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Rep Jeff Reardon says he’ll ‘shut down’ misguided PSA campaign

Posted by on August 15th, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Oregon Representative Jeff Reardon says he is pulling down the “Look First, Walk Second” traffic safety campaign he commissioned and launched last week.

Here’s the statement he just posted to his Facebook page:

Working with students from Clackamas Community College and several other community groups, we crafted a public service announcement designed to catch people’s attention. It did – but for the wrong reasons, particularly after the hateful, racist attack on protesters in Virginia.

Critics of the PSA drew similarities between the fictional scene in the ad and the too-real violence in Charlottesville. That is why I have decided to temporarily shut down the public awareness campaign. We will be working with advocates to see how we can more effectively get the intent of the PSA across in the future.

One of the points we tried to make in the ad is that none of us are perfect. People make mistakes. Drivers and pedestrians all need to watch for someone making a mistake on the road – a driver who turns to check on a crying child in the back seat; a pedestrian who gets confused and walks into an intersection against a red light; a person using the road who has chosen to endanger others by having too much to drink before traveling. People make mistakes. That’s true on the road, and that’s true in life. I look forward to working with community partners to find other ways to tell the message that inspire all road users to do their part to avoid any more traffic tragedies.

Sincerely,
Jeff Reardon
Representative, House District 48
Rep.jeffreardon@oregonlegislature.gov

Advertise with BikePortland.

Reardon has faced increasing pressure to end the campaign since it launched one week ago.

On Friday we published an editorial calling for the campaign to be taken down. The campaign was also strongly criticized by victims and survivors of traffic crashes and The Street Trust. Yesterday Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said the Bureau of Transportation (which he oversees) would not promote or use the video or campaign in any way despite their $12,000 investment in its creation. Saltzman also said he supports those who want it to be taken down.

As of right now, the campaign website and video are still online (update: a staffer with Reardon’s office says it’s in the process of being taken down). We hope Reardon keeps his word and takes the video and campaign down immediately. No amount of “working with community partners” will make a video that portrays illegal driving and the willful killing of another road user acceptable.

Thank you to everyone who commented, called, and emailed with your concerns over this ill-advised campaign.

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

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41 Comments
  • Donovan Caylor August 15, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I mean, great that he is FINALLY making the right decision and all, it’s just too bad that it took a highly publicised terrorist attack involving an automobile to motivate him to do so.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • 9watts August 15, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Took #45 a few days to force himself to criticize what happened in Charlottesville, too. Both Reardon and *rump equivocated in their statements, and are trying to have it both ways.

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  • rick August 15, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Crash, not accident. Turning the tide.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Kyle Banerjee August 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Even if it involves only a solo cyclist? I thought we were always blameless — must’ve been the roads…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • TonyT
        TonyT August 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        Yes, crash not accident. I’ve always described my two bad wrecks as wrecks or crashes. Neither term ascribe blame. They’re simply more neutral than accident which goes a long way to absolve the participants. And in both of those crashes of mine, even the one involving an animal running in front of me, I would still say crash. Perhaps it’s my background in machine shops where trying to weasel out of culpability by crying accident would have you run out on a rail.

        “I thought we were always blameless – must’ve been the roads. . .”

        Are you even interested in an honest conversation anymore or has this whole thing made you so mad that hyperbole and strawmen are all you can manage?

        And from another one of your comments:

        “the campaign has taken on a life of its own that undermines productive discussion and overshadows any positive message in concerns people raised.”

        Please see the first quote of yours. Physician heal thyself.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Austin August 15, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Interesting his example for distracted driving is a loving parent checking on a crying child and not, you know, someone texting…

    I feel like when I see people drifting around across lanes, driving in odd ways, etc I usually end up seeing them staring at a phone and not calming a kid.

    Recommended Thumb up 27

  • TonyT
    TonyT August 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    So because something that resembled one of the scenarios in the video actually happened, he’ll suspend the campaign.

    I’ve got news for you Mr. Reardon, the various scenarios of sociopathic driving and killing depicted in your video happens every freakin’ day.

    Methinks that Rep. Reardon latched onto this terrorist attack as a convenient exit opportunity for this PR disaster.

    Recommended Thumb up 27

  • Huey Lewis August 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Hey, it’s cool though when an elected official can walk back from something when an error has been made and not kick and scream and attack and tweet while doing so.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Chris I August 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I love that this is the standard now. We are doomed.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • John Mulvey August 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Jeff Reardon’s a good guy. He made an error in judgment.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • buildwithjoe August 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      John, You say he made “an” error. Really, Just one error?

