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Police stopped 34 people during a ‘crosswalk enforcement mission’: Here’s what they got cited for

Posted by on January 25th, 2019 at 1:29 pm

East Glisan at 134th Place.

The City of Portland recently conducted one of their regularly scheduled “crosswalk enforcement missions” (a.k.a. traffic stings) on Northeast Glisan at 134th Place. Portland Police Bureau officers made about one stop every three minutes during the 90-minute mission and handed out a mix of citations and warnings for everything from careless driving to failure to wear a seatbelt.

These missions aren’t new. We’ve reported on them since 2008 (when a PBOT staffer acting as a decoy was nearly run down). As per usual, PBOT announces the location beforehand (in this case, a daunting section of Glisan that’s slated for safety updates this coming spring) and then issues a follow-up statement about how many stops where made. This time however, they shared a specific list of infractions. The list gives us a tiny window into the rampant abuse of traffic laws that happens all over our city every hour of every day.

On Wednesday, Traffic Division officers made 34 stops, issued 28 citations and gave six warnings (15 of the people stopped opted to take the driver safety education class in lieu of fines). Here’s the breakdown of violations:

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Failure to Stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian: 12 citations and 5 warnings

Failure to Carry proof of insurance: 3 citations

Passing a vehicle stopped for a crosswalk: 1citation

Driving With a Suspended License : 5 citations

Failure to wear a seatbelt: 1 warning

Driving uninsured: 2 citations

Cell phone use: 2 citations

Switched plates: 1 citation

Failure to Register Vehicle: 1 citation

Careless Driving: 1 citation

Keep in mind that the intersection of 134th Place has a marked and signed crossing that includes a median island. Imagine how many people they would have caught if this was held at a completely unmarked crosswalk.

Thankfully PBOT has changes planned for this stretch of Glisan that should improve driver behavior and make it safer to use and cross. Learn more about the upcoming project here.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

85 Comments
  • Avatar
    J_R January 25, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Part of the sentence for the offending motorist should be 1 1/2 hour stint as the “decoy pedestrian” in a subsequent enforcement action. THAT would change behavior.

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    Dan A January 25, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    So, when you’re caught driving without a license or insurance, what happens? Here’s your ticket, bye bye?

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      Q January 25, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      More like, here’s your “warning”, bye bye.

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      Tim January 25, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      You don’t get to drive it away. Either someone comes and picks it up or they tow it. Pretty similar to a DUII.

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    Chris I January 25, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    The roads around the golf course out this way are pretty nuts. People regularly go 50+mph, and rapid lane changes are common.

    Also interested to see that roughly 1/6th of the people stopped were either driving uninsured, unlicensed, or both. Terrifying.

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    SilkySlim January 25, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Geeez, epic fail of Portland’s trial period for cars.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 25, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      And we’re only half way through!

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    bikeninja January 25, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    This is a window in to the extent of the problem with the growth in dangerous motorists. The motoring public has morphed from a generally law abiding group with a few bad apples thrown in to more of a lawless pirate army . From the percentage of citations given to drivers who haven’t even reached the low bar of driving while properly licensed or insured it is not exaggerating to say that the streets have come to resemble the video game “Grand Theft Auto”. Time to pare back the number of streets these scofflaws are allowed to terrorize on and build up the ones for the non-motorized crowd.

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      Jonathan Radmacher January 28, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Seriously, as someone who bikes to work downtown every day, I see a lot more riders blowing through stop signs, running red lights, and ignoring pedestrians in sidewalks, than I see from drivers. If it’s a window into anything, it’s that on wide streets, cars tend to be less observant of things going slower than the freeway they think they’re on.

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        X January 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm

        Sorry, but as “someone who bikes to work downtown every day” I don’t believe it. It’s my belief that people on bikes and people in cars are similarly distributed with respect to obeying crosswalk laws. Also traffic lights, etc. You seem interested in the offenses of bike riders. Is that because you feel judged, as a bike rider? I see those things too but I take more notice of what’s done with cars because that’s what could kill me or my friends.

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          Jonathan Radmachet January 28, 2019 at 7:54 pm

          No Matt. I just believe that if you use the asphalt, you follow the rules. We don’t get to decide what’s deadly or dangerous. Stop at red. Green send go. Some idiot getting smashed by a car hurts everyone in the system.

