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Tualatin-Valley Hwy claimed two more lives yesterday

Posted by on October 2nd, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Photo from crash scene where a man was hit by an SUV operator as he tried to walk across TV Highway yesterday.
(Beaverton PD)

One of our region’s most dangerous urban highways claimed two more victims in separate crashes yesterday.

At 3:28 am, the Beaverton Police Department says 28-year-old Uriel Santiago-Sarabia tried to walk southbound across Tualatin-Valley Highway west of 160th when he was involved in a collision with someone driving a Cadillac Escalade. After the initial collision, Mr. Santiago-Sarabia was then hit by two other drivers. The initial person who made contact with him stayed at the scene to help and police are still looking for drivers of the other two vehicles, thought to be a large truck and a sedan.

Photo of crash scene where Jim McGauvran was hit and killed.

Then at 9:15 pm, 28-year-old Jim McGauvran was hit while biking on TV Highway just east of SW 331st Avenue. According to a Washington County Sheriff statement, McGauvran was, “riding a BMX bicycle in the middle of the roadway” prior to being struck by a 55-year-old man who was driving a Jeep. The Sheriff’s office also states that McGauvran wasn’t wearing a helmet and that his bicycle was not equipped with lights (note: Oregon law does not require adults to wear helmets). McGauvran was transported to the hospital in critical condition and he died several hours later.

No citations were issued in either of these collisions.

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Wide and straight: the classic profile of a deadly highway.

TV Highway (Oregon Route 8) is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation and serves as a critical link to everyday destinations for people who live and work in the 16-mile stretch between Beaverton and Forest Grove. Unfortunately it’s also a well-known to safety advocates and planners as a danger zone. According to ODOT crash data (reported in Metro’s 2018 Regional Transportation Safety Strategy) there were 55 serious crashes on the eight-mile section between Cedar Hills Blvd and Canyon Road between 2010 and 2014, making it one of the top “High Injury Corridors” in the region.

In 2014 The Street Trust (then the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) made a safer TV Highway one of their five top priorities. They hired a Washington County-based staffer, Lisa Frank, who organized residents along the corridor to speak up for a project that would bring combination of protected bike lanes or off-street trail segments.

The Street Trust’s campaign for TV Highway seems to have ended in June 2016 when Frank left the organization (the link goes to a 404 error page). According to a blog post, Frank said their campaign resulted in, “multiple pedestrian crossings throughout the corridor, better bikeways, and sidewalk improvements.” Progress has also been made on a future rails-to-trails project that parallels the highway between Hillsboro, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Banks.

Reached today for comment, The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler said, “These are terrible tragedies. We strongly believe these deaths were not inevitable and TV Highway must be redesigned to protect vulnerable road users.” Detweiler also directed me to Washington County’s latest effort dubbed, Moving Forward TV Highway, which she says has several goals that The Street Trust helped elevate. It’s also no coincidence that The Street Trust’s new 501(c)4 “action fund” chose to endorse a candidate for Washington County Chair — a move Detweiler said came as a direct result of their experience with advocacy in the area.

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

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15 Comments
  • Que October 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    “A person with as-of-yet undermined health issues that may have impacted his ability to operate a type of vehicle that is statistically likely to injure and kill others crashed into and killed a vulnerable road user. Toxicology is pending on the types of pharmaceutical medication he had in his system and an investigation is ongoing.”

    Fixed that for you, “Sheriff”.

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    • John Hart October 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      First of all, while “undermined” is a valid word, it’s NOT the correct word here. UNDETERMINED is the word you need.

      Second, check your calendar. June is over; it is Very Dark now at 9:15 pm. Look outside tonight and check for yourself. Riding a bicycle in the middle of the road, in the dark of night, with no lights, is just plain stupid. Stop trying to blame the driver or the vehicle – the Jeep did not cause this crash.

      For the record, I am a bicyclist and a motorist, and it aggravates me to see people in either category doing absurd and/or dangerous things.

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      • BradWagon October 2, 2018 at 4:48 pm

        If only auto’s had some type of light at the head of their vehicle to illuminate the road in front of them.

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      • John Lascurettes October 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm

        I’m assuming he was hit from behind, where it’s not a requirement to have a light (but is at minimum to have a red reflector). The police report says nothing about a rear reflector being missing (it just says “not equipped with lights).

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        • joel October 2, 2018 at 8:50 pm

          good call on the reflector. its truly unfortunate this happened. not like people in portland have reflectors normally, since bike shops dont normally put them on (an aside), BUT-

          since it is getting darker- clean those reflectors if you have them. polish your plastic rear lights with an abrasive from tap plastics so they shine bright.

          its not the law, but lets be safe.

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      • dwk October 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm

        And you just blamed the victim with no facts or information and you got printed….
        The person on the bicycle at that time was passed by probably dozens of cars, only one hit him.
        Maybe you might want to look into the driver as a first reaction….

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        • David Hampsten October 3, 2018 at 2:35 am

          There’s also a possibility that the rider had proper lights and/or reflectors, but they were destroyed in the collision, and so the officer didn’t see them.

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      • Glenn October 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm

        Your certainty about the facts of this incident is consistent with your being an eyewitness, but if that’s so, you didn’t mention it. How did the police learn the guy was riding in the middle of the road? They don’t say. We can assume they weren’t there to witness the incident, because they say they “responded” to it. And the initial flashalert went out the same night: too soon to have obtained security camera footage from neighbors; so we can assume there’s no corroboration on that front (yet). Same thing for cell-phone records. Did they look at marks on the ground or the position of the bike & the Jeep, etc.? Probably, but it doesn’t say. We know there were at least two eyewitnesses. One of them has, conveniently for your viewpoint, been rendered unable to testify. The other has a strong motive to lie to save his own ass, especially given that he has now killed someone.

