Representative Reardon [Jeff Reardon, the Oregon House representative that inspired the project] has been a very strong supporter of Vision Zero and he asked us if we would help fund the Clackamas Community College’s public service announcement. The PSA represents the vision of Clackamas Community College and the filmmakers. As just a funder, we wanted to step back and not play a central role in the campaign. We’re very grateful for Representative Reardon’s support for traffic safety.”

Here’s Facebook post from Clackamas County:

“Clackamas County did not release the video. It was provided to us. Commissioners had no role in the production of the video.”
— Tim Heider, Clackamas County Commission public affairs manager

Despite being “just a funder” (I’ve confirmed with Brady that the City of Portland spent $12,000 on the project) PBOT was listed as a partner on the project and is also listed as “Prod” — short for producer — on a still image on the campaign website.

After we published Brady’s statement, he was contacted by Lori Hall, a public information officer with Clackamas Community College (CCC). Brady then followed-up with BikePortland to say his initial statement overstated the role of Clackamas Community College. As stated on the website, CCC students were only, “placed… alongside the crew during the shoot for a hands-on learning opportunity.” Hall then emailed us to make sure we updated Brady’s statement. “The quote still states that this is a CCC video, which it is not,” Hall said, “We would like that line removed, please.”

I’ve since asked Brady from PBOT why they waited until yesterday to request removal of their link from the campaign website and whether or not PBOT endorses the content of the campaign (it seems very odd that a government agency would not want credit for something they funded). We have yet to hear back.*

Advertise with BikePortland.

The video shows a reckless driver squeal their tires and run a red light prior to running over a “drunk guy” who is legally occupying a marked crosswalk.

CCC is listed as a “presenter” of the campaign in the video credits. I asked Hall whether the college endorses its contents and have yet to hear back.

Clackamas County launched the campaign with three tweets in the past two days that included the video. They also posted the video to their Facebook page with the message, “We are promoting the importance of being a safe pedestrian. Every time you cross a street, you are entering yourself into a pedestrian safety trial.” Clackamas County is also listed as one of the campaigns presenters. We reached out to County Chair Jim Bernard to ask if he’d like to comment about the negative reactions to the video and whether or not Clackamas County endorses the campaign. Bernard was unavailable but the County’s Public Affairs Manager Tim Heider gave us this statement, which he said he was authorized by Chair Bernard:

“Clackamas County and others such as the City of Portland, contributed funding to this PSA. The video was independently produced and Clackamas County had no creative control over the project. We supported the video to show our commitment to Representative Reardon’s campaign to make our roadways and our crosswalks safer which is a message on which we can all agree.”

Heider also added one “important clarification”: “Clackamas County did not release the video,” he wrote, “It was provided to us. Commissioners had no role in the production of the video and were credited – as were other parties – for providing support.”

I asked Heider whether or not the County Commission endorses the content of the campaign and have yet to hear back.

“This video shows extreme insensitivity to the thousands of people walking or rolling who were hit by drivers even in their right of way.”
— Kristi Finney-Dunn, Oregon/SW Washington Families for Safe Streets

I’ve also reached out to the 3 Thirds marketing agency and to Represenative Jeff Reardon’s office for comment and haven’t heard from them.

Portland comedian Ted Douglass (who plays one of the sportscasters in the video) is listed as the writer of the campaign copy. I’ve asked him for comment but have yet to hear back.

Meanwhile, advocates and people who care about road safety are emailing and calling Reardon’s office to express their disapproval.

Kristi Finney-Dunn, a volunteer with Oregon/SW Washington Families for Safe Streets whose son Dustin Finney was killed by a drunk driver in 2011 while he biked on SE Division, said in a BikePortland comment that the campaign made her “livid”. “This video shows extreme insensitivity to the thousands of people walking or rolling who were hit by drivers even in their right of way,” she wrote. “Our loved ones are already lambasted unmercifully and the promotion and justification of this attitude in this way by people and governments who should know better makes me livid.”

In an email to Rep. Reardon, Portland resident Michael Andersen wrote: “Instead of reinforcing the norm that people who dare to travel their community on foot should be everywhere and always frightened for their lives, these thousands of tax dollars might have been better spent undermining the norm that it is okay to risk the lives of others because you want to get to the next red light several seconds sooner… What an embarrassment.”

Portland resident Alan Kessler wrote Rep. Reardon to say he’s, “Angry and sickened by the victim-shaming website you released today.”

The creators of this video and campaign did not consult Oregon’s walking advocacy group Oregon Walks. That group’s executive director, Noel Mickelberry, said it “completely misrepresents” the issue. In an email to BikePortland she wrote, “It shows completely legal behavior by pedestrians, and reckless driving – it shows the walk sign go ‘on’, and the ‘drunk guy’ in a perfectly legal position in the crosswalk when the car comes roaring through. It might get people’s attention, but doesn’t do anything to tackle the two largest contributors to pedestrian deaths: drunk driving, and speed. Pretty disappointing use of funds, when professional videography could go a long way in creating meaningful communication efforts around Vision Zero.”

*UPDATE, 11:27am: I heard back from PBOT Communications Director John Brady. He says they requested to be removed from the website yesterday because that’s when the site when live (which means PBOT wasn’t shown the site prior to launch). As for whether or not PBOT endorses the content of the campaign, Brady declined to give a straight answer. “I’d point to what we said yesterday. We participated as a funder and our participation doesn’t go beyond that.”