      Hundreds of users have pointed out the dozens of errors in this scandal over the last 7 days. The biggest error was digging in deeper and ignoring the first warning from the 4 big non profits who are actually making huge progress to fix pedestrian safety.

      To help people like John understand the multiple levels of abuse in this video I’ve created a google doc that lists the best quotes from mom’s of victims and leaders in the Vision Zero Movement. Please read this google doc John

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wsbmeHcu2RH-cZqFGgylKi_IaRRSWIBdHCakStBqoFg/edit

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Buzz August 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        Check his voting record, he probably also voted for the transportation bill including the freeway expansions and bicycle excise tax, without a qualm or a peep.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • bikeninja August 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Don’t mess with Bike Portland

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      I just did what I always do. Except this time I asked you all for help.

      Truth is: Don’t mess with Bike Portland readers.

      Recommended Thumb up 24

      • Stephan August 16, 2017 at 5:37 am

        And thank you for striking the right time tone here just as you did with Brown’s veto threat! Both issues demanded appropriate but different responses and you did just that — kudos!

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • I wear many hats August 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        Thank you Jonathan for lighting the advocacy fire!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Racer X August 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    The PSA is now “off line”. Posting the full text for posterity…

    ——-

    LOOK FIRST. WALK SECOND.

    This site has been taken down due to concerns in the community.

    Working with students from Clackamas Community College and several other community groups, we crafted a public service announcement designed to catch people’s attention. It did – but for the wrong reasons, particularly after the hateful, racist attack on protesters in Virginia.

    Critics of the PSA drew similarities between the fictional scene in the ad and the too-real violence in Charlottesville. That is why I have decided to temporarily shut down the public awareness campaign. We will be working with advocates to see how we can more effectively get the intent of the PSA across in the future.

    One of the points we tried to make in the ad is that none of us are perfect. People make mistakes. Drivers and pedestrians all need to watch for someone making a mistake on the road – a driver who turns to check on a crying child in the back seat; a pedestrian who gets confused and walks into an intersection against a red light; a person using the road who has chosen to endanger others by having too much to drink before traveling. People make mistakes. That’s true on the road, and that’s true in life. I look forward to working with community partners to find other ways to tell the message that inspire all road users to do their part to avoid any more traffic tragedies.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Reardon
    Representative, House District 48
    Rep.jeffreardon@oregonlegislature.gov

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • 9watts August 15, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I wonder if a case could be made for demanding the public money that went into this now-disgraced ad be refunded?

    Not to mention that Saltzman says PBOT didn’t get any opportunity to view the video before it was published, which I would imagine is a violation of the typical terms of public contracts I’ve been a party to.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • nuovorecord August 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Good for Reardon for finally doing the right thing, after all other options had been exhausted. I still think this guy needs a primary opponent. Talk about out of touch!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • buildwithjoe August 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Rep Reardon’s apology is still 1/2 baked. He said “temporarily shut down”. He made no mention of his plan to use raw footage for college film editing courses.

    He could have said:
    =========================

    I agree with the written statements of outrage from more than 4 regional groups focused on pedestrian safety. I thank everyone for their public engagement. The website and a footage will be forever deleted, and will not be used as college lesson plans.

    I offer my deepest apology for being the cause of yet more emotional grief to all victims and families/friends, and the public at large. In addition I admit a growing number of drivers use similar victim shaming to target vulnerable road users who are following the law or making mistakes. We all make mistakes. Don’t be like me. I urge all transit related projects to contact these groups before embarking on any campaign to educate vulnerable road users, as I should have directed this project. For the future you can contact these non profits or donate to their cause via these websites I’ve listed below. It will be much more effective than ongoing blogging about my errors. I made multiple mistakes and dug myself in deeper over the last 7 days. I hope a few people will still vote for me, and accept this full apology.

    Where to donate or become a more active volunteer in Vision Zero

    1)Oregon and SouthWest Washington Families for Safe Streets
    https://www.facebook.com/ORSafeStreets/ Call (503) 290-4569 to donate

    2) Donate to the Street Trust or become a member
    https://www.thestreettrust.org/support-the-street-trust/

    3)Donate to BikePortland or Subscribe as a user or business
    https://bikeportland.org/support

    4)Oregon Walks, Promoting safe and accessible walking for everyone
    http://oregonwalks.org/support/become-member

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Dan G August 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    The PSA was outrageous before before the events in Charlottesville, and it’s sickening that he’s used them to save face.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

  • SD August 15, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    What kind of information/education about Vision Zero do elected officials receive? One thing I’ve learned from this episode is that our supposed “strongest supporters” of vision zero are clueless. Is the assumption that they will figure it out on their own or intuitively understand Vision Zero?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Kyle Banerjee August 16, 2017 at 7:17 am

    So….

