Sunday night around 8:00 pm someone who was walking in the Cully neighborhood near the intersection of Northeast 45th and Lombard died in a collision with someone driving a car. This is the third fatality in the Columbia/Lombard corridor in 2019 and it comes as the Portland Bureau of Transportation is working on a plan to improve conditions in the area.
According to our Fatality Tracker this is the 39th fatality on Portland roads this year. Of the 39 deaths, 22 have been vulnerable road users (people walking, bicycling or using a moped/motorcycle). Since 2011, four people have died in the direct vicinity of last night’s collision.
This section of Portland Boulevard (a.k.a. Lombard and US Highway 30 Bypass) is a very high-speed arterial, owned and maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and listed on PBOT’s high crash network for it’s above-average crash rate. On KOIN-TV last night a man told news crews that, “You can go fast, you can go slow, you can do whatever you really want because there’s not really any police out here…” That comment comes just days after PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly told the Willamette Week, “People are dying, and drivers are seeing people breaking the law, so why shouldn’t they? There’s no consequences.”
According to PBOT’s just-released Columbia Lombard Mobility Plan existing conditions report, 10 people died using this corridor between 2012 and 2016. Among the known issues outlined in the report are, “A lack of separation between modes, outdated roadway designs, and sub-standard infrastructure; the pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks have major gaps and deficiencies; widely spaced and difficult connections across the corridor; and the street lacks adequate pedestrian facilities, crossings, and connections.”
Verde, a Cully-based nonprofit group that builds community through environmental initiatives, issued a statement about the crash:
We are saddened to learn about another pedestrian death in the Cully neighborhood last night, along NE Portland Hwy and 45th. We know Cully lacks safe pedestrian infrastructure: sidewalks, street lights, reduced speeds on high traffic corridors, etc. We will continue coming together as a community to advocate for transportation infrastructure that improves the safety of those who walk, bike and roll in our neighborhood.
We’ll update this post when we hear more from the PPB. If you have any information please call the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.
UPDATE, 1:45 pm: The PPB have updated their initial statement…
The Major Crash Team (MCT) has determined that the driver of the suspect vehicle left the scene of the crash, failing to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run). Police are still looking for the suspect and suspect vehicle.
Investigators are following up on leads and no description of the suspect vehicle is being released at this time. However, investigators are hoping to hear from anyone who has information about this crash and has not yet been contacted by police. Please contact the lead investigator Officer David Enz at 503-823-2208 or David.Enz@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 19-319949.
UPDATE, 9/18 at 7:30 am:
The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Cristian Drae Lennon of Portland.
Officers are looking for a 1996-1998 red or maroon Chevy Blazer. This suspect vehicle should have front end damage.
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