UPDATE, 12:34pm: Roger Averbeck, Co-chair of the City of Portland’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the PAC’s rep on the City’s Vision Zero Task Force, says the video is not aligned with Vision Zero goals:

“In my opinion the video obviously promotes stereotypes; leans heavily to victim blaming; is very insensitive to vulnerable road users, especially to families of victims of pedestrian crashes; and does not adequately address vehicle driver responsibility. Instead, it seems to accept illegal driver behavior as the norm that vulnerable road users must protect themselves from by solely changing pedestrian behavior. This is an unacceptable solution; promotes the “us vs them” narrative; and is not at all in alignment with Portland’s Vision Zero Plan.”

UPDATE, 8/15 at 2:30 pm: Reardon will pull down the campaign.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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115 Comments
  • Donovan Caylor August 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

    The speed in which people and organizations are attempting to distance themselves from this abomination is truely comment-worthy.

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

      backpedaling = too little too late.

      I find the lack of oversight, the blase manner in which this was funded by public monies distressing to say the least. I very much appreciate Jonathan’s work in raising this issue and in following up.
      I see heads rolling, and think it very appropriate in this case. A public apology as some have suggested here yesterday would also be appropriate.

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      • John Lascurettes August 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        They’re not even willing to admit publicly that they’re embarrassed, even though that’s the story their actions tell.

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  • MaxD August 9, 2017 at 11:04 am

    That is such a lame response from PBOT! “we just gave them $12,000, we had NOTHING to do with it” Why not just own it and apologize?

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    • rick August 9, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Humility is a rare quality.

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    • Kittens August 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      To me, its not even the fact that PBoT wasted $12k here, its that somehow they thought the underlying message was important to get out.
      That’s outrageous.

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    • Tim August 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Who were the other funders? Don’t they deserve equal heat?

      Or have I missed something?

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  • BB August 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Any and all public money used for this should be returned and earmarked for safety improvements to roads.

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  • billyjo August 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I’m confused. After seeing the video I want to know why was Noorah arrested for running over a teenager on Hawthorn? Wasn’t it her fault for not getting out of his way? Shouldn’t he be suing her family for damaging his car instead of running from the law?

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    • Teddy August 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      I do sometimes wonder how much scanning of the roadway she did before walking across Hawthorne. Regardless though she should not have died in such a horrific way.

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      • Chris I August 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Yes, one must always scan the turn lane for cars traveling 50mph+ past stopped traffic on a 25mph street. After all, cars always win. Right?

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm

          I sure as hеll do. I’ve seen that exact situation and worse a number of times over the years.

          If you spend enough time out there, you will eventually see some really crаzy stuff.

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          • Chris I August 9, 2017 at 9:18 pm

            Jesus.

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        • paikiala August 10, 2017 at 9:13 am

          Chris,
          physics, actually.
          You should also check each way every time when crossing on a green signal or with a walk signal.

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          • Chris I August 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

            Do I need to constantly scan for cars driving up onto sidewalks as well? Hundreds of pedestrians die that way each year. Frankly, I find it appalling that you are placing blame on Fallon Smart. Especially because you work for PBOT? Can you idiots install a few more refuge islands so deaths like this don’t happen again? Or are you just going to use our tax dollars to fund victim-blaming PSAs?

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      • TonyT
        TonyT August 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        It is my understanding that the car in the lane on her side stopped, she then started to cross when Noorah sped around the yielding vehicle, at an INCREDIBLY high rate of speed, striking her as she passed in front of the vehicle. One can be careful and still get taken out by someone who is operating so far out of the bounds of acceptable vehicle operation. Going through your daily life, how many people are really prepared for someone doing 90mph in a 25mph (now 20mph) zone?

        Unfortunately he’s probably showing off his mad drifting skills right now at home in Saudi Arabia.

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        • emerson August 9, 2017 at 1:38 pm

          This almost happened to me on Broadway a few months ago. I was driving in the middle lane (right-hand lane had a stopped bus a block back) and yielded to a couple of pedestrians. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a car swerve out from my lane and accelerate in the left lane to pass me. I can’t remember if my window was open (to yell), but I remember the only thing I could think to do was start to hit my horn as many times as I could while starting into their eyes. Luckily, it got the attention of the pedestrians who narrowly avoided being hit.

          It was terrifying.

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          • Chris I August 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            Shame on you for not letting those pedestrians take personal responsibility for their safety. Didn’t you watch the video?

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          • wsbob August 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

            “…I was driving in the middle lane (right-hand lane had a stopped bus a block back) and yielded to a couple of pedestrians. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a car swerve out from my lane and accelerate in the left lane to pass me. …” emerson

            That kind of danger can be posed to people crossing the street on foot, and yes…even though someone driving is stopped and waiting for them to cross, and yes…even though they may have a crosswalk light telling them their way is clear, for their own safety, they should be looking before crossing in front of them, to be certain all motor vehicles are stopped, or will stop, and will stay stopped, before crossing in front of them.