        In short you really can’t blame anybody, yet, but I mean, “Stop trying to blame the driver?” He’s automatically pure as snow? I can ride down the middle of the road all night long with no lights and not get so much as a scratch. For me to die doing it, a car has to come. Driven by someone who chose to drive a car. Which is ALWAYS at my expense, as a member of the public. There are costs I bear for police, roadbuilding, pollution, climate change, the economic drag of supporting that portion of the military-industrial complex, the soul-deadening sprawl that follows a car-dependent land-use pattern, and many others. What do I get in exchange for letting this guy drive? What interest do I have in tolerating his desire to even be on the road, much less roll up behind me and threaten my safety while I’m theoretically riding down the middle of this theoretically-empty road? Is he driving the truck that has my food in it? No? Well then get the F off the road! It’s reverse-oregonlive-comment-section time!

        For this “record” were always stating things for, I don’t own a car. I bike, to get where I’m going and have been doing so for multiple decades shall we say. ahem. So people who bike and “also drive” are just “people who drive” to me, with all due respect (none) for the subtlety that they might, in some cases, have had their butt in the saddle from time to time for totally frivolous recreational reasons, in between car trips, among which transporting the bike to the start of the ride probably figures significantly. In short those people are wolves in wolves’ clothing, who say “baaa” now and then. It is, shall we say, unconvincing, and “with friends like those…”

        Judging while having few facts about a crash is a path we’ve been down many times on bikeportland.org, and now I just did it to you, oops-a-daisy. My judgment muscle is overdeveloped at this point, in accordance with the balance of benefit vs. harm I’ve accrued at the hands of such people. (Hint: mostly harm.) And yeah I’m pretty much permanently pissed-off about it. So unsurprisingly, my opinion differs.

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  • Jason H October 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    In Hillsboro’s own Trails Master Plan document from October 2015 TV Highway is described in the context of where to put a crossing of it on an extension of the Rock Creek trail as “Tualatin Valley Highway has high vehicle speeds and volumes, and limited bicycle and pedestrian improvements.” If that’s the city’s perspective you know it’s bad. Sadly this highway is lacking no matter where you might find yourself on it from Canyon Rd to Forest Grove.

    These two collisions occurred many miles apart with one in densely suburbanized Beaverton-Aloha and the other in the rural-ish stretch outside the UGB between Hillsboro and Cornelius. But what they have in common is 5 wide lanes and freeway-like engineering that encourages speed and dangerous behavior like gunning it to make the many signals and drag-racing to get back to speed when lights turn green.

    I’ve been disappointed in the stalled progress on talked-about improvements. Both on-street facilities and the RWT parallel with the train tracks. Last year when they could have set a design standard on the re-constructed section facing the massive South Hillsboro development, they instead just put the same debris-collecting narrow on-street lanes in instead of a raised cycle track or separated lane. Where is the will and push to get things done? Was it all really invested in a single person? And will any amount of deaths spur any action from ODOT?

    For anyone who has to ride out there, now that the SW Blanton connector is completed (with mixed-quality cycle track/lane hybrids) in S. Hillsboro, you can parallel the highway on Blanton/Alexander/River from SW 160th almost to downtown Hillsboro in some modicum of peace with lower vehicle volume and speed.

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  • 9watts October 2, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    “No citations were issued in either of these collisions.”

    Is anyone surprised?

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  • q October 2, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    You tell Que to “Stop trying to blame the driver or the vehicle”. What Que is doing is writing speculations in a way that makes anyone reading it feel like the driver is guilty, to show how bicycle riding victims are often treated by law enforcement staff who write reports.

    In fact, the article mentions that the Sheriff’s office stated that McGauvran wasn’t wearing a helmet and that his bicycle was not equipped with lights. As others have said, helmets and rear lights are not required, and although a front headlight is required, it would have been irrelevant if the victim was hit from behind.

    So to treat the driver similarly to how the Sheriff did, Que could have gone even further, bringing up things the vehicle or driver lacked that are not legally required but might have prevented the crash–special brakes, traction control, etc. We also don’t know if the Sheriff investigated other things about the driver or vehicle that may not have been legal–was the driver’s phone activity checked, were the headlights functioning, was the driver’s night vision good, etc.

    If official statements include that bicycle riders lack things not required by law (especially things that may not even been relevant) they should do the same in regard to drivers and vehicles.

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    • q October 2, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Meant as a reply to John Hart.

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  • rick October 3, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Horrible. TV Highway / Canyon Road needs lower speed limits. The ditch by the railroad tracks needs to filled to make for a path. The lanes shifted north to make for bus-only lanes for the approach to Murray Blvd. 3 people have died on TV / Canyon over the past 25 days.

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  • Mick O October 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

    If you are driving too fast to stop for/avoid a bicycle without flashing lights then you’re also driving too fast to avoid an animal or disabled vehicle or inanimate hazard in the travel lane. Which means you are driving too fast, period.

    There is nothing more horrifying to our society than the prospect of driving slower. We will sanction any sort of death or danger to avoid doing so, and we will condemn with righteous vitriol anyone who suggests that maybe we don’t need to drive that fast. Our society has pretty much spoken on this issue: Right to speed > Human life.

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  • Dave October 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    I wonder if there is an engineering standard for this: A minor state highway that goes through numerous towns, the towns grow until the area is a long skinny suburb of a major city–is there a volume of traffic that mandates lower speed limits, sidewalks, lighting, the things that would be expected on an arterial street through a developed urban area? I live in Vancouver (WA) and there are a number of streets that match this description, much like TV Hwy.

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