With video of lawbreakers, PPB will increase focus on infamous Ladd Circle stop sign

Stop sign entering Ladd Circle.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE, 1/31: Please read this update where I give Traffic Division Sgt. Ty Engstrom the opportunity to clarify and expand on his concerns about this issue.

Here we go again.

The Portland Police Bureau just released a statement saying they’ll step up education and enforcement efforts around Ladd Circle because road users are not coming to a stop and watching for others before rolling through.

Here’s the statement:

After receiving multiple community complaints about motorists and cyclists failing to heed stop signs and endangering pedestrians in the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division responded to assess the situation. Sergeant Ty Engstrom of the Traffic Division observed the area and also the practice of most motorists and cyclists failing to come to a complete stop as required by law at the intersections.

The Ladd’s Addition intersections are roundabouts with one-way traffic and many of the motorists and cyclists, in addition to failing to stop, are also not looking to their right to check for pedestrians who have the right of way. This puts vulnerable pedestrians at risk. This residential neighborhood has a high amount of pedestrian traffic as adults, children, and pets travel on foot.

Sergeant Ty Engstrom determined this was an opportunity to educate the public about the dangers of this behavior. The Traffic Division plans to follow the public education with enforcement missions to highlight the dangers of failing to heed the rules of the road.

In 2018, there were 34 fatalities on Portland roadways and of those 18 were pedestrians. So far in 2019, there have been 3 fatalities and 2 have been pedestrians. The Portland Police Bureau asks for the community’s help in reducing traffic fatalities by following the rules of the road and being aware of pedestrians.


The City of Portland has adopted a program called Vision Zero with the goal of reducing the number of serious-injury and fatal crashes to zero by 2025. Sergeant Engstrom reminds us, “Not all fatal and serious-injury crashes are at high speeds. In fact, some are at very low speeds. Please slow down and obey the law, no matter what mode of transportation you use.” The Portland Police Bureau will be following up to educate, then enforce traffic codes in the Ladd’s Addition area in the coming weeks.

The PPB also released this short video which clearly shows several bicycle riders failing to comply with the stop sign.

It’s unfortunate that people aren’t being more considerate and careful when entering the circle. It’s equally unfortunate that after well over a decade we seem to have made no progress on this issue.

Yes it was in 2007 that we first covered enforcement of the Ladd Circle stop signs. Back then it was the exact same issue: Residents complained about it and police responded. And then advocates became outraged that, given all the much more serious traffic safety concerns plaguing our city, our precious police resources where being wasted on such a relatively safe intersection.

Also in 2007 we shared a statement from the Portland Bureau of Transportation saying that the solution to this issue is a redesign of the circle so we can remove the stops signs altogether.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone who enters Ladd Circle to be respectful, slow down and look for oncoming traffic and people on the sidewalk before rolling through.

Here is additional coverage of this issue from our archives:
Police report on Ladds Circle enforcement (4/12/07)
Police target Ladds for educational mission (7/22/08)
Ladds stop sign ‘trip-wire’ incident garners headlines (7/22/10)
Ladd Circle stop sign issue heating up again (6/27/11)
Video shows extremely low compliance at Ladd Circle stop signs (6/28/11)
Solution for Ladd Circle stop sign issue? Cookies (7/1/11)
Neighbors distribute survey to help fix Ladd Circle traffic problems (10/18/11)
Police enforcement at Ladd Circle, N Flint ruffles feathers once again (8/30/12)
Stop! Police will target Ladd Circle stop sign violators today (9/18/13)
Southeast Portland elementary warns parents about unsafe cycling near school (3/1/16)

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

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