            Too many vulnerable road users seem to take it for granted, that because they have the right of way, or because someone driving is extending to them the courtesy when they may not even be legally obliged to, of allowing the person on foot, bike, skateboard, etc. And some vulnerable road users don’t seem to be thinking about the danger posed to them, at all.

            Misguided in an effort at humor as this particular PSA turned out to be, PSA’s emphasizing to people using the road as vulnerable road users, that they must take personal responsibility for their own safety in using the road, are do have a valid message they work to try get across to the public.

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            • emerson August 11, 2017 at 12:11 am

              I agree, but the PSA was in particular bad taste. And beside bad taste, the message was poorly communicated. It was someone wanting to be clever that utterly failed. Bad video, bad idea, bad all around. I don’t feel ashamed saying it’s an idea a child – something a high school student – would come up with. Some adult – a “professional” – ought to be embarrassed by the garbage they put together.

              I agree it’s important to be aware of your surrounding. Indeed, it’s kept me alive (an example of which I could discuss that happened to me a couple weeks age.)

              The culture needs to change. It’s terrible.

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    • wsbob August 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

      “I’m confused. After seeing the video I want to know why was Noorah arrested for running over a teenager on Hawthorn? Wasn’t it her fault for not getting out of his way? Shouldn’t he be suing her family for damaging his car instead of running from the law?” billyjo

      Review in brief for people reading here now that may not be familiar with that collision. Do you think your question is funny? Sounds too much like the sick humor the portlandia crew came up with for the particular PSA being discussed here.

      In that collision, Noorah, the guy driving, wasn’t just nonchalantly driving along carelessly…he was deliberately driving at a blatantly illegal and unsafe high rate of speed for that particular street. He was driving so fast, that even when a person crossing the street on foot was looking for approaching traffic, they may not have been able to see Noorah’s vehicle in time to stop.

      Contrast that with a more typical speed, say anywhere from 5 mph to 35 mph for a non-stopping vehicle for that particular street. With that rate of speed, someone crossing the street and looking before crossing in front of moving motor vehicles, likely would be able to see them in time to stop. Noorah was reported to be traveling 60 mph or more when arriving at the intersection and hitting the person crossing on foot.

      It wasn’t the “fault”, as you put it, of the person crossing the street, for not getting out of the way of Noorah’ overly fast moving vehicle. It was though, the responsibility of the person crossing, to check for approaching traffic before stepping in front of it. Maybe that happened…maybe not.

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      • emerson August 11, 2017 at 12:52 am

        A lot of people drive way too fast. Add to that distractions and we have lethal combinations.

        What is so difficult to understand? Why the excuses?

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  • glennfee August 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The disturbing fact that $12,000 apparently only represents a fraction of the overall production budget for this garbage means that a substantial number of people had the opportunity to put a halt to this. Yet, they didn’t.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

    *UPDATE, 11:27am: I heard back from PBOT Communications Director John Brady. He says they requested to be removed from the website yesterday because that’s when the site when live (which means PBOT wasn’t shown the site prior to launch). As for whether or not PBOT endorses the content of the campaign, Brady declined to give a straight answer. “I’d point to what we said yesterday. We participated as a funder and our participation doesn’t go beyond that.”

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Still doesn’t make sense to me that PBOT would fund something they (now) claim they had so little knowledge of. Can I also hit them up for $12,000 and make whatever film I want and never be expected to offer them an opportunity to review what they just funded (I mean helped fund)?

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    • Kittens August 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Thats funny, because on the About page the key pic is that of a clapperboard with PBOT prominently listed as Producer.

      And rightfully so. There is no way this garbage would have been made without their $12k

      Me thinks John Brady is taking Sean Spicer classes.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT August 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

    “I’d point to what we said yesterday. We participated as a funder and our participation doesn’t go beyond that.”

    This is NOT how one is an effective steward of tax dollars.

    Recommended Thumb up 32

  • MaxD August 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

    From the 3/thirds website:
    We PROMISE To…

    Be your expert, your advocate and your source of inspiration.
    Never settle when it comes to you.
    Be honest, open and authentic.
    Not make assumptions.
    Listen – to you, and your opinions.
    Be considerate, passionate and imaginative.
    Challenge you; to make you better.
    Keep you as involved in the creative process as you want.
    Not shy away from having the tough conversation.
    Continually nurture our relationship and always be excited by it.

    Based on their own claims, I would have expected them to jump in and have the “tough conversation”. I hope they will publicly address the content they produced or admit that they are just talent-less hacks trying for a cheap laugh (and failing).

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  • Jason VH August 9, 2017 at 11:45 am

    This campaign nails it on the head in regards to what the problem is with the entitlement associated with modern car culture.

    There should to be a cycling requirement in order to be licensed to drive a car.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • J Chris Anderson August 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    This is a great opportunity for Reardon’s political challengers to raise
    $12k

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  • MaxD August 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

    As a funder, could PBOT ask for the website to be taken down?

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  • Greg Spencer August 9, 2017 at 11:51 am

    It’s ironic that credits take up more than 50 percent of the video, and then as soon as it goes public, no one wants credit. Tells you that the whole thing was conceived and executed in a bubble, with no outside feedback. Amateurish and irresponsible.

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 11:54 am

      It was just as irresponsible on the part of all the funders-who-waived-their-right-to-review.

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      • Greg Spencer August 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        Yes. They should know better. Maybe they were star-struck by the Portlandia director?