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            Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 8:55 am

            How dare you demand accountability from everyone!

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    Allan Rudwick January 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I’m curious how much this sort of thing costs to do. Presumably a lot despite the income from tickets that get paid on the other end. Otherwise it seems like we would be doing a lot more of this

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 25, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      Law enforcement is not and should not be seen as a way to raise revenue. This leads to all sorts of well documented abuses.

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        AndyK January 27, 2019 at 3:22 pm

        It happens but it isn’t pretty. Linndale Ohio is the most famous one that comes to mind.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 27, 2019 at 11:45 pm

          Also, perhaps more famously, in Ferguson, MO.

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      Todd Boulanger January 25, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      Injuries and fatalities have a greater cost to society…but those line items sadly are not in the City’s Livability “P&L” statement…

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      billyjo January 27, 2019 at 7:17 am

      One big reason that enforcement isn’t done as much is that people get angry when they get tickets. Angry people blame the politicians and vote them out of office. I’d bet that all of those people who got tickets believe it was unfair to them.

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        Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 8:57 am

        Do you have any data to support that? I’ve never ever blamed a politician for any moving violations I have gotten over the years.

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          Dan A January 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

          Is that a common occurrence? The only ticket I’ve received was for a U-turn, and it was for more than my monthly rent. I learned quickly that there’s no reason for an illegal U-turn that’s worth losing my rent money over.

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    Jim Chasse January 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Keep in mind that the intersection of 134th Place has a marked and signed crossing that includes a median island. Imagine how many people they would have caught if this was held at a completely unmarked crosswalk.

    I happened to have the chance to witness a few minutes of the enforcement operation. Note that the marked crosswalk is not signalized and there is no pedestrian lighting at this location, nor are there any plans to upgrade the crosswalk. I stayed for about 10 minutes, but couldn’t stomach watching someone cross again, and again, even with law enforcement officers present. It will remain a dangerous crossing until more upgrades are done.
    IMO some traffic enforcement need to be done at night in the dark. When drivers give the excuse that “I didn’t see them”, after a fatal incident, this crossing is a perfect example of why that would be a good excuse.
    I also noted that the center median sign had been previously damaged by an impact and the plastic wands with reflective tape had been struck and were in poor condition.
    It seems to me that saving lives at crosswalks is as important as issuing citations. If PBOT is going to build safe crossings, this is a great example of what not to build.

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      9watts January 25, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      ” Imagine how many people they would have caught if this was held at a completely unmarked crosswalk.”

      Imagine how many they would have caught without the advanced publicity barrage. I got at least two emails from PBOT pre-announcing this.

      I don’t recall ever getting an email about the stings in Ladd’s.

      I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer from the cheeses about why these are treated so differently.

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        Jim Chasse January 26, 2019 at 6:53 am

        Glisan St. is listed as a “High Crash Corridor”. A 5 lane arterial with a speed limit above 20 mph. Don’t recall the last fatality in Ladd’s Addition.

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        David Burns January 26, 2019 at 11:15 pm

        The publicity barrage is part of the enforcement. It allows the message of “stop for pedestrians in crosswalks” to reach a much wider audience than the 34 who were stopped.

        Do some math — if PPB stops 34 motorists every day (instead of once per month), and the fines are sufficient that none of them EVER break a law again… how long does it take to get 2 million Metro area drivers to change their ways?

        If instead, PPB does enforcement only once a month and each month one the Portland TV stations interview a tear-stained driver who just got a ticket — how long does that take before it changes how the general community behaves at crosswalks?

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          John Lascurettes January 27, 2019 at 1:06 am

          Based on observed history: never.

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          billyjo January 27, 2019 at 7:20 am

          But yet they caught people driving without a license, driving without insurance and people on their phones……

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          9watts January 27, 2019 at 7:56 am

          Sure, but the exact same logic surely could be applied to Ladd’s.

          And besides if memory serves me, the folks in these ‘Crosswalk Enforcements’ get warnings, whereas the folks at Ladd’s Corcle got real tickets, the $265 kind.

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            John Lascurettes January 28, 2019 at 9:15 am

            Did you miss this part?

            Failure to Stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian: 12 citations and 5 warnings

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              9watts January 28, 2019 at 9:30 am

              I was referring to these crosswalk things more generally. I could be wrong, but thought we had learned over the years that the ratio of warnings to citations at Ladd’s was lower. I’m sure someone here knows.