    ***comment deleted. Hi Kyle, I realize you weren’t being serious, but I still didn’t feel comfortable with it. I hope you understand. If not, email me and we can talk about it jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks. –Jonathan***

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • SD August 16, 2017 at 7:41 am

      ***comment deleted. Hi SD, If you don’t have something nice to say, please consider saying nothing at all. Thanks. — Jonathan***

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • SD August 16, 2017 at 10:03 am

        Relative to what I was responding to and what I presumed was acceptable by your standards, my comment wasn’t “not nice.” It wasn’t flattering, but neither is deleting the post that I referred to in my comment.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • SD August 16, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        You may also consider that the pejorative “If you don’t have something nice to say, please consider saying nothing at all.” is not a standard that you follow, as evidenced by you coverage of Reardon et al.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Adam
          Adam August 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm

          Jonathan seems to like to tone police commenters here, while allowing certain right-wingers to rant about Obamacare, immigrants, etc. as an “alternative viewpoint” that we must withstand.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Kyle Banerjee August 16, 2017 at 9:15 am

      I’m fine but the campaign has taken on a life of its own that undermines productive discussion and overshadows any positive message in concerns people raised.

      The unrelenting pillorying and efforts to force words out of anyone are too reminiscent of the Stalinist show trials for my tastes and cannot lead anywhere but greater division and further marginalization of the groups people here are trying to help.

      Philosophical issues aside, such brute force tactics are doomed to failure as the forces people are trying to take on is larger and stronger by an order of magnitude.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Kyle Banerjee August 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

        p.s. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t get to see SD’s comment — I assume it was an objection to mine.

        SD, I’m the world’s easiest person to contact — feel free to send it to me directly.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matthew in Portsmouth August 16, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I think that having road user education campaigns using video footage is, generally, a good idea. However, they need to be well thought out and deliver a clear and unambiguous message that is in line with state law, and public policy. State and local law enforcement also need to step up to the plate to enforce those laws in a consistent and comprehensive manner and to put policy into practice. Law enforcement can address:
    – Intoxicated driving
    – Speeding and other moving violations
    – Distracted driving

    ODOT, PBOT, Counties and cities need to address road designs that encourages speeding/moving violations. They also need to provide a means for people who drink or use other intoxicants to get around without driving or cycling (i.e. decent public transit).

    If we want to achieve Vision Zero, we need to take a comprehensive approach, not a piecemeal approach.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • paikiala August 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Am I wrong that Tri-Met is a Metro service, not city, state or county?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam
        Adam August 16, 2017 at 3:43 pm

        Yes, you are wrong. TriMet is its own agency, not under Metro.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Takethelane August 17, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Reardon’s response speaks to me. The most effective way to reduce collisions is to make people aware of the scenario’s in which they may occur. Individuals can then make thoughtful decisions on how to behave “on the road” to protect themselves and others. I would argue that a collision can have as profound an effect on the culpable party as the “victimized” party. Prisons not only exist to keep dangerous people out of society, they are a place for people to reflect on their mistakes and attempt to make amends for those mistakes (perhaps find a way to help others from making the same mistake). I think we would all agree that it would be better for all involved if the “mistake” was not made in the first place. We’re all in this together.
    Be aware. Take Care. Every split second counts when you are on the road.

    PS: Perhaps those who would criticize the video could come up with their own creation.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Chris I August 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

      I’m still waiting for my $12,000 check from PBOT.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • El Biciclero August 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    “Drivers and pedestrians all need to watch for someone making a mistake on the road – a driver who turns to check on a crying child in the back seat; a pedestrian who gets confused and walks into an intersection against a red light; a person using the road who has chosen to endanger others by having too much to drink before traveling. People make mistakes.”

    This is really interesting. None of the mistakes mentioned here as examples against which Reardon thinks road users should be warned, were even hinted at in the actual video. None of the drivers were comforting their poor, distressed children, and none of the pedestrians was billed as “confused”, and certainly the pedestrian at the end did not walk into an intersection against a red light. None of the drivers was depicted as drunk, and the one participant who was portrayed as drunk only “endangered” (by legally crossing the road with a WALK signal) himself, not “others”.

    Yes, people make mistakes, but drivers have a much, much higher obligation to watch for the mistakes of others—even if pedestrians have a much greater motivation to watch for the mistakes of drivers. As has been linked to by others, here is a much better approach to educating road users about “mistakes”. It doesn’t even involve pedestrians.

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