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        • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 12:58 pm

          We pay their salaries.
          I’d think a mea-culpa-this-is-what-we’re-doing-to-prevent-this-from-happening-in-future is called for.

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        • Paul Peterson August 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          Producer, not director. I’ve worked with David on a few projects and he’s a nice guy, but probably not an expert on this topic. Curious if they had any real consulting at all on this thing. But hey, I recognize your avatar from your Budapest bike blog. Welcome!

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          • MaxD August 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

            Have you asked your friend David what he thinks of the video and the webpage? What does he think of people’s criticism?

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  • J_R August 9, 2017 at 11:57 am

    What does the PBOT Director of Communications actually do? Shouldn’t the job include making sure that the activities funded by PBOT are consistent with PBOT’s charge and message?

    PBOT has multiple spokespersons and a director. Looks like too much overhead with no accountability.

    Helping to fund the project with apparently no input into the message seems like fraud to me. It’s worse than a waste money because it sends the wrong message.

    Asking that links to PBOT be removed is the proverbial locking the barn door after the horse has left.

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  • ethan August 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    $12,000… For a video.

    Yet, there’s no money for crosswalks.

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    • Annag August 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      as an apology to the public , PDOT should get a refund and donate it to Oregon Walks etc.

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      • nuovorecord August 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

        Great idea!

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    • rick August 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      a lot of money that could have been used for street trees during this summer heat wave !

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    UPDATE, 12:34pm: Roger Averbeck, Co-chair of the City of Portland’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the PAC’s rep on the City’s Vision Zero Task Force, says the video is not aligned with Vision Zero goals:

    “In my opinion the video obviously promotes stereotypes; leans heavily to victim blaming; is very insensitive to vulnerable road users, especially to families of victims of pedestrian crashes; and does not adequately address vehicle driver responsibility. Instead, it seems to accept illegal driver behavior as the norm that vulnerable road users must protect themselves from by solely changing pedestrian behavior. This is an unacceptable solution; promotes the “us vs them” narrative; and is not at all in alignment with Portland’s Vision Zero Plan.”

    Recommended Thumb up 19

    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      “it seems to accept illegal driver behavior as the norm ”

      It doesn’t just seem like that.

      The woman with the microphone in the video said: ‘there you have it: we have a bunch of pedestrians that have no clue what they’re really up against’

      Up against… distracted drivers are given.

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    • Kittens August 9, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Great response from Roger Averbeck sums it up perfectly.

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  • B. Carfree August 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    What’s that old proverb about success having a thousand fathers but failure being an orphan. That certainly seems to apply here.

    When the video was being produced, everyone wanted credit because surely such a star producer would succeed. Now it’s paternity tests all around and no one to change the diapers.

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      excellent.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      I wondered why the credits were the way they were.

      It still works out for them. Normal people won’t know about the PSA or the controversy, so they can still claim credit as soon as the hoopla passes.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rick August 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Human life needs to win.

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  • grrlpup August 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Since PBOT more or less admits they didn’t care about the actual PSA and its content, not even to the extent of seeing it before launch, what political favor or goodwill was the $12k actually meant to buy?

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Kittens August 9, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    What is most striking to me about this video is the obviously high production values but ridiculously over-wrought premise.

    Not to mention, it is unfunny, tries WAY to hard and carries a disgusting message. Bravo!

    Also love that almost half of the 6min running time is end credits. Wow

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  • SD August 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    It is really no surprise that “vision zero” isn’t moving forward fast enough when PBOT considers someone like Reardon a strong supporter. If he is a strong supporter, he will take a stance against this video and ask that it and the website be taken down. Otherwise, I imagine that he, like many OR legislators, rarely looks at the urban environment from the other side of the windshield. And, he is hoping that drivers, who see pedestrians and cyclists as annoying unpredictable obstacles, will have his back. Instances like this are extremely frustrating, but they are useful in revealing the ignorance of the people that are supposed to be making us safer.

    This is really just another version of the bike tax; a thin veil of “good for vulnerable road users” covering a steaming pile of contempt for vulnerable road users.

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  • bikeninja August 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Maybe we can get PBOT to fund a new protected bike lane by claiming it is a safe pedestrian video. Then we can use private contractors to build the protected bike lane using money from PBOT. They clearly don’t seem to exercise any oversight with regards to where there funding goes so it should be a cakewalk.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • JR'eh August 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Dear PBOT, Please consider funding my enclosed pedestrian and traffic safety project plan. My bank routing # is at the bottom. Once my auto and concrete lobby checks clear, your investment will be returned three-fold. Kind regards. – P.T. Horschitt.

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  • Bjorn August 9, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    This article from Strong Towns today seems highly relevant. We don’t need our local governments paying for PSA’s to convince people that when drivers hurt vulnerable road users they were asking for it, that is already what most people including the cops believe: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/8/9/bike-friendly-crash-attack-sam-goater?utm_content=bufferf5d29&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      “…Let’s pause for a minute and consider a different version of this scenario: What if Sam had been driving to work ”

      = Car head.

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  • bikeninja August 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Since no one else seems to take any credit for this awful PSA, we must assume that it was created from whole cloth by the production company 3/THIRDS . If this is the kind of operation that is filling up the creative office space around town, then my worries about future traffic congestion and high rents are overblown. Once all these characters are outed as posers, empty buildings will abound and traffic will be like the 90’s once again.