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    Jon January 25, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Based on the word “citation” I’m guess it was all catch and release. It sure seems like anyone driving with a suspended licence should have been arrested and put in jail. 5 out of 34 stops were people driving with a suspended licence! Clearly it is far too easy to get and keep a car.

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      Bjorn January 25, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      At a minimum someone who is legal to drive should have to come get the car from an impound lot. You wouldn’t cite a drunk driver and allow them to leave the scene behind the wheel, why do so for someone with a suspended license/no insurance?

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        Q January 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm

        Because cars, obviously

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        Dan A January 25, 2019 at 9:28 pm

        Well, it’s not like we can expect people to just walk around. Not with crosswalks being so dangerous.

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      Edward January 25, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      Sorry Jon, but not every driving while suspended is a crime. A lot of people don’t even know they’re suspended.

      There’s all sorts of different ways to get your license suspended. It’s only a CRIME to drive while suspended if the reason for the suspension was itself a crime. (Like you got suspended for DUII, Reckless Driving, etc.) If that’s the reason, you were in court and a judge announced the suspension and handed you a form and told you it’s a crime to drive now, don’t do it. But there’s a lot of suspensions that have nothing to do with driving at all. A lot of people have no idea that they are suspended under our current system. They don’t bother to tell you, but you’re supposed to know.

      It’s also super expensive and it’s a way to trap poor people in a cycle of endless fees.

      Sorry if I’m a lot snarky here but I get tired of the “LOCK EM UP! LOCK EM UP!” tenor of a lot of the comments.

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        Jon January 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm

        I believe that studies have shown that drivers with suspended licenses are over-represented in crashes by a large margin. Getting these people off the road should be a priority. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001457596000565

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          Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 8:59 am

          I would imagine poor drivers in general are over-represented in crashes.

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        OGB January 26, 2019 at 4:08 pm

        “They don’t bother to tell you, but you’re supposed to know.”
        Has that ever actually happened? I can understand that sometimes people would accidentally throw away the mailed notice, or it was sent to a previous address, but is there a department anywhere that is suspending licenses without sending any notice at all?

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        Dan A January 27, 2019 at 8:55 am

        “It’s only a CRIME to drive while suspended if the reason for the suspension was itself a crime.”

        Source? I was under the impression that ‘suspended’ means ‘ suspended’, and there is no difference.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 25, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      Jailing people for minor offences is currently somewhat discredited.

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      9watts January 25, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      “5 out of 34 stops ”

      That math is not correct. They didn’t make 34 stops. They made far fewer, and then discovered a bunch of those infractions which were on top of the ‘failure to stop’ for which they initially were pulled over.

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      Doug Hecker January 25, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      You could literally break and enter, rob someone, and steal a car and still be book and released. This is nothing new in Portland Jon.

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      9watts January 27, 2019 at 8:02 am

      “5 out of 34 stops ”

      The police stopped between 17 and 22 people/drivers in this operation. Quite a few received multiple citations, as most of the enumerated infractions are not evident until they were stopped and asked for their papers.

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    Doug Hecker January 25, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    It’s what happens when we continually vote for city council members who could give 2 cents about policing. This shouldn’t be a surprise. I know, we’d all like to believe the pipe dream of infrastructure but what does it mean if no one is rarely held accountable? The city has one team of traffic enforcement cops and you essentially have to beg for them to show up, which comes in the form of a sting, much like this.

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      bikeninja January 25, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      I have a hunch that there is a secret reason for the lack of traffic law enforcement. My guess is that a few years ago the city’s business and government leaders got together in a kind of “Star Chamber” and were presented with the evidence ( as seen in this enforcement action) that the driving public had become so degraded that if serious traffic law enforcement was done there would’t be enough mobile employees left to keep business and government running, so a Faustian bargain was made to keep the wheels of commerce running at the price of mayhem on the streets.

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        Doug Hecker January 25, 2019 at 7:40 pm

        Does your hunch also chase ufo’s and bigfoot too? Sadly, we vote for people who would rather have a society that is lawless then one that values people doing the right thing. This sad story only continues what we already know. People without any accountability will do whatever they deem is easy or acceptable. None of this is by chance or luck, sadly Hardesty will only continue this sad and predictable trend.