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    • Alan 1.0 August 9, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      +1

      Why is no one posting the string “think3thirds.com?” Are we concerned that we don’t want think3thirds.com indexing in search engines along with the discussions under these two articles? If I was looking for an advertising agency to do a video, I’d like to see those hits.

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  • Josh G August 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Perhaps we should be contacting Representative Reardon to request the web site be taken down due to the victim blaming message of the content.

    Capitol & District Phone: 503-986-1448
    Email: Rep.JeffReardon@oregonlegislature.gov

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Josh G August 9, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      While the campaign had good intentions, is there a proverb about a road to somewhere paved with good intentions?

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      • Tim August 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

        My dad says- The road to good intentions is paved like hell.
        Seams to fit even better.

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    • Chris I August 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      I already emailed him asking which category of careless pedestrian he thought Fallon Smart fell into. No response yet.

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        • 9watts August 11, 2017 at 9:30 am

          “when he unwittingly ran a red light”

          I like how the authorities are able to conclude his state of mind from the available evidence…
          …and that his ‘unwittingness’ then becomes the all-important factor, exonerating him from any responsibility.

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          • Dan A August 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

            He apparently thought the light was green as he plowed into 4 pedestrians in the crosswalk directly in front of him at 4:51pm.

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          • Chris I August 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm

            And he got a slap on the wrist. This country disgusts me sometimes. We are the “nutjobs” for making a big deal about our sick obsession with cars and speed, but people that commit mass killing get a slap on the wrist.

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    • Chris Anderson August 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      I left a stern voice mail with my phone number, telling him the video is coming down, and suggesting he ask John Davis what happened when he tried to “start a conversation” about reflective clothing.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks Josh. I agree. I’ve emailed and left message with his office and have yet to hear back.

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      • Josh G August 9, 2017 at 5:32 pm

        You’re welcome.

        Even if an educational campaign is done without victim blaming, are you going to repeat the campaign every month forever?

        What happens when new residents move here that missed the initial campaign?

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  • joan August 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t know if this is new to the website, but there seems to be some defensiveness and backpedaling on the “About” page: https://www.lookfirstwalksecond.com/about/

    “The PSA goal: reduce pedestrian-car crashes.

    The primary goal of this PSA was to reduce pedestrian-car collisions by raising awareness about the problem and changing unsafe behaviors of today’s pedestrians.

    Led by Oregon State Representative Jeff Reardon, a coalition was formed between the Clackamas Community College, marketing agency 3/Thirds and the Portland filmmaking community to create a Pedestrian Safety campaign.

    Focus on Pedestrians

    Many similar safety campaigns have focused on distracted drivers, and while this is unquestionably a problem, the focus here was on the pedestrian. To accomplish this, the team set out to reach pedestrians with a funny, sharable and visceral message that puts crosswalk safety top-of-mind.”

    It also explains the roles of the three partners, Clackamas CC, David Cress, and 3/Thirds, in “Supporting the pedestrian safety cause of Representative Reardon.”

    So either Reardon is totally retrograde with this stuff, or 3/Thirds and writer Ted Douglass were out of their depth.

    Getting feedback from experts seems a basic part of running a PR campaign. It may be that 3/Thirds really blew it.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 9, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    UPDATE 7:00 pm: Representative Jeff Reardon has issued a statement about the campaign:

    “I am pleased that this public service ad has captured people’s attention. It is a tongue-in-cheek approach to the tragic reality of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

    My district in outer SE Portland includes four high-crash corridors, meaning the accident rate is far greater than most. That has compelled me to help address both driver and pedestrian behaviors.

    As shown in the PSA, drivers are increasingly distracted in many ways. To help educate drivers, I worked closely with the city of Portland in the 2015 legislative session and sponsored a bill to allow the use of fixed photo radar in Portland’s high-crash corridors. These have worked better than expected to make drivers aware of their speed and to observe the speed limit more closely.

    At other times, pedestrians make unwise choices and jeopardize their own safety. My team and I observed each of the activities shown in the video; we didn’t make it up. And we tried to emphasize what all of us know to be true: when accidents do occur, the outcome unfortunately always favors the car. Always.

    While we know that motorist are the leading cause of these injuries and fatalities, we also need to remember that it is the responsibility of all road users—whether you’re a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian to practice safety and awareness on our roadways.

    The PSA also had another function, which was to involve Clackamas Community College students who are studying to enter the film industry as we are seeing more opportunity for those positions in Oregon. This was a hands-on learning opportunity that involved students at nearly every stage of pre-and post-production, filming, and editing. Clackamas Community College has the raw footage of the shoot, which will allow future students to learn valuable skills to enter the industry with practical experience.

    While the vast majority of the project was volunteer-based, we still needed some funding to cover the hard costs and to be compliant with film requirements. I looked to community stakeholders for modest support as everyone involved was invested to making a difference and saving lives.

    The folks at 3/Thirds conducted field research to find the best way to creatively inform the audience of a complex problem that is difficult to convey in a single message. We found it best to heighten the situations using humor.

    If we are serious about saving lives then everyone needs to watch out for each other, be alert, and help spread the word. I don’t want to see any more families or friends suffer the devastating loss of losing a loved one.”

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    • alankessler August 9, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      “Accidents,” because of course he’s that tone deaf.

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      I think this is called digging in your heels.

      “My team and I observed each of the activities shown in the video; we didn’t make it up.”

      Yeah, but guess who ‘wins’ in your stupid video?
      Those in cars.

      I’d like to ask you how you feel this video communicates that, as you put it: “motorist[s] are the leading cause of these injuries and fatalities”?

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    • resopmok August 9, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      1.) How does a camera designed for speed enforcement help educate drivers about their responsibility to yield to red lights and pedestrians in a crosswalk?

      2.) How does a PSA targeting pedestrians educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving?

      3.) How does this PSA reflect the reality of the law, which states drivers are responsible for yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk?

      4.) Have CCC students now learned the importance of vetting a PSA funded with public money for controversy?

      5.) Why was the content not vetted through pedestrian and transportation safety advocates? Why was 3/Thirds’s field research not reviewed?

      6.) What does it mean to “heighten a situation” using humor? This is an unclear explanation at best for the choice of satire for a serious message.

      7.) Why was the decision made to focus on pedestrian behavior when it is freely admitted that driver behavior is what poses the greatest danger in this situation? A compelling reason to go against the logical flow of focus is needed here.

      Sorry Reardon, your explanation has more holes than Swiss cheese. It’s not too late to just say “Sorry, we screwed up, and we’ll do our best to fix it. We’ll begin by removing the video and website from the internet, and then produce a defensive driving PSA with a tone that is as urgent as the message of safety we wish to convey.”

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    • SD August 9, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      One clueless legislator is more dangerous than one thousand clueless pedestrians.

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    • rick August 10, 2017 at 6:51 am

      They are CRASHES, not accidents like apple pies falling off a kitchen table.

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    • John Lascurettes August 10, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Rep. Reardon, THIS is how satire is properly used in a PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeVLxcekEsw

      Note, when you get the serious part, you get serious.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

        wow, that is good.

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      • John Lascurettes August 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

        I should have noted, language is NSFW in everyone’s office without headphones.

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    • John Lascurettes August 11, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      “Furthered the dialogue”. Spoken like any number of entitled, gaslighting, privileged people.

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  • Alex Reedin August 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Here’s my email to Mr. Reardon.

    Hi Rep. Reardon!

    I’m a voter in your district (in Lents, near 100th & Foster). I was sent the video that you commissioned and am frankly appalled by it. I would also be appalled by a video that mocked people riding or driving in motor vehicles who were involved in crashes that presumably led to their horrific deaths or injuries. So many folks have had their lives and lives of their loved ones changed forever like this. I wouldn’t want any of them to see this video.

    You’re right that something needs to get through to people – but this video is not the way to do it. I greatly appreciate your sponsorship of speed camera legislation. I would have loved to see your efforts go into extensions to that. Did you know that automated cameras can enforce other dangerous behaviors, like not obeying crosswalk laws or stop signs?
    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/city-desk/blog/13068030/new-traffic-cameras-will-ticket-cars-for-endangering-pedestrians-and-bikers-blocking-intersections

    I know you, your creative team, and the CCC students were trying for the best. However, it just didn’t work out that way. There’s something fundamentally disrespectful about this video to the families of traffic victims – too many of which live in your district – and I think it should be taken down.

    Best,
    Alex

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    • Seth D. Alford August 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Would you consider running against Reardon, since you are in his district? The earliest you can file, per ORS 249.037 and https://www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/649272, is September 7 of this year.

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      • Alex Reedin August 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

        I’m not willing to, but we have two potential challengers on the left to our state Senator. Does anyone know anything else about Reardon? I surfed the Oregonian bill votes for a little while and didn’t come up with anything remarkably bad.

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        • Alex Reedin August 10, 2017 at 7:37 pm

          (If he is more of a centrist/status quo guy I could see one of the potential State Senator challengers moving to oppose Reardon, and I’d get in touch with them to that effect.

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    • Seth D. Alford August 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      And if Alex isn’t willing, here’s a link to a map of District 48: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/reardon/Pages/map.aspx

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  • drew August 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    “We found it best to heighten the situations using humor.”

    not humorous to me Mr Reardon. Your logic implies we should start telling hikers to get the hell out of the way of mountain bikers flying down hiking trails. With massive kinetic energy comes greater responsibility in out public spaces. Think about it.

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  • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    “As shown in the PSA, drivers are increasingly distracted in many ways. To help educate drivers, I worked closely with the city of Portland in the 2015 legislative session and sponsored a bill to allow the use of fixed photo radar in Portland’s high-crash corridors. These have worked better than expected to make drivers aware of their speed and to observe the speed limit more closely.”

    This makes exactly no sense. Distraction is a pervasive problem, so we’ll crack down on speeding…?

    “At other times, pedestrians make unwise choices and jeopardize their own safety. […]when accidents do occur, the outcome unfortunately always favors the car. Always.”

    So you set up a ridiculous scenario… on a racetrack… which surely emphasizes exactly the kind of speeding you say you are trying to penalize to show that PHYSICS wins… ?!