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        pengo January 25, 2019 at 8:25 pm

        This seems…far fetched. My guess is that actual government looks more like an Armando Iannucci production than any kind of secret cabal fever dream

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        Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 9:01 am

        You should make a movie out of that theory.

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    q January 25, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    I’d love to see more of these done at unmarked crossings.

    I’d also love to see a list created of crossings that are considered legal but that are so sketchy that police would not be willing to do a sting, because drivers could come up with reasonable excuses (the 6′ tall bush blocked my view of the pedestrian, the crossing wasn’t marked and wasn’t at a corner, etc.).

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    Bjorn January 25, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    The high number of bad drivers who also have no license or insurance combined with Oregon’s rampant hit and run problem convinced me to increase the insurance that I carry. I increased my motor vehicle insurance limits to 500000 dollars per “accident” and then obtained a 1 million dollar umbrella policy on top of that. It was not as expensive as I expected it to be and as much as it makes me very angry to have to pay for this largely because others refuse to follow the law I think it is worth doing for the piece of mind. Really the minimum insurance levels in oregon have not even come close to keeping up with inflation and should be raised significantly IMHO.

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      B. Carfree January 26, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Since you drive a car and thus carry insurance, you’re covered for those uninsured scofflaws when they harm you while you’re on a bike through your uninsured motorist portion. Those of us who live car-free have no such affordable option. This is a big impediment to many people considering dumping the car.

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        Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 9:02 am

        I’m curious as to the rates of uninsured/suspended drivers in liberal versus conservative states. Maybe there is no difference, but I’d love to know if the political ideology impacts enforcement.

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    soren January 25, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Keep in mind that the intersection of 134th Place has a marked and signed crossing that includes a median island. Imagine how many people they would have caught if this was held at a completely unmarked crosswalk.

    Also keep in mind that motorists are warned about these actions with signs installed by PBOT well in advance of the crosswalk.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 25, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Given where this operation took place, if those cited were below-median income, would you consider this action classist?

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        Toby Keith January 25, 2019 at 6:23 pm

        And *that* is the great BikePortland conundrum.

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          soren January 25, 2019 at 9:04 pm

          Progressive citations. IMO, the fact that someone earning $100,000 would have to pay the same citation as someone earning $24,000 is immoral and disgusting.

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            Toby Keith January 25, 2019 at 10:54 pm

            They both can kill and maim with their carelessness. No special treatment for the poor. Let’s stop putting them on pedestals.

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              Grover January 26, 2019 at 12:49 am

              Would you prefer a citation that has no more impact than a library fine, or one that takes food off someone’s table?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 26, 2019 at 10:15 am

                I would prefer a fine that deterred bad behavior.

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                B. Carfree January 26, 2019 at 8:04 pm

                The only known way to get enforcement to deter bad (deadly) behavior is to make the probability of being cited for unlawful driving very certain, which means ramped-up enforcement. The size of the fine is apparently not nearly as effective as the certainty of being caught. However, there is almost no constituency for such enforcement levels, even automated, that I can see in our current motorhead culture.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 11:27 am

                I would support more enforcement, and issuing more smaller fines to the extent that proved effective. My ideal system would be less punitive and more corrective.

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              soren January 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

              IMO, an utterly trivial $180 fine for a millionaire is the epitome of special treatment.
              I want traffic violations to have some bite for wealthier folk as well as people who are less well off.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 11:24 am

                It’s not special treatment at all, let alone the epitome of it.

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                Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 9:06 am

                It’s completely equal treatment and an impartial application of the law.

                The problem with “justice” is that it is disproportionate and there is no objective way to apply it.

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                Dan A January 29, 2019 at 10:21 am

                Is this ‘equal treatment’ mindset the basis for the belief that bicycles and garbage trucks are pretty much the same thing?

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            hotrodder January 27, 2019 at 11:39 am

            Let’s take that one step further; people earning more should have to pay more for registration and tires and gasoline, and while we’re at it groceries and clothes and housing! And WIFI and beer and concerts and airline tickets. Soon, we’d be living in a utopian paradise! /S

            (And, no, I’m not a high earner by any stretch of the imagination, except, maybe on a global level, but that’s another discussion.)

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            Middle of The Road Guy January 29, 2019 at 9:03 am

            How about we just treat people equally?

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              Dan A January 29, 2019 at 9:04 am

              I take it you have no experience in personnel management.