    I feel dirty even dissecting this.
    Why can’t we trouble ourselves to come up with meaningful, pedagogically valid scenarios that cut to the chase, clarify the problem, instead of demeaning and frankly disturbingly juvenile attempts at humor?

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  • SD August 9, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    On the bright side: If I kill someone with my car, I won! Come to think of it, this is pretty accurate. How else do you get to kill or injure somebody without being punished by society?

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    • rick August 10, 2017 at 6:52 am

      cutting down a tree? i don’t have any suggestions, really.

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    • Chris I August 10, 2017 at 7:37 am

      If you do it as a corporation (and corporations are people now). Or if you do it as a cop and there are no witnesses.

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  • Seth D. Alford August 10, 2017 at 12:41 am

    This is one more reason why we need a pro-bicycle 501(c)(4) advocacy group. In this case, that group would be used to funnel campaign contributions to Reardon’s primary opponent.

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    • Alex Reedin August 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

      The best avenue for that already exists: Bike, Walk, Vote. They’re a PAC, which is allowed to funnel campaign contributions. As I understand it, a 501c(4) can do candidate-based political campaigning itself, but can’t give its money to political opponents or supporters.

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      • Seth D. Alford August 10, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        I tried googling for them before I wrote my post. I didn’t list the keywords in the right order, so their facebook page didn’t pop up. The last posting on their facebook page was September, 2016. Have they gone dormant again?

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  • Clarence Eckerson August 10, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Running time 6:24. Actual film: 3:11. End credits: 3:13. How much money did they spend on this crap?

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  • Clarence Eckerson August 10, 2017 at 8:27 am

    I’ve NEVER seen a film-to-credits ratio like that in any short film in my life!!!

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    • rick August 10, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Welcome to a state that doesn’t have any car factories, but goes to the moon to say car accidents are not crashes.

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    • Paul Atkinson August 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      I have.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-wUdetAAlY

      (SFW, if you were worried, and 1:32 total time.)

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  • nuovorecord August 10, 2017 at 8:54 am

    The more I think about this video, the more pissed I get. This is akin to the NRA putting out a video tsk tsking the Sandy Hook students for not wearing kevlar vests. “Because bullets always win.”

    I hope someone is mounting a primary challenge to Reardon.

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  • paikiala August 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Better users of the public rights of way is one tenet of Vision Zero.
    Though it seems to me that if you wanted this outcome, focusing on those that pose the greatest danger would provide the greatest benefit. And as a legislator, a new law to require all motor vehicle operators to pass a written and driving test at least every four years, would be the true Vision Zero place to start.

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  • billyjo August 10, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Let’s create a PSA that picks up where this one leaves off. The driver of that shiny car that ran a red light and hit a pedestrian is being taken away in handcuffs, the pedestrian’s family takes possession of that shiny car and his house. His wife leaves him and then there can be a scene of him after spending many years in prison for manslaughter, crossing in a marked crosswalk and getting run down by a driver just like himself.

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    • Clarence Eckerson August 10, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Now that right there is a golden idea. Wish I was in PDX to film it. What might be cool is just do a sort of reporter news thing like 90 seconds long, show a bit of the video in this horrible “PSA” in it. That way it’d be cheap and fast. I could probably write that in 10 minutes. LOL!

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    • Tim August 10, 2017 at 11:02 am

      I will fund that!

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth August 10, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I’ve seen many great PSA videos promoting safe driving and safe pedestrian behavior, not many in this country however. What is common to all great road safety PSA videos is that they highlight the importance of all road users obeying the law. So, when I was a kid we had Hector the Cat showing us how to cross the street (in Australia) “Look to the left, look to the right, look to the left again.” That PSA video would show a car driving at or below the posted speed limit, the pedestrian waiting for the car to stop, then crossing the street. Good PSA videos are professionally produced in close consultation with the sponsoring organization to ensure that inappropriate messages are not sent. Then they would screen them to test audiences to ensure that nothing gets overlooked.

    The video that we are discussing is a perfect model for how not to produce a PSA. Don’t throw cash at someone and hope they do a good job – make sure they do a good job. If you want to be credited as a producer, make sure you’re part of the production team.

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  • X August 10, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Ok, the PSA was simple minded at best, but there’s a useful message in there somewhere: MV operators are often unreliable. As a lifetime pedestrian, I score that True. And a corollary: Sometimes pedestrians behave, I don’t know, strangely? As a frequent vehicle user I find that also True.

    The crawfishing by PDOT makes me embarrassed for humanity. The pearl-clutching in these comments makes me wonder why I read them.

    (_nobody_ thinks Fallon was to blame)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

    UPDATE: Here’s the statement just sent to me by 3Thirds, the marketing agency that created the campaign:

    3/Thirds was approached to creatively support the development of a PSA to raise awareness around pedestrian safety in our Portland community. This effort was done in collaboration with Representative Jeff Reardon, Clackamas Community College (CCC) and Portlandia Producer David Cress. The original intention was to use Representative Reardon’s safety initiative as the subject matter for a real-world video production experience for CCC students.

    Pedestrian and driver safely is a complex issue. It is a great challenge to address all angles and related components in a brief and effective PSA spot. 3/Thirds was honored to volunteer our team’s time and resources to support awareness around this extremely important and sensitive topic.