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        Doug Hecker January 25, 2019 at 7:42 pm

        I’m surprised Soren has admitted this. Thanks for asking him. He clearly knows who lives in the numbers. More than likely those who were displaced by those who currently call north portland home.

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    Matt Meskill January 25, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Talk about “dangerous by design!” That stretch of road looks like a drag strip. Time for some serious redesign on so many of these east Portland roads and others I’m sure.

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      el timito January 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      “In order to address the parts of Glisan with the highest need, PBOT is proposing a 3-lane cross section between 105th-119th, 125th-145th, and 150th-160th. PBOT is not proposing to change the existing number of lanes within 3 blocks of the 102nd and 122nd intersection. Thus, there would continue to be a left turn lane and two through lanes on the intersection approaches. Finally, facilities for residents bicycling would be provided between 102nd and 162nd.”

      from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/index.cfm?&c=75685

      Also, about East Portland: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/74199
      PBOT’s working on it, albeit slowly.

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    Doug Klotz January 25, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Jonathan: Thanks for reporting on this. Glad to see that some violators were cited.
    For a previous enforcement action, I asked the Pedestrian Coordinator for a similar breakdown of the results. The response I got was that I’d have to file a public records request to get that information. Did you have to do that?
    (Also, did you learn what time of day this one took place?)

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    CaptainKarma January 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Things are looking up. Not a single DUII.

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      Dan A January 27, 2019 at 8:58 am

      What time of day?

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    Mark smith January 26, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    It’s really quite simple. If you don’t have proper insurance, or your license isn’t in order, the car is towed. The police will pay for a taxi up to 20 miles.

    People will get their act together quick enough, or they won’t. And…then it’s fewer cars on the street that should not be.

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    Johnny Bye Carter January 27, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Driving With a Suspended License : 5 citations
    Driving uninsured: 2 citations
    Switched plates: 1 citation
    Failure to Register Vehicle: 1 citation

    By my math the people that got these 9 out of the 34 (citations and warning) shouldn’t have been driving. That’s 26% of the people they caught breaking the law.

    I know these numbers are nothing new but it seems as if they’re staying steady instead of declining.

    Keeping people from driving is something that technology should be taking care of very soon.

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      Orig_JF January 28, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      This caught my eye too!
      More people should not even be on the road than were driving while on a cell phone!
      In 90-minutes!

      Follow up question. Were these people originally pulled over for failing to yield to a pedestrian? So the fail to yield is what caught the people who should not even be on the road? If so, seems like this should be more regular!

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      Matt S. January 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      Good luck with that Big Brother. There’s a reason why the battleship, Battlestar Galactica, was off the grid…

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    OldRider January 28, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Matt Meskill
    Talk about “dangerous by design!” That stretch of road looks like a drag strip. Time for some serious redesign on so many of these east Portland roads and others I’m sure.Recommended 3

    >>Talk about “dangerous by design!”

    I USED to ride Glisan from 122 to 139. Then they put in the dumb “bioswales”. They force a bike out into traffic and too close to fast cars.

    no more, it’s back to Burnside for me.

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      Austin January 28, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Bioswales aren’t dumb, but maybe the location of these particular ones are!

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    JeffP January 28, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Tim
    You don’t get to drive it away. Either someone comes and picks it up or they tow it. Pretty similar to a DUII.Recommended 5

    This approach may have changed but it was not a few years ago a family member was rear-ended by a non-insured/expired license driver – against the insistence of the offending driver the authorities were called. The driver left the scene, in his car, as the driver. The sheriff deputy said he had no grounds to keep that from happening and the guy said he needed to get to his job. YMMV. I believe in Oregon, a high priority to a persons employment in given when penalties and/or enforcement is handed out.
    [Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy; Raleigh Hills; Washington County SO.

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    Matt S. January 28, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Police call East Portland, the wild wild east. These stops are a reason why. People don’t play by the rules.

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    JamesonP January 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

    This section of Glisan IS slated for upgrades – much needed and long overdue. But pushback from motorists and people who do not live directly off of Glisan is endangering parts of this project. This was largely due to negative press in the Mid-County Memo, which is now defunct. Please contact Timur Ender at PBOT to let him know you support the E Glisan safety improvements. Lives depend on it!
    Timur.Ender@portlandoregon.gov

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