    3/Third’s primary role was to lead the concept and script development of a PSA that focused on pedestrian behavior and safety. Our team studied existing research, local and national safety sources and conducted our own observations along key “High Crash Corridors” in Portland.

    During our observations, we witnessed many pedestrians walking “safely” however we were quickly alarmed to also witness several “unsafe” pedestrian habits where individuals made assumptions about drivers and inadvertently put themselves at increased risk. These observations created a foundation for our scripted “characters” and the most commonly witnessed yet “avoidable” behaviors were elected to be parodied in the PSA. 3/Thirds does not believe that the characters selected represent the pedestrian population as a whole.

    For the PSA, the characters and “crossing” situation were both greatly exaggerated in an effort to remove the story from the norm of the real world and place it into an outrageously unreal scenario…one in which people obviously would not take such actions. With only seconds to make a point of a very complex issue, we opted for this bold exaggerated approach.

    The scenarios are not real. They were not intended to replicate any real situations or diminish the horrific real-life incidents that have taken place in our community.

    We fully acknowledge this is a sensitive and emotional topic. The challenge we faced was to shine a light on a piece of this issue, to get viewer attention and hold it long enough to create awareness and ultimately change behavior. We apologize to the individuals that were offended by our effort to shine a light on pedestrian safety in a bold way. We understand that the shock of the PSA has negatively resonated with some individuals and groups that have been affected by pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle accidents.

    While we are disappointed that we have offended some people with our effort to raise awareness, we are pleased that it is furthering the dialogue needed to help improve our community safety.


    ERIKA ROCKNEY / DIRECTOR OF CLIENT SERVICES
    3/THIRDS

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    • Paul Atkinson August 11, 2017 at 11:10 am

      *sigh*

      Okay, look, video maker. You tried to be funny and edgy, and you failed terribly. So instead of defending your unfunny destructive product please try to learn something.

      There are two lessons I’d focus on.

      First: if you’re trying to make a PSA to improve road safety the first step isn’t to point to one group and say, “we’ll target them.” It’s to do some research to determine what group’s decisions are doing the most damage, and target that group. You skipped this part of your research entirely; even a quick Google search would have uncovered NHTSA research showing behaviors that cause road deaths and, surprise, the group most commonly at fault is not “pedestrians.” So focusing your PSA on them is misguided to begin with.

      Second: if you have decided to focus on pedestrians doing things that raise their risk level you could easily have shown situations where the pedestrian is *actually at fault.* If someone isn’t watching and steps from behind a sign post, or a bus shelter, or whatever, into the roadway when cars are proceeding legally and an attentive driver slams on the brakes but can’t stop in time — sure, that’s a situation where the pedestrian is at fault *and it does nothing to normalize or excuse poor driver behavior.*

      But what you did is to show a situation where the driver is 100% at fault and blame the pedestrian.

      Victim blaming is as easy and meaningless as any other tautology. I mean, look at all the people who have ever been hurt in traffic, or at home, or anywhere, and the one thing the all have in common — 100%, with exactly zero exceptions — is that they weren’t careful enough not to get hurt. If you start with that then you can always blame the victim.

      “But we’re all responsible for our own safety” does not cover what you’ve shown. Replace the comical pedestrian with a blind person who just listens for the chirp and then walks, and then tell me it’s the pedestrian’s fault. If you can’t, if that doesn’t work, then the pedestrian isn’t at fault for being sighted. What you’ve missed is that we can each decide what risk to accept, but we have a societal responsibility not to endanger others — and if you’re making a PSA, that’s where you have any moral authority. I can go rock climbing, skydiving, running with the freaking bulls in Pamplona, or cross on a green signal…those are all legal and doing them is my choice. But you don’t get to cut my ropes, slash my parachute, trip me underneath a bull, or run over a person in a crosswalk.

      Instead of defending this excremental effort, please try to learn and do better next time.

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    • grrlpup August 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      “honored to volunteer our team’s time and resources”… so this is apparently not where PBOT’s $12,000 went. I wonder what it was spent on.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

        well i know that someone has done a public records request to find more about PBOT and Reardon on this and we’ll share anything that comes out of it.

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    • Dan A August 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      “We apologize to the individuals that were offended by our effort to shine a light on pedestrian safety in a bold way.”

      That is not an apology.

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  • El Biciclero August 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    “…we are pleased that it is furthering the dialogue needed to help improve our community safety.”

    “I am pleased that this public service ad has captured people’s attention.”

    Just trying to start a conversation, eh? Is this like punching someone in the face just to say “whassup!!?”

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    • X August 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      No. That’s violence. This is speech.

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  • Joe Hand August 12, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    PBOT is still in title over at vimeo: https://vimeo.com/218542389

    I’m reporting the video at Vimeo as a violation of their guidelines. I’d recommend others do that as well.

    > No videos that are hateful, harass others, violate someone’s privacy, or include defamatory or discriminatory speech.

    > No videos that depict or promote violent activity, extreme or real-life violence, self-harm, or cruelty toward animals.

    > No videos that “Depicts unlawful acts or extreme violence”

    Reporting information here: https://help.vimeo.com/hc/en-us/articles/224969908. However, there is no “flag” on the video (which seems to mean it was approved). So I’ll be contacting them to report it.

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    • Joe Hand August 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      (update) You can report the video if you login to Vimeo

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